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Bessie Head: Thunder Behind Her Ears

  It took me about three weeks of careful reading to finish Gillian Stead Eilersen’s Thunder Behind Her Ears – a Bessie Head biography first published in 1995. It’s seldom that one discovers an African writer independently. A teacher, for example, had to tell me about Tsitsi Dangarembga, and about Wole Soyinka, then about Njabulo […]

The Last Ones Are Woke

South African writer Thando Mgqolozana delivered the keynote address of the 19th Time of the Writer Festival at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on January 14 . The Con publishes the address in full. You will be aware that this festival has had many wonderful keynote speakers and unluckily for you, tonight you are […]

CONstellations: Identity and Justice

  Retribution – Mark Charan Newton (Drakenfeld 2) (Pan)     After the audacious weirdness of the Legends of the Red Sun quartet, Mark Charan Newton chose more straightforward tropes for his second series: detective stories, more alternative-historical than magical, following the career of Lucan Drakenfeld. He’s an investigator for the supranational Sun Chamber, which investigates (and interferes) […]

Selling Apartheid

  In the aftermath of Adolf Hitler and his toxic national socialism, selling apartheid to the rest of the world was a difficult proposition. Apartheid, a version of National Socialism, an ideology that had forced Europe to re-examine its bruised heart, was adopted on the southern tip of the “dark continent” when, in 1948,  the […]