Julius Malema at the Troyeville Hotel book club

While Julius Malema was not celebrating a victory after the contentious hate speech ruling delivered yesterday we were at the Troyeville Hotel dinner and book club listening to Fiona Forde, the author of his biography, in conversation with City Press Editor Ferial Haffajee.
The event was apparently sold out in just over an hour. The room was wall to wall with journalists in whose professional lives Julius Malema occupies a special place. The man is news. He strides across the public stage as if he owns it, and has a way of making even reasonable statements sound outrageous, flanked as they usually are by the spectacle of a tenderpreneur calling for the nationalization of everyone else’s wealth.

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Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe stars in The Wizard of Oz

#40. Wonder about the future of South Africa’s neighbour, Zimbabwe. Yesterday a historic power-sharing agreement was signed in Harare between Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and of Zimbabwe (only if one takes votes into account, which Bob clearly does not).  Not to be stopped by the “details” of an election, Robert Mugabe said some very strange things including  –  in reference to SA President Thabo Mbeki’s mediator role – “I wish I was young again and proposing to girls. I would say give me some tips”.

Robert Mugabe speaks at the signing of the historic power sharing agreement in Harare, Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

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Writers in trouble, or just living in troubled times

#14: Attend the Sunday Times Literary Awards dinner. The Sunday Times book awards were held at Summer Place on Saturday night. I used to be an organiser and now have joined the ranks of the guests — which I have to say  is infinitely more pleasant as I didn’t have to sweat any of the detail. The theme of the night was “Writers in Troubled Times” and it left me wondering why South Africa’s writers seem so dislocated from the place, mostly unable or unwilling to engage with this country or to attempt to define some part of it. Continue reading