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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Adam Cruise Reports on Increased Poaching of Elephants in the Kruger National Park

Louis Botha's WarAdam Cruise, author of Louis Botha’s War, recently wrote an article for National Geographic about an ugly spate of elephant poaching in the Kruger National Park.

In the article Cruise writes that until now South African elephants have been safe from the ivory poaching that plagues other regions in Africa. But as elephants are becoming more and more scarce in areas such as Tanzania, Mozambique and central Africa, and “the poaching scourge has nowhere to go but south”.

Elephant poaching is very bad news for the Kruger National Park, which is already reeling as a result of the rhino crisis.

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After years of being regarded as an unassailable haven for wildlife, South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park has been hit by elephant poaching. In May 2014, the first killing of an elephant for its tusks in ten years was reported in the park. By mid-October 2015, 19 Kruger elephants had been killed for ivory. Twelve of those were killed in September and October alone.

This prompted several prominent conservationists to warn that South Africa’s parks are at high risk of being targeted for ivory in the near future. “South Africa can expect elephant poaching to increase dramatically in the Kruger Park,” said wildlife filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dereck Joubert.

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Big-wave Surfer Chris Bertish Reveals His Most Terrifying Experience

Stoked!SAP HANA have shared a behind-the-scenes video from the 2015 Best Practices for Oil and Gas conference, in which champion surfer Chris Bertish discusses how he prepares, minimises risk, and proceeds with confidence, whether riding a 70-foot wave or managing a business.

Bertish says big waves reach about 50, 60, 70 feet – about the size of a six-storey building – “whatever mother ocean can throw at us”.

He says getting into big wave surfing is about pushing your boundaries, challenging your own beliefs, and shifting your comfort zone, adding “it’s amazing what you can achieve”.

Bertish’s autobiography Stoked! was released by Zebra Press in August.

Watch the video, in which he describes one of his most terrifying experiences: how he got caught in an underground cave.

“I was pretty young,” he says, “and I think I was unprepared for that kind of situation, because it happens to so few people on the planet, so your mind is trying to decipher what is happening to you. You have to calm your mind to make rational decisions.”

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Darrel Bristow-Bovey: The Heartbreaking Irony of the ANC’s Response and the Beautiful Unity of #FeesMustFall

One Midlife Crisis and a SpeedoDarrel Bristow-Bovey, author of One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo, recently wrote two columns about the #FeesMustFall protests in Cape Town.

In the first column, Bristow-Bovey comments on the “heartbreaking irony of watching the ANC forget the lessons that the National Party learnt from them about the radicalising effect of using violence against a peaceful, disciplined citizenry”.

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There has for such a long time been such a disjuncture between official government responses and the felt reality of the people they govern that Jacob Zuma’s ANC simply isn’t used to looking at the world and recognising what it sees. They’re too weighed down by arrogance, whiskey and red wine, so smothered by party lines, patronage and self-interest that they can no longer see or speak the truth, possibly not even to themselves. The result is the machinery of state turning into an irony machine.

The ironies flew around like water bottles. There were the visuals on eNCA of minister Nhlanhla Nene sedately telling his good story, allocating fresh millions to the nuclear deal and urging more direct foreign investment while simultaneously on the screen and outside the children of the people inside were singing the songs their parents wrote, being choked and manhandled for demanding equal access to the future.

In a follow-up article, Bristow-Bovey explains how unlikable and silly he ordinarily finds national anthems, and how surprisingly beautiful he found the student protesters’ rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika outside of parliament last month:

But then, last week, in the days following the march to parliament, I saw a clip that had been recorded on a cellphone. The gathered students start singing the national anthem. A little way into the first stanza the first stun grenades go off. There‘s some running and alarm and the camera swings round like it‘s Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project, but the kids keep singing. Then the first stanza ends and the next wave of grenades go off, but the kids keep going, they sing the next stanza, Die Stem, and I became quietly emotional.

This is an unfashionable thing to say in today‘s revolutionary moment when the word “white” can only be used as a pejorative adjective — “white supremacy”, “white capital”, “white privilege” — but I watched the crowd of black kids and white kids standing together, singing Nkosi Sikelel‘ iAfrika and Die Stem while stun grenades went off around them, and I know it was just an illusion but it was very beautiful.

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“There is No Such Thing as Failure, Only Failure to Try” – Chris Bertish (Video)

Stoked!Big wave champion Chris Bertish, whose autobiography Stoked! was published by Zebra Press earlier this year, has been travelling all over to promote his book and documentary film Ocean Driven.

During an interview with Bonang Matheba from the Afternoon Express, Bertish chatted about Stoked! and told the story of how his ocean adventures began, saying he was exposed to the open waters from the youngest possible age. Since then, “the ocean has become my church, my temple and my sanctuary,” he says.

The accomplished waterman says he never planned on writing a book, but found he had so much more to say after his documentary was cut that he simply had to put pen to paper.

Bertish is a world-champion big-wave surfer and winner of the 2010 Mavericks Big Wave Invitational. “There is no such thing as failure, only failure to try,” Bertish tells Matheba, sharing more about his latest endeavour, which will see him stand-up-paddling across the Atlantic ocean.

The inspirational interview starts at 12:18:

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Watch Part 1 of Evita’s Free Speech for Her Reflection on #FeesMustFall

“It’s Sunday and #FeesHaveFallen (and so did the Springboks!) But you know last week was not history repeating itself.”

Evita\'s Bossie SikelelaElections and ErectionsBetween the Devil and the DeepNever Too NakedEvita's BlackBessie

Evita Bezuidenhout, the most famous white woman in South Africa, was inspired by the students who participated in last week’s #FeesMustFall protest and decided to exercise her right to free speech. Every Sunday leading up to the 2016 South African Municipal Elections, she will give a recap of the week’s news in a series of videos entitled Evita’s Free Speech.

“I think the only free thing we really have is free speech and we saw a lot of that in the last few days,” Evita says.

“My three little grandchildren, my born frees (not black, not white, Barack Obama beige), they said to me stop complaining in the kitchen, stop moaning in your letters to the newspapers, nobody listens, nobody reads.” This is why Evita decided to “get onto the internet highway” and share her opinions with the world.

Evita believes that free educations starts at home, and says when her grandchildren protest again, “this time I will march with them”.

Watch part 1 of Evita’s Free Speech video series:

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Jonathan Kaplan Rates the Refereeing of the Rugby World Cup Quarter-finals

Call It Like It IsJonathan Kaplan, retired referee and author of Call It Like It Is: The Jonathan Kaplan story, has shared his comments on last weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final matches on his website Rate the Ref.

Kaplan calls the New Zealand’s demolition of the French team “the performance of the year”. He says the Irish “made a good fist of it, but ultimately ran out of juice” in their match against the triumphant Argentina.

The last game between Australia and Scotland was, Kaplan says, “clearly the most dramatic”. He comments on the close competition and the dubious decision by referee Craig Joubert to yellow card Scotland in the last few minutes of the game.

Read what he had to say about the South African versus Wales game:

The quarterfinals of the RWC were great spectacles for the rugby nuts around the world, for a variety of reasons.

The first, between SA and Wales was an incredibly tough test match. It won’t go down as a classic of the modern era, but it was tense, it was tactical, and the margin in the end was very small! Whoever lost this match, would have felt desolate, as both teams had clearly put a lot into it. It came down to one moment for the Boks. A simple blindside play, where man-on-man cover was exploited by Vermeulen to send Fourie du Preez over in the corner. Schalk Burger got the MoM award, but in truth it could have gone to Lydiate as well if the Welsh had prevailed.

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Get Jonathan Kaplan’s Rate the Ref App to Stay on Top of the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup Progress (Video)

Call It Like It IsJonathan Kaplan, celebrated former rugby referee and co-author of Call It Like It Is: The Jonathan Kaplan story, recently spoke to Ewan Strydom on Expresso about his new Rate the Ref app and the progress of the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup.

In the video, Kaplan speaks about his website, also called Rate the Ref, and why he thinks it is important for the public to have access to opinions and evaluations about refereeing. He says he aims “to try show the public the impact of good decisions and of poor decisions.” His purpose is not to criticise his colleagues, but he believes the public have the right to accurate information.

The app, Kaplan says, is a platform for fans’ banter and opinion, both in response to the game and in response to Kaplan’s opinion of the refereeing.

After speaking about the Rate the Ref, Strydom takes the opportunity to pick Kaplan’s brain about the Springboks’ current standing at the World Cup.

Watch the video:

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Myth Versus Fact: Chris Schoeman Tells Darryl Accone About the Process of Finding The Unknown Van Gogh

The Unknown Van GoghDie onbekende Van GoghChris Schoeman recently spoke to Mail & Guardian books editor Darryl Accone about his biography of Cornelis van Gogh, The Unknown Van Gogh.

“A very rewarding part of this exercise was walking in the footsteps of this family in the lovely province of Brabant and reading their letters,” Schoeman says about the research he did to construct an accurate account of Cor van Gogh’s life.

Schoeman talks about the process of writing this book, the origin of the idea to find The Unknown Van Gogh, writers he admires (John Kannemeyer for one) and the purpose of non-fiction.

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What was the originating idea for the book?

Five years ago, when working on Brothers in Arms, a book on the Hollander volunteers in the Anglo-Boer War, I came across the name of Cornelis van Gogh, who had sided with the Boers. I was inspired by the fact that little was known about him and that no biography of him has ever been written. The fact that he spent the last 10 years of his life in the Transvaal was, of course, significant from a South African perspective.

Were the years you spent in journalism significant?

In the sense that it gives an edge to look into preconceived perceptions regarding Cor van Gogh and then through one’s own research to discover what was myth and what was fact.

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Coroner’s Inquest Into Anni Dewani’s Death Will Resume – Family Continues Their Search for Answers

Anni Dewani: A Father's StorySenior coroner Andrew Walker ruled last week that without new evidence the inquest into the death of Anni Dewani will not be continued.

The Guardian reported Walker as saying: “I don’t have sufficient cause to resume an inquest. In these proceedings, the matter will now rest.”

Last month, the Dewani family asked for an inquest to be conducted, seeing as Shrien Dewani had never testified in public about Anni’s murder. The family hoped that the inquest would force him to be called as a witness in the case.

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Anni’s family argued that there were still many unanswered questions about how she was killed and asked for a full inquest to resume. But at North London coroner’s court on Friday, senior coroner Andrew Walker said: “I don’t have sufficient cause to resume an inquest. In these proceedings, the matter will now rest.”

Walker said: “The fact that there are differing accounts of how Mrs Dewani came by her death does not, in my view, mean that the matters have not already been sufficiently established in public proceedings.”

Eyewitness News reported that following the coroner’s ruling on Friday, the Dewani family announced that they will be looking for alternative legal options to find the truth about what happened the night Anni died.

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Coroner Andrew Walker told Anni’s family he couldn’t imagine what they’d gone through since her murder in Cape Town five years ago but said holding an inquest would serve no purpose.

This setback and the collapse of the trial against Dewani appears only to have further resolved her family to find answers.

Although they’ve ruled out a private prosecution in the past they say they’re taking legal advice on how to pursue their search for the truth further.

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Win a Rugby World Cup Book Hamper!

Zebra Press is giving away a hamper of ten books to celebrate the Rugby World Cup. The books are everything a Springbok fan could want to read as the tournament unfolds.

The hamper includes South Africa’s Rugby Legends: The Amateur Years by Chris Schoeman, Call It Like It Is: The Jonathan Kaplan story by Jonathan Kaplan and Mike Behr and the forthcoming Springbok Rugby Quiz:

South Africa's Rugby LegendsThe Greatest Springbok TeamsWynie - My bloed is blouCall It Like It IsMitch: The Real Story
The Poisoned ChaliceWhen the Lions Came to Town100 Memorable Sporting Moments100 South African Sporting Legends

To stand a chance of winning, enter the competition on the Random House Struik Website before 31 October. Terms and conditions apply.


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