Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Van Gogh’s Brother Worked Near Germiston – Excerpt from The Unknown Van Gogh by Chris Schoeman

The Unknown Van GoghDie onbekende Van GoghThe Unknown Van Gogh by Chris Schoeman tells the personal story of Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Cornelis aka Cor, the young uitlander who found a home in South Africa.

Aerodrome has shared an excerpt from The Unknown Van Gogh, which is also available in Afrikaans as Die onbekende Van Gogh.

In the extract, Cor arrives in Johannesburg and starts working at the Cornucopia Gold Mining Company south of Elandsfontein (today known as Germiston). The labour was tough and noisy, and he found it difficult to keep up correspondence with his family.

Read the excerpt:

The work was hard and strenuous, and Cor was on standby day and night in case repairs needed to be done to any of the crushers, pumps or other machinery. He experienced constant interruptions to his leisure time, even on Sundays – conditions that were far from conducive to corresponding with his family, causing him to take as long as three days to complete one letter. The work was also extremely noisy, with the constant rinsing and crushing of the quartz. A visitor to City & Suburban Mine complained about the ‘deafening’ noise in the crushing battery during the extraction process.

Book details

» read article

Deel van transformasie is om die volle geskiedenis van Afrikaans te openbaar – Dennis Cruywagen (Video)

Brothers in War and PeaceKabous Meiring het onlangs vir Dennis Cruywagen genooi om op Prontuit te gesels oor sy rubriek vir Netwerk24 oor die huidige taaldebat aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch.

In die artikel skryf die Brothers in War and Peace-outeur dat dit tyd is dat “bruin mense hul stem dik maak vir Afrikaans op Stellenbosch”.

Cruywagen vertel meer die geskiedenis van Afrikaans en die “geskiedkundige deurbrake” wat gemaak is in Genadendal, en verduidelik waarom Afrikaans nie uitsluitlik aan die onderdrukker behoort nie.

Lees die artikel:

’n Begrip van die geskiedenis van Afrikaans gee ook ’n begrip vir die bydrae van die eerste nasies. Hul nasate het rede om te vrees vir die toekoms van tersiêre opvoeding vir hul kinders. Weens die vrees vir viktimisasie en dat hulle as rassiste uitgekryt sal word, is min van hulle bereid om uit te praat oor hul reg tot onderrig in hul moedertaal.

Maar dit is nie nou die tyd om stil te bly nie, dis ’n tyd om die stem dik te maak. Luister het klippe in die bos gegooi, maar dit wys net ’n deel van die groter prentjie.

Dit sê niks oor die regering se segregasie van die swart gemeenskap in Afrikane en nie-Afrikane nie. Dit sê niks oor die toekoms van bruin mense wat hul onderrig wil voortsit in Afrikaans nie.

Hoeveel langer gaan hierdie onteiening voortduur?

In die video-onderhoud, wat uit twee dele bestaan, gesels Cruywagen oor sy kinderdae tydens apartheid en die dag toe sy gesin die Distrik Ses-uitsettingsbrief ontvang het (wat terloops ook dieselfde dag was toe hy besef het sy pa is ongeletterd).

Cruywagen vertel hoe die trek na Heideveld sy familie se lewe onherroeplik verander het en besin oor Meiring se vraag of hy kwaad is oor hierdie tydstip in sy lewe.

Kyk na die eerste deel van die onderhoud:

YouTube Preview Image

In die tweede insetsel verduidelik Cruywagen waarom Afrikaans nie die taal van die onderdrukker is nie.

“Ek dink dis ‘n goeie ervaring vir enigeen om Stellenbosch toe te gaan,” sê hy. “Transformasie beteken nie jy dwing jou wil op ander mense af nie. Transformasie beteken ook jy bring jou deel in, en so verander die plek.”

Cruywagen vertel dat die eerste Afrikaanse koerant, Die Bode, in 1859 in Genadendal, sy ma se tuisdorp, uitgekom het. “As jy nie intiem vertroud is met die geskiedenis van daardie lieflike plek nie, dan weet jy dit nie.”

“Deel van transformasie is ook om die volle geskiedenis van Afrikaans te openbaar en te sê weet jy wat, die eerste vryheidsvegters in hierdie land het Afrikaans gepraat,” sê hy. “Transformasie beteken noodwendig in my boek dat die ouens wat sê Afrikaans is die taal van die onderdrukker, moet die geskiedenis van Afrikaans gaan leer.”

Kyk na die tweede deel van die onderhoud:

YouTube Preview Image


» read article

Eddie Jones Led Japan to Victory and will Soon Coach the Stormers, but What Does that Mean? – Gavin Rich

Gavin Rich has written an article for SuperSport in which he reflects on the impact that Eddie Jones – the coach responsible for South Africa’s recent defeat by Japan in the 2015 Rugby World Cup – will have when he becomes the new Stormers coach.

Politically IncorrectMitch: The Real StoryThe Poisoned Chalice


The author of The Poisoned Chalice and co-author of the autobiographies of John Mitchell (Mitch: The Real Story) and Peter de Villiers (Politically Incorrect: The Autobiography) writes: “Rugby players play a rough game but yet they are a sensitive bunch away from the field.”

Rich wonders how Jones will approach the Stormers and whether or not he will be able to make “hard unemotional decisions”.

Read the article:

Seeing all the interviews with Jones that followed the Brighton game got me thinking. How is he going to treat Stormers veterans such as Jean de Villiers, should he decide to play on, when he takes over the reins in the Cape? Is Jones going to be sensitive and pay deference to De Villiers on the basis that he has been a Stormer for so long, or is he going to make the hard unemotional decision that South Africa coaches are perhaps incapable of?

The Japanese targeted De Villiers in Brighton, and the Bok captain made it worse by exhorting his fellow players to follow a game plan that was completely contrary to what the coach had asked for. You just have to read what Heyneke Meyer said during the build-up week, and how much it differed from what was carried out on the field in Brighton, to realise that the coach was ignored.

Last month, Rich wrote an article about the contradictions in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s speeches and said that the World Cup pressure is enough to make any coach “batty”. He analysed Meyer’s decisions and said that “the transformation drive is falling short”.

Read the article:

If you listen to him closely there are enough contradictions in what Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says in press conferences to suggest an element of panic in some of his thinking.

Indeed, I do sometimes wonder if the past few weeks have seen the manifestation in Meyer of “Mad Coaches Disease”, the strange affliction that causes Bok coaches to become different people to who they were when they started off in the job and to forget some of the core imperatives of their coaching philosophy.

While it might be considered strange, we should stop short of calling it unexplained. The pressure of being Bok coach, and the contradicting demands of different lobby groups, make it a job that could drive anyone batty.

Also read:


Book details

» read article

Watch the Trailer for Ocean Driven, the Story of Chris Bertish Winning the Mavericks Invitational

Stoked!At the Mavericks Invitational in 2010, Chris Bertish was a little fish in a very, very big pond.

After nearly drowning in some of the biggest waves the big-wave surfing competition has ever seen, Bertish walked away a champion. Five years later, he is well established as a motivational speaker and sportsman, and has just had his book Stoked! published.

Ocean Driven is a documentary about the coming of age that taking part in Mavericks 2010 represented for Bertish.

Watch the documentary trailer:


Related Links:

Book details

» read article

What Went Wrong when the Springboks Lost to Japan? Peter de Villiers Explains (Video)

Politically IncorrectFormer Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has told eNCA in no uncertain terms what he thinks went wrong on Saturday when South Africa lost their first match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Japan.

The Japanese team showed great flair and discipline as they beat the Boks 34-32. “We never thought the loss against Argentina would become a highlight,” De Villiers says, “can we sink any lower than this?”

De Villiers says he’s been critical of Heyneke Meyer’s agenda and dishonesty. “I don’t understand why nobody can see that this man can’t take our rugby to where it should be – no one respects us anymore. What are we respected for now?”

De Villiers says during the match he could see that things were going very wrong. “We can’t defend properly, and when we have the ball we don’t understand taking the space, we don’t understand taking the ball.”

De Villiers says he was very impressed with the way in which Japan created space for themselves and put the Boks in “no man’s land with defense”: “We never earned the right to run the ball once.”

Watch the video:


In another video, shared by Estelle Bronkhorst on YouTube, De Villiers gives advice to the Springboks: “We must very quickly become a team over there – get structures that everybody believes in.”

Watch the video:


Book details

» read article

“I’m More Afraid of Living Badly than Dying Badly” – Darrel Bristow-Bovey

One Midlife Crisis and a SpeedoIn a recent column for Rand Daily Mail, Darrel Bristow-Bovey reflects on the life led by the world’s greatest free-diver Natalia Molchanova, who went missing in August this year.

The author of One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo writes: “The first thing people say when someone dies doing something out of the ordinary is ‘at least she died doing something she loves’, but I’ve never liked that line of thinking.”

Bristow-Bovey argues that it’s the quality of life leading up to death that is most important, not the way in which one dies. “I’m more afraid of living badly than dying badly,” he writes.

Read the article:

On the day she turned 50, Natalia set a world record by swimming without fins to a depth of 70m. She’s one of those splendid, unstoppable women — like PD James, who wrote her very first novel aged 42, or Diana Nyad who started long-distance swimming aged 61 and at 64 became the first human being to swim alone and non-stop from Cuba to the US — who only get started when the rest of us are giving up and who help me think differently about the second half of my life.

I hope Natalia had her Big Blue moment, and met death swimming towards a dolphin in the warm ocean with a smile on her face, but if she didn’t, that doesn’t matter. It’s not dying that matters, it’s how you get there.

Book details

» read article

Inquest Forcing Shrien Dewani to Testify Might Be Dewani Family’s “Last Shot at Justice”

Anni Dewani: A Father's StoryShrien Dewani, who has never testified in public about the murder of his wife Anni Dewani, might soon have to share his version of what happened on that fateful night in November 2010.

Eyewitness News reports that pending the outcome of the coroner’s report, Dewani might be called as a witness in the case. Dewani was acquitted of murder in December last year when Judge Jeanette Traverso threw the case out owing to unreliable evidence.

Read the article:

Her father Vinod Hindocha thinks a British inquest is the final chance to find out what really happened and says it’s their “last shot at justice”.

They are demanding coroner Andrew Walker name Dewani as a witness when he sets out the scope of the inquest on Wednesday.

However under British guidelines a witness is not obliged to answer questions which may incriminate them.

The Cape Argus spoke to Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha, who says the family is looking forward to hearing what Dewani has to say.

Read the article:

Now Dewani may take the stand and give a full account, under oath, of what happened. Should Walker find further discrepancies about Anni’s murder, another investigation could be launched.

The coroner is due to decide on the scope of the inquest at the hearing in London on Wednesday. This will mean the family could hear from Dewani what happened on that fateful night and answers to questions they had for five years may be answered.

But Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha said while the family didn’t have high hopes that he could testify, they wanted to hear from Dewani: “We hope he speaks up.

“That is what we have been fighting for, to have (our) questions answered.

“The South African justice system did not allow us that. We thought it would run smoothly in South Africa and that he would speak up.”

Last week EWN’s Rahima Essop told Pippa Hudson that the coroner’s inquest will resume on 9 September and this could result in Dewani being called to testify under oath for the first time. Essop had been following the trial since the beginning and in the podcast reflects on the way in which the case was handled in South Africa.

Listen to the podcast:

Related links:


Book details

» read article

Darrel Bristow-Bovey in the Hot Seat on AmaBookaBooka: The First in a Series of Literary Podcasts

One Midlife Crisis and a SpeedoDarrel Bristow-Bovey, author of One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo, was recently interviewed by Jonathan Ancer for AmaBookaBooka.

After introducing Bristow-Bovey, Ancer asks the author to read an extract from his latest book. Bristow-Bovey reads a section about the Tim Noakes diet and the celebrity status cauliflower has won because of it.

Bristow-Bovey then answers some questions about his writing and what he likes to read. He then does a “Sound Rorschach Test”, in which he shares a memory associated with the random sound effects Ancer plays.

Watch the video:

YouTube Preview Image

Book details

» read article

Die onbekende Van Gogh was nie ’n gold digger nie – Chris Schoeman (Potgooi)

Die onbekende Van GoghThe Unknown Van GoghEsté Meyer Jansen het onlangs met Chris Schoeman gesels oor sy boek Die onbekende Van Gogh. Hierdie biografie van Vincent van Gogh se broer, Cornelis, het vanjaar by Zebra Press verskyn en is ook in Engels beskikbaar as The Unknown Van Gogh.

Die skrywer vertel dat daar nie veel in die geskiedenis geskryf staan oor Cornelis nie, en dit het hom geprikkel om meer uit te vind oor dié Van Gogh wat stil-stil in Suid-Afrika gewoon het. Anders as die meeste mans wat Suid-Afrika toe gekom het om goud te delf was Cor “nie ‘n gold digger nie”, vertel hy.

In sy soektog na Die onbekende Van Gogh het Schoeman die Vincent van Gogh-brieweversameling in die Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam geraadpleeg, asook spoorwegmaatskappyrekords oor Cor wat nooit vroeër bekend was nie.

Luister na die potgooi:


» read article

That’s One Giant Leap Back for Springbok Rugby – Peter de Villiers’ Views on the World Cup Squad

Politically IncorrectPeter de Villiers, former Springbok rugby coach and author of Politically Incorrect: The Autobiography, has been called on far and wide to comment on current coach Heyneke Meyer’s selection for the world cup squad.

Of the 31 players Meyer selected for the squad, only nine are black. De Villiers regards this as a step backwards that will make it difficult to win support for the national team.

Wendell Roelf wrote an article for Rand Daily Mail about the issues of race and transformation that currently plague world cup rugby, and asked De Villiers for his opinion about the matter.

Read the article:

“You can have the best Ferrari, but if there is a roadblock and road works, you can’t go any further until you remove it,” he said. Players such as flyhalf Elton Jantjies and centre Lionel Mapoe had proven themselves during the Super 15 rugby competition between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but were still not being given enough opportunities, he said.

“Transformation is being stopped by having all the white coaches there to push an agenda to stop it. They stopped a natural evolution of transformation, they never let it go on to become great and we would never have had this problem now,” De Villiers told Reuters.

De Villiers spoke to Sakina Kamwendo on her SAfm show The Forum@8 about the issue of transformation in sport:


The former springbok coach was also featured on Tim Modise’s Power FM show about Meyer (the interview with De Villiers starts at 4:40):


Book details

» read article