Jacana news

Raymond Suttner speaks to David O’Sullivan about his newly published book Inside Apartheid's Prison.


Apartheid Guns and Money – A tale of profit

Hennie van Vuuren

Shining a light on apartheid’s corruption secrets

“van Vuuren shows that the struggle against corruption is indeed a human rights struggle and that, as we know from South Africa’s own history, it can be won. But it must be fought for.” – Jacob Dlamini, author of Askari 

“This important book seeks to uncover one of the key secrets of the last decades of the apartheid era. [It’s] a timely reminder that the founding values of our new Constitution are key to building a democracy.” – Justice Kate O’Regan, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

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From Pitch to Publication 

Closing date 14 July 2017

Like many publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts, we receive a large number of submissions every week. This means hours spent wading through many emails as we try to give every author feedback on their work. Writers often try to arrange meetings with publishers, convinced that meeting the publisher in person will persuade them to publish the book, but with only so many hours in a day this isn’t always feasible. 

The Pitching Session 

We are offering you the chance to participate in a twenty-minute session where you’ll be able to pitch your book to a panel comprising a media representative, three publishers and a high-powered bookseller. This is your chance to impress and persuade us in person to consider your work for publication. We realise this isn’t an approach that will work for all authors, but if you would like to be one of the twenty candidates who will present at the Live Pitching Session on 4 August 2017, we encourage you to submit an entry on our website. 

You will need to tell us why we would be interested in hearing your pitch. Take a look at the following websites for some ideas:


Accompanying your manuscript should be one page outlining:

How you are going to help us sell your book?
What target market can you reach with your book?
How does your book fit into the Jacana brand?
What is your book about?

We will consider pitches in the following genres:

- Lifestyle
- Children’s
- Fiction
- Politics/Current Affairs/History
- Memoir/Biography/Auto-Biography
- Natural History/Travel
- Cookery/Baking
- Business
- Self-help

Queries can be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Please note that we will only be giving feedback on submissions that interest us after the pitching session has taken place. If you have not heard from us by the end of August 2017, please consider your submission unsuccessful.

Pitch to Jacana

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If you are an aspiring author and want the chance to get published, then this is the opportunity you have been waiting for. 

For the past 13 years, first as the European Union Literary Award and now as The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, the process has unearthed great new South African literary talent. The books that have been published under this award have reflected the many strands of conversation that are woven together in the common language of fiction. 

The overall winner, selected by a panel of judges, stands a chance to win R35 000, be published by Jacana Media, get great coverage as a debut author and be part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign.

The JLF will also present the Kraak Writing Award, dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. Valued at R20 000, it offers mentoring and intensive coaching from a published author, editor or a publishing expert, enabling the author to refine and develop their work further. 

Submissions will be open from the 1 April 2017 to 31 May 2017. Enquiries can be directed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Kopano Matlwa stole South Africa’s heart with her debut novel Coconut. With more than 25 000 copies sold, this award-winning title cemented her position as one of South Africa’s bestselling authors. With her follow-up novel, Spilt Milk, Kopano continued to amaze us with her ability to intimately address complex political issues through relatable characters. This year, she brings us her best novel yet, Period Pain – a compelling story about how the broken continue to survive.

Audio from the storm May 10th and 11th

Sophia Lindop was on SAfmRadio talking about her latest book Spices South Africa Flavours and Traditions.

Rico talks about Madam & Eve: Take Us to Your Leader on OFM, The Sound Of Your Life with Andre Knuz


PIGGYS_BOYS_BLUE_COV.jpg   N11_high_conLR.jpg

Piggy Boy’s Blues adopted at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

BlackBird Books is delighted to announce that Piggy Boy's Blues by Nakhane Touré has been adopted for the spring 2017 course ‘The Contemporary African Novel’ at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. The good news was announced after Touré found out he is part of the longlist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2016.

Known for his music, SAMA award-winning musician Touré has changed tune with the release of his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. The novel, which has been described as reading fragments of a recurring dream, centres on the disastrous consequences of a man’s return to his Eastern Cape home town of Alice. Touré’s work is poetic with sensuous prose.

The judges’ decision was unanimous. Tammy Baikie wins the 2015/16 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for her distinctively clever novel, Selling LipService. She receives a R35 000 cash prize and publication of her book by Jacana Media, with the title being launched as part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign in June 2017. 

Not to be forgotten, runners-up Saul Musker (No Word Like Home) and Thabiso Mofokeng (The Last Stop) both narrowly missed being awarded the accolade for their exceptionally well-written and creative manuscripts. We have no doubt that their work will be picked up for publication, so keep an eye out!

For the first time, the Kraak Writing Grant was also awarded. That went to Andile Cele, author of Braids and Migraines. The grant is valued at R25 000 and dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. It offers the recipient mentoring and intensive coaching from Alison Lowry – editor, publishing expert and writer – enabling the author to refine and develop their work still further.


Chris van Wyk is honoured with the Posthumous Literary Award for his overall literary achievement and Askari wins the Creative Non-Fiction Award at the SALAs. 

South African poet and writer Chris van Wyk, who was born in Soweto in 1957 and passed away on 3 October 2014, was honoured with the Posthumous Literary Award for hi overall literary achievement and Askari by Jacob Dlamini won the Creative Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 South African Literary Awards. 

On receiving the award, Jacob had this to say:

‘I am honoured and humbled by the SALA award. I would like to thank the judges, SALA and its sponsors for this wonderful recognition. Ke a leboga!’


Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi has won the 2016 South African Literary Awards K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. Winners were announced on 7 November 2016 at a gala dinner at UNISA.

On receiving the award, Panashe had this to say:

“It is deeply affirming whenever you receive external validation for what is most often a solitary and isolating experience. This award in particular is an honour because it bears the name of one of South Africa’s literary greats. Over and above that, as someone with Pan-Africanist ideals, I’m deeply humbled that South African readers were able to find resonance with a story set in Zimbabwe, despite what many prospective publishers had said to me. I’m truly grateful to be a writer who has been allowed the space to bring all of herself and her experiences and to have that appreciated by a reading audience.”

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity, feminism and patriarchy, spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities, poverty and desperation, and wealth and abundance.

“Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine is as fresh and bracing as mountain air.” – Mandla Langa

he Kanga and the Kangaroo Court – Reflections of The Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma (Jacana) was well received when it was published in 2007 but the time then was not quite right.

South Africans were not yet ready for full-throttled feminism. And besides, back then the ANC Women’s League had captured the national narrative – and feminism is not part of the DNA of its political lexicon. Motsei’s book exposed the systemic cultural, religious and social root of violence against women in South Africa.

Motsei does not spare Zuma. She does not fall for his false victimhood. That he was somehow set up by political rivals. It is an excuse that politicians still use now, 10 years later. Marius Fransman, suspended ANC Western Cape Leader, has also cried political conspiracy.

Of Zuma’s excuse, Motsei writes;

“As a former head of intelligence in the ANC, he must have been trained to be highly suspicious of untoward sexual attention, especially at the time when he was allegedly facing a political conspiracy to oust him from the presidential succession race. Despite all of this, his training and experience in political intelligence, being an elder, a husband, father and a leader purporting to uphold traditional values, Zuma chose to have unprotected sex with the complainant. Political conspiracy or not, his choice to engage in sex was in his hands alone.”



Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi has been shortlisted for the 2016 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award. Around 150 nominations were received. The R20 000 prize is given to the title that South Africa’s booksellers most enjoyed reading, promoting and selling.

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity, feminism and patriarchy, spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities, poverty and desperation, and wealth and abundance.

“Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine is as fresh and bracing as mountain air.”
– Mandla Langa

Sam Cowen's no-holds-barred memoir and latest offering, From Whiskey to Water is now the number one Non-fiction title in South Africa.

Having kept her alcohol addiction well away from the public eye for over 14 years, in this tell-all tale Sam finds the courage to talk about her struggle with her addiction to whiskey, food and finally to a passion that saved her life – marathon swimming. Told in her characteristically hilarious dead-pan style, this is one of the bravest books you’ll read this year.

From Whiskey to Water was published by MFBooks Joburg, a Jacana Media imprint.

Buy the book here.

The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences awarded Declassified by Gerhard Maré the non-fiction prize and What Will People Say by Rehana Rossouw the fiction prize for 2016. Not only do we publish what we like, we publish award-winning books too.

RETIREMEANT COVCatch Kim Potgieter, author of Retiremeant, as she discusses retirement plans with Kura Chihota on Business Day TV.

Click here to be directed to the Business Day TV site. 

Kim Potgieter is a director and head of Life Planning at Chartered Wealth Solutions. Kim’s vision is to change the way people view retirement in South Africa. She strongly believes that retirement should be seen as a new life chapter, encouraging her clients at Chartered Wealth Solutions to retire to something and not from something.

Mongane Wally Serote calls on government to pay closer attention to our poets, at the fourth Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award

The Jacana Literary Foundation is pleased to announce Thabo Jijana as the winner of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award 2014. He accepted the honour for his poem ‘Children Watching Old People’ at a prize-giving ceremony at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg, on Tuesday night. Second place went to Rochelle Jacobs for her poem ‘Something Other’. Jim Pascual Agustin’s poem ‘Illegal, Undocumented’ was given third place by the distinguished jury of three and head judge Dr Mongane Wally Serote.

On Tuesday night an enthusiastic crowd was addressed by Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, the Head of the European Union Delegation to South Africa, and Dr Serote. Ambassador van de Geer noted the similarities between democratic South Africa and the European Union, and outlined the EU Delegation’s support for cultural initiatives in South Africa over the past 20 years. Dr Serote’s address, speaking to the three finalist poems as well as the pantheon of other voices in the four Sol Plaatje EU Poetry anthologies published since 2011, was a sobering call for South Africans, particularly our politicians, to pay attention to our poets. He stressed how all art – and poetry in particular – evokes an ethical response in us which must be heeded.  

This year’s anthology, collating the best of the poems entered into this year’s competition, was also launched on Tuesday night. The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology Vol IV honours the spirit of the legendary intellectual giant, Sol Plaatje, the activist, linguist, translator, novelist, journalist and leader. This year’s jury for the Award was comprised of three celebrated South African poets: Ingrid de Kok, Johann De Lange and Goodenough Mashego. The jury deliberated on the entries – 303 in all, submitted in five of South Africa’s eleven official languages – and sent a shortlist to Dr Serote, who chose the winner.

About the finalist poets

First place: Thabo Jijana’s work is informed by his rural upbringing in rural Eastern Cape. His poetry has appeared in publications including New Contrast, the Kalahari ReviewPoetry Potion, and most recently the 2013 and the 2014 Sol Plaatje European Union Award anthologies. His first book, Nobody’s Business, an attempt to understand his father’s life and death and the world of taxi violence, has just been published by Jacana Media. A journalist by trade, Thabo lives in Port Elizabeth. 

Second place: Rochelle Jacobs is a 24-year-old student in her final year at Stellenbosch University studying a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Rochelle’s passions boil down to three things: helping the world, getting the adrenaline flowing and literature. Rochelle and a group of friends have recently begun a rape awareness campaign on Stellenbosch campus called 'Unashamed' which is aimed at removing the guilt which permeates the discourse surrounding rape in South Africa, and her prize-winning poem ‘Something Other’ was written in this context.

Third place: Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates Filipino and English poetry. He grew up in the Philippines and now lives in Cape Town with his wife and their twin daughters. His fifth and sixth poetry books, Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran (poems in Filipino) and Sound Before Water, were simultaneously published in 2013 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila. These books will be followed, in 2015, by a new collection called A Thousand Eyes.