From cricket to butterflies, from strange creatures to financial freedom, here are some of this month’s most notable local titles. Have a look.

Too Black To Wear Whites by Jonty Winch and Richard Parry

This is the fascinating and informative story of little-known cricketer Krom Hendricks – the first South African sportsperson to be specifically barred from representing the country on the basis of race. His story offers a compelling glimpse into the strange intersections of Cecil Rhode’s errant imperialism, the influence of the Afrikaner Bond and old-time cricketing bureaucracy.

In 1892, Hendricks played for the South African Malay team against the touring English team. It was widely reported that he was among the best fast bowlers the visitors had ever encountered. In spite of this, he was excluded from the team when South Africa toured England in the 1894 test series. This book focuses largely on the controversy caused by Hendricks’ rejection and his subsequent struggle to gain the recognition he deserved. Too Black To Wear Whites does paint a picture of a petty white establishment hell-bent on saving their white cricketers the infinite shame of being bested by a sportsman of colour, but it also takes us through the underappreciated career of an exceptional cricket player… a cricket player who occupies a place of particular importance in South African history, and who could be said to have inadvertently sparked a series of racial dramas that continue to creep into sporting affairs to this day.

Built around the clash between snobbery and talent, provenance and potential, Too Black To Wear Whites is shot through with intriguing historical detail and tells a tale that is rebellious and instructive all at once – finally granting Krom Hendricks the appreciation he is undoubtedly due.


Field Guide To Butterflies of South Africa, Second Edition by Steve Woodhall

The ultimate guide to SA’s butterflies – all 650+ species – is back with a revised and expanded new edition. More than 2000 photographs ensure that identifying a butterfly has never been more satisfying! Wherever possible, the beautiful and numerous photographs cover upper and under sides, and male and female forms, and accompanying notes provide info on habitat, food, flight, mimicry and other notable behaviours. It also includes updated maps.

Beautifully designed for quick and easy identification, this is the ideal easy reference for everyone from the casual tourist to the expert lepidopterist.


Super Natural by Sarah Graham

The mounting celebration of natural, plant-based foods continues apace with Sarah Graham’s new love letter to wholesome foods, Super Natural. Focusing on foods free of refined carbohydrates and sugars such as whole grains, pulses and legumes, this is a book that seeks to elevate vegetables to the real star status that they deserve. After all, given their near-boundless variety and ability to sustain and nourish us, it’s really a wonder that plants are often relegated to the background of our meals. Through her own dietary journey, Graham has become convinced of the benefits of a plant-oriented diet, but more than this, it is clear that we all have more than just personal reasons for wanting to reduce the amount of meat we eat: emphasising the plant is essential for caring for our planet, and helps us keep a better handle on where our food is coming from and what it takes to produce it.

But as well as being environmentally conscious, Super Natural is, of course, full of super recipes too… Recipes that nourish mind and body, recipes that impress, recipes that are just darn good. For a glimpse into Sarah Graham’s wonderful world of good food, check out her website here.


Financial Freedom Through Property by Laurens Boel

Property investor, entrepreneur and author Laurens Boel firmly believes that property investment can be a source of wealth creation for just about anyone, and that it is our preconceived notions – needing a whole lot of money to begin with, needing the right contacts – that holds must of us back from even giving it a go. Actually, he argues, it’s really only about having the necessary knowledge – and here’s where you can find it. With this simple and accessible step-by-step guide, anybody can arm themselves with the knowhow needed to start. Packed with handy tips and case studies that explain the potential risks and rewards, the right way to negotiate win-wins, how to raise capital and get the right people on board, this is an essential guide for anybody hoping to get in on the lucrative business of property investment in SA. As it turns out, Boel only became an investor after he was retrenched, which just goes to show how doable it really is. Here’s a short extract:

“[Getting rich] is not always a matter of resources. Yes, some people start with more advantages in life. Some people have their parents’ money to start a business with. Some people have connections with high-status individuals in companies or government. But those are not the only factors for success. We’ve seen millions of people come from nothing and change the world. Start with the why and let the how unfold.”


Reggie and Me by James Hendry

Hendry has a wealth of experience gleaned from working in SA wildlife reserves, and from his previous books A Year in the Wild and Back to the Bush we know that he is a writer (among other things) who conjures vivid pictures of South Africa. While he typically combines his wit with wildlife and the bush to evoke this country, this one employs a more personal tone and fits best beneath the coming-of-age umbrella. It’s a testament to growing up in a strange and beautiful land, and a very readable look at the strange and beautiful thing that is family. This is a novel of great authenticity: heart-warming and entertaining.

From the publisher:

A time of turbulence as the struggle against apartheid reaches its zenith, pushing South Africa to the brink. But for a one small boy in the leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg … his beloved housekeeper is serving fish fingers for lunch.

This is the tale of Hamish Charles Sutherland Fraser – chorister, horse rider, schoolboy actor and, in his dreams, 1st XV rugby star and young ladies’ delight. A boy who climbs trees in the spring and who loves a girl named Reggie.

An odd child growing up in a conflicted, scary, beautiful society.

A young South African who hasn’t learnt the rules.


Beyond the Secret Elephants by Gareth Patterson

Gareth Patterson has been researching the secretive Knysna elephant for close to two decades. Theirs is a fascinating story. But just as fascinating is the mysterious being that Patterson discovered along the way: a near mythic-sounding creature known to the locals as Otang.

Patterson had been hearing about the Otang for some time, but mentioned it only briefly in his previous book, The Secret Elephants, as he was more focused on detracting from the impressive survival story of the elephants. With this new book, however, the focus shifts very much in favour of this “relict hominoid”.

The yeti, the abominable snowman, bigfoot… in one way or another, we are aware of these pseudo-human creatures. In fact, numerous scientists and environmentalists remain open-minded to the possibility of their existence. Patterson includes himself among these ranks as he documents and attends to various sightings of the mysterious Otang in the hope of learning more about the unknown beings with which we may be sharing our realm.