Here are some more selections for those in your life more likely to prefer facts and opinion (and food) to fiction. There’s an incredible variety of topics, observations and guides to choose from this time of year, and there’s pretty much no chance that you’ll struggle to find something for everyone among them. So, from incisive looks at current events to a beautiful tome encompassing the country’s favourite recipes, from the childhood of a beloved performer to the transcontinental adventures of an octogenarian, here are five books that you’ll want on your radar as we approach the final run-up to Christmas.
Foodies of South Africa Top 100
Foodies of SA is a community devoted to the idea of food as a connection between family and friends and as a means to create new memories. And, of course, they passionately and sincerely champion South Arica and everything that it has to offer in terms of culture, tradition and appetite for life. The 100 awesome recipes packed into this volume have been shared hundreds of thousands of times across various platforms and have been enjoyed countless times across the country. This is the essential handbook for anyone looking to spice things up in the kitchen, get some new ideas and revel in the enthusiastic foodie community.
Put together by Quivertree – whose books are infallibly gorgeous and expertly formatted – each recipe features beautiful accompanying photographs, easy to follow instructions and helpful tips.
Contents include: breakfasts, snacks and sides, mains, braais, sweets and drinks.
My African Conquest by Julia Albu
Often enough, the greatest adventures begin with the flimsiest of notions. Here’s a book that proves that not only can the journey of a lifetime be a spontaneous affair, it’s never too late to embark on something amazing.
Julia Albu begins her unlikely journey with a phone call to her favourite radio show:
‘Next year I’m going to be 80 years old. My car will be 20 years old. Together we’ll be 100. We’re going to drive to London.’
‘And what route are you going to take?’
‘I have no idea. I think I’ll keep to the right.’
And so began Julia’s tour of Africa, from the Cape to Cairo in her beloved Toyota Conquest. Accompanied by some of her children, her son-in-law and a host of guides and friends that she comes across along the way, she leapfrogs from place to place reminiscing on her life, meeting a colourful bunch of new people and taking in the sights the continent has to offer.
My African Conquest is a heart-lifting testament to the adventurous spirit and written proof that one really is never too old to experience something new.
Look at Me by Nataniël
Nataniël’s combination of distinctive deadpan humour, sold-out live shows, extraordinary costumes and beloved cooking programme has made him a singular celebrity. His written work too, composed in excellent style and typified by a wry blend of pained amusement, brings in many fans.
Look at Me is his first memoir proper and it charts his peculiar and intriguing path from early childhood to the middle of high school. Comprising hilarious looks at small-town life and the folk of the platteland, numerous tales of artistic and personal awakening, testaments to the grandmother who encouraged him while everyone else was moderately horrified and a generous sackful of sharp observations, this is a book that fulfils several functions. It’s a tale that’ll resonate with anybody who grew up (or is growing up) in an environment that doesn’t quite fit as a person who doesn’t quite fit – a stream of anecdotes covering everything from improvised workshop costumes to unbearable rugby games, from heart-breaking rejections to musical triumphs. And it’s also a careful and fascinating cogitation that offers a great deal of insight into a wonderful and unique performer… a charming read brimming with personality.
Available in Afrikaans as Kyk Na My.
Blessed by Bosasa by Adriaan Basson
State capture, tenders, shady dealings, threats, intimidation, greed… corruption and avarice hardly show signs of slowing down, do they? In all of these tales there is something to be learned, and it is books like this that really get down into the mechanics, and the history, of a rotten situation-cum-system. Each new glimpse is a shadow expelled.
Adriaan Basson has spent more than a dozen years of his career as a journalist doggedly hounding the Bosasa story… and not without having to weather his share of threats and lawsuits. This is the gripping story of the felonious, shady company that played Zuma’s government like its very own puppet show – the in-depth investigation of a nefarious force that has existed since before Zuma and the Guptas, of rampant grasping, of appalling wealth and insidious malfeasance. Substantial, deftly assembled, riveting.
Black Tax by Niq Mhlongo
“…no one is successful until their entire family is successful,” Nkateko Masinga brilliantly avers in this extremely timely compilation.
“Black Tax” is not a comfortable term. Neither is it a comfortable thing for many. But, at a time when the middle class is being steadily eroded and the wealth gap yawns ever wider, it is something that wants discussing. With Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu? Mhlongo and 25 other gifted writers have united to paint an essential portrait of the daily lives of black South African families. It’s a revealing socioeconomic snapshot of sorrows and frustrations felt across the country that succeeds as a major examination of a complex issue, and it’s also a terrific compendium of writing talent: established literary personalities, voices from the business world and the newest generation of SA all contribute to this excellent anthology of perception and experience. If you’re keen to keep up with the issues of the day, this is a book you’ll want to get your hands on.