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Review of Things Unseen by Pamela Power PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 November 2016 15:12

Review by Beverley Jane Cornelius

“ ‘Mum always said, even if the bombs are dropping around you, you must make sure that you have your lipstick on… and clean knickers.’ ” That’s the spirit that sustains protagonist, Emma le Roux, as her seemingly perfect life is bombarded with crises in Pamela Power’s novel, Things Unseen.  And it is in this humorous tone that Power tells a deceptively light-hearted tale featuring murder, abuse, and alcoholism.

The novel takes the form of a classic ‘whodunnit’ but with a distinctly South African flavour and a Johannesburg setting.  The central character, Emma le Roux, lives a comfortable and privileged life in an affluent part of the city, but the horrors of a ‘home invasion’ and a murder swiftly dispel the illusion of perfection and provide the context for astute observations about South African society and its attitudes to crime.

In this context the author has effectively captured the underlying sense of the ridiculous that is often present in contemporary South African interactions.  At one point, for example, Captain Tshabalala is sidetracked in the middle of his investigation, as the finger print technician dusts the scene, by a conversation comparing pay scales in security and policing work, and has to be pointedly reminded about the task at hand, while Mr Le Roux is concerned with having the murder weapon, an expensive golf club, returned to him:  “That’s a Callaway Big Bertha Hybrid [he says].  Cost me six grand”.   The novel’s themes—of crime and poverty, money and power, white privilege and the plight of migrant workers, and even the fraught subjects of infertility, abortion, and parenting—are all handled with this sardonic wit, a dark humour that serves to starkly foreground the desensitization of the South African psyche.

In that atmosphere, then, the very flimsy evidence of this particular crime can be quickly pieced together to reach the convenient conclusion that the gardener, a migrant worker, must be guilty.  However, all is not as it seems and, as Emma continues to question the facts and as her placid life becomes increasingly disturbed, the secrets of the past persistently challenge the tranquility of the present.

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Tyron Love PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 November 2016 20:10

Tyron Love (1982 - ) is a KwaZulu-Natal-born cartoonist. In 2000, he enrolled for (and later completed) a degree in animation at the Centre for Fine Art, Animation and Design (CFAD). He proved to be a gifted student; CFAD named him “Most Creative Cartoonist” (2000), “Animator of the Year” (2002) and “Cartoonist of the Year” (2003). In his second year he created an animated advert for Life Line that was nominated for the 2001 Vuka Award finals.

Love is known for “Lonely Schnozz”, a cute but melancholic cartoon figure, who manifested when Love spent a prolonged period in hospital. The character acted as “an alter-ego who often reflected [Love’s] mental state". His second body of work, Yummy Lemons, provided an autobiographical comic exploration of his son, Emmett's, life. In terms of his comic influences, Love revealed in an interview:

I grew up obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes. Bill Watterson redefined newspaper comics. He made them magical again. Later on, I fell in love with Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig’s work.

Love formed part of a group of young South Africa cartoonists whose work was exposed through the exhibitions curated by famed cartoonist, Andy Mason. The most notable of these exhibitions was “Off the Wall” which saw Durban’s graffiti artists team up with the city’s cartoonists “in a unique crossover event that [combined] visual narrative with the art of the street. Love featured at the first exhibition (2006), the second exhibition (2007) and curated the third instalment (2008) together with tattoo artist, Ross Turpin.

In 2012, Love appeared at local underground comic book gathering, Co/Mix, held as part of the year's Open Book Festival in Cape Town. He took part in a discussion with Andy Mason entitled “Draw Your Life, Publish Yourself” that focused on autobiographical comic making.

Love’s cartoons have appeared in Mason’s “What's So Funny?: Under the Skin of South African Cartooning”, Mamba Comix, Africartoons, Black and White in Ink Exhibition and the accompanying book, Polony Mixed Meat magazine, Truth Magazine, Spirit Magazine, Champ Comic, and numerous websites and commercial projects. One of these projects included the illustration of Fiona Khan's The Grasshopper Who Could Not Jump.

The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province has had a profound influence on his work. He told the project:

The melting pot of cultures in KZN inspired a number of projects, most notably Thekweni Taxi a cartoon strip billed to run in the Saturday Independent in the early 2000's. The characters were based on the various Durban cultures and their eccentricities. I'm sad that project never took off, however it was widely exhibited.

The Durban Cartoon Project was an initiative which I co-founded [and] developed to harness cartooning in KZN, this project kick-started the careers of great cartoonists such as Sifiso Yalo, Themba Siwela, Warren Raysdorf, Alastair Laird and Luke Molver. It was a great time for cartooning in KZN and proved that we have world class talent in our province.

Living in Durban has also allowed me to collaborate with many other art disciplines including graffiti art, fine art and installation art.

Love currently lives in Kloof. He works as a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Manager at digital marketing agency, Jellyfish.

 

Instagram: @tyronlove | Twitter: @tyron_love

Website: http://www.tyronlove.com/

 

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Gcina Mhlophe named one of BBC’s “100 Women of 2016” PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 21:45

Gcina Mhlophe has been named one of BBC’s “100 Women of 2016”. The list celebrates inspirational and influential women for 2016. Mhlophe is a noted activist, actress, poet, author and director. 2016 has already seen Mhlophe win the "Chairperson's Award" for her body of work at the 2016 South African Literary Awards (SALAS).

 

 

Mhlophe represents South Africa together with other notable figures such as the country’s former public protector, Thuli Madonsela, and natural hair activist, Zulaikha Patel.

KZN Literary Tourism takes this opportunity to congratulate Mhlophe on the prestigious accolade. For those who wish to congratulate Mhlophe, she will be appearing at the Abantu Book Festival being held in December.





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