Gracie-Jane Coetzee’s first grandchild is born shortly before the president announces the first lockdown. This fifty-two-year-old writer and illustrator is not exactly a conventional grandmother. She prefers the company of Sad Sack, her faithful old Basset Hound, over any other relationship. At night when the PTSD refuses to let her rest, she treats the obsessive symptoms with a few glasses of wine. Gracie wants to be part of her grandson’s life, but first, she has to mend the broken bond of trust with her son, JJ.
Tony Leon, with unique access and penetrating insight, presents a portrait of today’s South Africa and the prospective future, based on his vast political involvement with key players. His intimate view of these presidents and their history-making reflects on a country and planet in upheaval. Leon also provides an insider view of the power struggles within the official opposition party, which saw the exit of its first black leader in 2019. There is every reason to fear for the future of South Africa, but Leon advocates hope.
In the stormy years before and during the Great Trek, three women’s lives become intertwined in a struggle for survival. Katrien and her husband, Stefaans, wanted to make a living on the Eastern border, but after much adversity, they were forced to move inland. Dina, a slave girl, moves with them, her love for Stefaans a secret that she guards at all cost. Thabisa is also part of Katrien’s circle. When Stefaans joins Piet Retief’s fatal delegation, she is reminded again of the injustice that Shaka committed to her family.
It’s 2020, and Huis Madeliefie enters the lockdown, armed with kilogrammes of soap. Vasie does not know how he will survive without a drink, Skoorsteen Pelser is deeply concerned about the tobacco ban, and the governing body’s severe restriction, even before Level 5 begins, and draconian rules irks Hans to no end. But then, Hans and co are old freedom fighters. They turn to passive resistance by brewing pineapple beer and undertaking rescue visits to Covid patients.
Are space and place identical concepts in literature or is “place” a specific kind of space? Are there any connections between certain forms of writing and the spaces in them? In what ways can spaces be described in a literary work? What does space/place mean for the writers who participate in this conversation and who all work in different (sub-) genres: novels; short stories; dramas; poetry? How does the description of space/place in these different (sub-) genres work?
Well-known writers often use pseudonyms. Sometimes it is related to their work (Boerneef and the rural life; Kleinboer and his patch of land in Yeoville), sometimes it is mere abbreviations (M.E.R. for M.E. Rothman); sometimes it is a deliberate mystification (Lodewyk G. du Plessis; Kees Konyn). But it can also be a form of self-representation. Nicknames are something else altogether: these are names given to someone and can be typical and apply mostly in literary works (Oumappie-Slagkraal; Sitman); they can often also be insulting. In addition to a purely linguistic description, the participants will mull over the function of pseudonyms and nicknames and expand more on interesting examples.