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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

21 at 21: Melanie Verwoerd, Sonwabiso Ngcowa and Justice Malala Discuss “Born Frees” at Love Books

21 at 21: The Coming of Age of a NationMissing Ink and Quivertree would like to invite you to the launch of 21 at 21: The Coming of Age of a Nation by Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcowa.

The authors will be in conversation with Justice Malala at Love Books on Wednesday, 17 June, at 6 for 6:30 PM.

Verwoerd and Ngcowa will share their experience of interviewing 21-year-olds across the country and finding out what the so-called “Born Free” generation thinks about democracy.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2015
  • Time: 6 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Melville | Map
  • Interviewer: Justice Malala
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

About the book

It has been 21 years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa. To mark the “coming of age” of the nation, Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcowa travelled across South Africa collecting the life stories of people born in 1994. These “born frees” relate their personal journeys, dreams and hopes for the future of the country. The brutally honest voices of these 21-year-olds, challenging and disturbing, as well as funny and hopeful, give an invaluable insight into modern day South Africa.

About the authors

Melanie Verwoerd is a writer and political commentator. She was born into an Afrikaner family and grew up during the height of apartheid in South Africa. At the age of 20 she married Wilhelm Verwoerd, the grandson of the former Prime Minister HF Verwoerd, generally regarded as the architect of apartheid. After a brief spell at Oxford in the UK, she and her husband returned to South Africa in 1990 after the ANC was unbanned and Nelson Mandela released from prison.

Shortly after their return she met with Mandela, who encouraged her to “use her surname and voice for the bigger good”. She and her husband stunned many by joining the ANC. However, their political involvement also lead to them being ostracised by their community and numerous death threats from the far-right Afrikaner movements. During the first democratic elections in 1994, Melanie was elected as a Member of Parliament for the ANC under the presidency of Nelson Mandela. At the age of 27 she was the youngest female MP in the history of the South African parliament. She was re-elected in 1999 and in 2001 was appointed as South African Ambassador to Ireland. After her term of office ended in 2005 she was appointed as the Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, a position she held until 2011.

Her best selling memoir, When We Dance was published in Ireland in November 2012. It was also published in South Africa in May 2013 under the title, The Verwoerd who toyi-toyied. Her next book, Our Madiba: Stories and reflections of those who met Nelson Mandela was launched in 2014 by Archbishop Tutu. She is now based in Cape Town.

Sonwabiso Ngcowa is a writer and poet now living in Cape Town. He was born in Alice, Sheshegu, in Mpozisa village. He has been living in Masiphumelele Township since coming to Cape Town in 1996. In 2011 he decided to leave his work at the Standard Bank as a junior manager to pursue his passion for writing and to study further.

His work has been published with FunDza (online), Cover2Cover Books and Oxford University Press. In Germany, his publishers are Peter Hammer Verlag and Bertelsmann – hard cover pocket edition due to come out in 2016.

His short stories have appeared in anthology format, including Never Again. Big Ups! (Cover2Cover Books; 2013), Beads Under My Shirt. Big Ups! (2014) and also in translation Akusayi Kuphinda Kwakunye Namanye Amabali.

Sonwabiso wrote reviews for the literature section of the Cape Times. His book reviews have also appeared in The People’s Daily in Nigeria and Pambazuka Africa News online.

His short story, In Search of Happiness, was used at Human Rights youth workshops run in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

His novel, In Search of Happiness has been translated into German as Nanas Liebe.

He graduated with BSocSci Degree at UCT, majoring in Anthropology and Social Development and in February 2015 he started his Anthropology Honours studies at UCT.

Book Details

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