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Sihle Khumalo PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 22:22

Sihle Khumalo (1975 - ) was born in Nqutu in rural KwaZulu-Natal. He completed his matric at Sukuma Comprehensive School in Imbali Township just outside Pietermaritzburg. He furthered his education at Natal Technikon (now Durban University of Technology), Wits Business School as well as at Stellenbosch Business School.

Khumalo’s works comprise of travel literature that arose from a fascination with the African continent and a childhood dream to explore it. This passion has been channelled into the bestselling book Dark Continent My Black Arse which covers his epic Cape to Cairo trip. His other major African trip which was from Johannesburg to Kigali in Rwanda, also by public transport, is chronicled in the book Heart of Africa. In 2011 he travelled from Dakar in Senegal; through Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and finished off in Accra - Ghana; also using public transport. His latest book, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu covers this West Africa adventure. In addition to his books, Khumalo has contributed shorter pieces to Cheesecutters and Gymslips, uMama, and written for a number of travel magazines.

His works have been critically acclaimed. The first two books were long-listed for the Alan Paton Award and his third won the 2014 South African Literary Award (SALA) in the creative non-fiction category. In 2011, Khumalo was selected by the Destiny Man Magazine as one of 40 men, under the age of 40, who are Destined for Greatness. His writing has also received endorsements from the likes of Zakes Mda, Max du Preez and Paul Theroux.

Khumalo is married with two children and lives in Johannesburg where he works for a property development company.

Selected Work

Excerpt from Heart of Africa (2009:89):

Lake Tanganyika is said to be very deep. With an average depth of 1470 metres it is the second deepest lake in the world, after Lake Baikal in Russia. It is approximately 673 kilometres long in a north-south direction and, on average, fifty kilometres wide. Looking out over the expanse of water, I started worrying about how often the ferry, which is forever on the move, got a thorough inspection and proper maintenance.

The fact that Lake Tanganyika is so deep was not a comfortable thought to someone (me) who, although he can swim, can only do a few strokes before he needs to stand on firm ground again.

I learned to swim at the mature age of thirty-one. It was one of those things that had been on my To-Do list for ages, but I had not gotten round to it until I wanted to enter the reality-TV show, Survivor South Africa. Then I had no choice but to learn to swim.

The supervisor of the public swimming pool on the main Durban beachfront taught me. The man used to scream, yell and shout at me as if I were a child. I just had to take it – teaching the public to swim was not part of his duties. It took me about two weeks to confidently do my few strokes. As for being a contestant on Survivor, I was shortlisted for the first round of auditions, but since only models made it – as anybody could see when the final contestants were announced – I stood no chance.

I can say this much about swimming: it is one of those things you have to learn to do at a very young age when fear and panic do not feature in your vocabulary.


2013. Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu. Cape Town: Umuzi

2009. Heart of Africa: Centre of my Gravity. Cape Town: Umuzi

2007. Dark Continent My Black Arse. Cape Town: Umuzi

On the Twitter Trail: November Roundup PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:42

By Rasvanth Chunylall

Many writers have embraced twitter as a medium to engage with fans, develop their brand identities, share news stories and express their thoughts and opinions. Here are some highlights from the twitter accounts of a few KZN writers.

Live updates of #SenzoMeyiwa funeral makes me wonder if we are mourning the death of a hero or fetishizing our inability to tackle crime?

— Azad Essa (@azadessa) November 01, 2014

The early beginnings of a new book. Trepidation with a side order of relish.

— John van de Ruit (@johnvanderuit) November 03, 2014

What if the person staring at you from the mirror is real and you're the reflection? Jolted consciousness. What. If.

— Shafinaaz Hassim (@shafinaaz) November 03, 2014

You've got to live a real life in order to write a real book. Gone to live, be back sooner or later. Have pens. Will write.

— Shafinaaz Hassim (@shafinaaz) November 03, 2014

Tonight I return to the old school. Might be forced to leap into the fountain. #nightswimming

— John van de Ruit (@johnvanderuit) November 08, 2014

Rest in peace #MbulaeniMulaudzi

— Eric Miyeni (@EricMiyeni) November 11, 2014

Always make time for your friends and the friends you surround yourself with are a reflection of who you are.

— Trevor Kleinhans (@secretsmakeusic) November 13, 2014

A convicted serial killer can marry, yet in many places a man in love with another man cannot? #CharlesManon #ScrewedUpWorld

— Trevor Kleinhans (@secretsmakeusic) November 18, 2014

Important lesson learnt today: sometimes you have to take a step backwards in order to move forwards in the long term.

— Rosamund Kendal (@Rosamundkendal) November 18, 2014

Don't miss tonight's #ChicagoFire - my crazy Chopper episode

— Jann Turner (@JannTurner) November 18, 2014

Oh dear. I'm not well enough for all those pix of Kim K's derriere. *Feels a wave of nausea coming on again.* #KimK

— Janet van Eeden (@janetvaneeden) November 20, 2014

"A movie's artistic success, as an experience, depends on the power of the metaphor that is the central engine of the movie." #MikeNichols

— Janet van Eeden (@janetvaneeden) November 20, 2014

If you have a powerful metaphor, if the audience knows why they're there, you can soar very high. No cleverness can lift it. #MikeNichols

— Janet van Eeden (@janetvaneeden) November 20, 2014

16 days of activism against gender violence includes financial violence: non-payment of children's maintenance & not paying women for work.

— Angelina N. Sithebe (@angelinasithebe) November 21, 2014

Only special people get to have twitter bio's like this: "Journalist. I'm into poverty, health and human rights"

— Azad Essa (@azadessa) November 23, 2014

I was thrilled to be back with the Media & Library club girls of St Mary's this week!

Melissa Delport (@melissadelport) November 25, 2014

Does living within 2km of a SA university, qualify me for a doctorate?#justasking

— John van de Ruit (@johnvanderuit) November 25, 2014

Watch Spuddy learn to fly in exactly 40 hours time. In cinemas nationwide. Go South Africa! #spud3

— John van de Ruit (@johnvanderuit) November 26, 2014

Be all that you can be, especially when all you can be is grateful.#power2014

— Shafinaaz Hassim (@shafinaaz) November 26, 2014

Don't settle. Don't finish crappy books. If you don't like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you're not on the right path, get off it. C Brogan

— Michelle McGrane (@MichelleMcGrane) November 28, 2014

#LUT2014 was worth all the effort of getting there. Some of the best trail running I've ever done. Highly recommend it! @LesothoUltra

— Rosamund Kendal (@Rosamundkendal) November 30, 2014

Review of Cayleigh Bright's Close to Home PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:22

By Caitlin Martin

Close to Home is Cayleigh Bright’s debut novel. Cayleigh is the online editor of Glamour South Africa, and the contributing books editor of GQ South Africa. She wrote this novel while completing the UCT Creative Writing master’s programme.

The novel centres on a group of friends, all studying at the University of Cape Town, and the suspicious death of a fellow student. Cayleigh explores the complex bonds that surround this group friends, as well as darker side of wealth and privilege.  Bright drew on her experience of ‘college drama’ gleaned in her honours degree in English literature and follows in the tradition of Bret Easton Ellis (of American Psycho fame) and Donna Tartt.

This novel grapples with the unsettling and disorienting period that exists between childhood and adulthood that university tends to offer.  The characters in the novel attempt to develop their identity as adults, away from their families, while still being afforded every luxury that having wealthy parents offers them.  This leads to a group of people who struggle to reconcile their wealth and freedom with responsibility and tend to rather wallow in lives of disaffected alienation and excess.

The novel consists of eleven main characters and is written in first person narration from the viewpoints of these many characters.  The narrators, therefor, are notoriously unreliable, viewing things from both a naïve, and self-absorbed, frame of mind.  By writing this way, Cayleigh believes she is able to show greater insight into the narcissistic and self-indulgent characters who have greater insight into their friends’ characters than they would be able to express of themselves.  Don’t try to remember all the characters, you don’t need to. Cayleigh argues that close-knit relationships that exist between the characters blur individual identity.  This unsettling writing style means that, as a reader, you are left alienated from these characters, and are in a position to draw your own conclusions on the characters and events.



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