Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Two Dogs / Mercury

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The no-brainer Christmas present: 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

In the run-up to Christmas, with the bookstores heaving, we’re happy to report that the brand-new Burnet Media title 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World, by Alexander Parker and Tim Richman, is hitting the right note with reviewers and interviewers. The consensus seems to be that, if you’re stumped for Christmas gift ideas, this is an obvious stocking filler for avid readers, not-so-avid readers, part-time history buffs and anyone who thinks that both the Korean Kims and Kim Kardashian are highly terrible people.


Mixing a little bit of history and stirring in some social commentary, 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World is an all round entertaining read. As radio host, Gareth Cliff put it, it’s “a fascinating, terrific read, and a particularly good Christmas present for all your uneducated, stupid, stultified children.”


Described by one of the authors as “a collection of assholes who have brought ruination on the modern world”, the book explores the impact of their fifty chosen offenders, from the usual suspects like Hitler, Stalin and Mao to the less obvious choices of Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg and the call-centre drone. And, of course, they’re neatly introduced with illustrations by our favourite political cartoonist, Zapiro.


Zapiro, Alexander Parker and TIm Richman at the launch of 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

Zapiro, Alexander Parker and TIm Richman at the launch of 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World

Launched in November, 50 People has quickly found its way on to both the Exclusive Books and Wordsworth Books Christmas 2017 recommended reading lists. It also comes highly recommended by Jay Heale as a Christmas read from Fine Music Radio.


While not quite at Jacques Pauw level (they wish!), the authors have been in high demand, being interviewed by Cliff (for CliffCentral), Nigel Pierce (Good Hope FM), Nancy Richards (SAFM Literature), Mandla Shongwe (SAFM Lifestyle), Bruce Whitfield (702), Africa Melane (CapeTalk) and Sasha Martinengo (Hot 91.9FM). Alexander and Zapiro have also appeared on SABC News with Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd.


Zapiro and Alexander Parker in the SABC studios

Zapiro and Alexander Parker in the SABC studios

Shongwe hit the nail on the head in describing why this book is so important right now: “A fantastic thought-provoking book that renews my appreciation for history. It reminds us how we got here and how we can avoid things getting worse.”


But while that may sound a little serious, SA books legend Gorry Bowes-Taylor demonstrates that it isn’t just a history lesson: “Brilliant. D’you remember Meg Ryan’s orgasm in When Harry Met Sally? No, I didn’t have an orgasm (sadly) reading the book, but I did yell Yes Yes Yes! The research and the writing and the fun that went into this book, sjoe.”


For more on the book, including extracts, see


For more review quotes,


For Alexander Parker and Zapiro’s SABC News interview, see here:


For Tim Richman’s interview with Gareth Cliff, see here:

John Sanei: getting published = shooting for the moon

What's Your Moonshot?

John Sanei’s book, released in April


Since the release in April this year of his book What’s Your Moonshot?, John Sanei has literally and figuratively shot for the moon – and in following his own advice he’s seen the success of his book amplifying his work as a leading trend specialist, business consultant and keynote speaker.

What’s Your Moonshot, John’s first book, has been a regular contender on the Nielsen Bestseller charts in South Africa this year, peaking at number 6 in August. It has sold remarkably well through the traditional trade (rare for a local business book) and en masse directly to his clients and audiences. In the last two months, John and Moonshot have featured prominently in GQ, Fast Company and Man magazines.


John boxing clever on the cover of Man magazine, November 2017

John boxing clever on the cover of Man magazine, November 2017


The release of his book was timed to assist John in introducing his business and brand to a global audience – and it seems to have worked… In September he spent three weeks in California at the prestigious Singularity University, an influential think-tank that aims to use science and “exponential” technologies to deliver positive global change. In his time there, he met, among others, the legendary Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, the men who inspired Moonshot. By the end of his trip John had been invited to become part of the faculty. Not content stopping there, he was appointed to the faculty at Duke University in North Carolina a few weeks later.


John meeting up with bestselling US author Cal Fussman in L.A., September 2017. Cal wrote the foreword to What’s Your Moonshot?

John meeting up with bestselling US author Cal Fussman in L.A., September 2017. Cal wrote the foreword to What’s Your Moonshot?


The self-professed “trenovator” and now bestselling author has just returned from the successful second leg of his What’s Your Moonshot World Tour in Dubai. The Tour began in late September in New York City, to which John will be returning soon. In January he will spend a week speaking and consulting in Latvia, and he and his team are finalising dates for further trips to the US and Dubai, as well as London, France and Saudi Arabia in 2018.


John with Cal’s good friend Larry King.

John with Cal’s good friend Larry King


The reprint of What’s Your Moonshot? has just arrived from the printers and will be in stores soon.

For more information on John, his world tour and other moonshots, see

For more information on the book, see

Interview With A Huddle Of Hippos Author, Julia Richman

huddle-of-hippos-cover          Julia Richman

Julia Richman talks to us about the ups and downs of writing the educational children’s book, A Huddle of Hippos, and her plans for future adventures.

Tell us briefly about your book. 

A Huddle of Hippos is a picture book about a young boy named Sam who goes on an African safari with his parents. I’ve used rhyming text to introduce a variety of cool collective nouns for animals in the bush. Geared for children aged 4 to 8 years, it includes beautiful, colour illustrations by Celeste Beckerling.


Why did you want to write this book? 

I wanted to write a lively story for children using rhythm and rhyme that could also teach them something fun and different. I love collective nouns! I remember them being one of the best things I learnt at school – I love how creative and clever they are. I have a whole compendium of wonderful collective nouns that has become one of my favourite reads.


Describe your creative writing process

When I come up with an idea I spend a long time planning. You have to ask yourself, how am I going to best entice the audience that I’m targeting, and how can I set my book apart from the tens of thousands of books already out there? I think about all the essential creative writing tools, like plot, characterization and writing style, so that I have a very good idea of what my story is about. And then I write it all down, and it looks like an absolute mess, so I edit till I’m blue in the face. Cut, cut, cut, till it’s pencil sharp. The rhyming adds another whole dimension and it’s not as easy as it may seem. It’s important to get the rhythm right.


What was your most challenging hurdle in publishing this book? 

I always wanted to have a book published through my husband’s publishing company, Burnet Media, and it was actually just such a rewarding experience, from start to finish, working with him, the publisher, plus illustrator and art director, all in an interactive, fun and hands-on way. I loved the process. Perhaps the challenging bit is that once you’ve finished your book, you realise that there is a lot more to do! It’s not just getting your book into bookstores and sitting back. It’s about finding your audience and doing events, storytimes, markets, school visits…


Who is your author hero? 

When it comes to children’s books specifically, Roald Dahl for his genius wit. I especially love Fantastic Mr Fox. And A.A. Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh) for the beautifully sensitive nature of his stories and the invaluable life lessons that shine through on every page. More recently, Julia Donaldson, for her brilliant imagination and storytelling ability.


What are you currently reading?

Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and What’s Your Moonshot by John Sanei.


Who inspires you?

My husband, Tim, and my son, Nicholas. And kind, creative souls.


What’s your next book? 

A Huddle of Hippos is the first of The Sam Series, and I’m aiming to put out at least one of those books a year, teaching other fun figures of speech, such as similes, metaphors and onomatopoeia. I’m also researching for a story that can help children develop self-confidence.


What drew you to write children’s books? 

I wrote articles for magazines for years, and then began feeling like I wanted to be more expressive with my words and play around more. I completed the Get Smarter creative writing course through UCT and Penguin Random House in 2014 and really loved it. I used everything I learnt from that to put together my first book, an Early Reader for 7- to 10-year-olds called Katya’s Hairy-Tales: The Bacon Chase, which was published by Penguin Random House in November 2015.

Wanting to start a family also definitely played a role.

What was your favourite childhood book?

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

Interview with A Little Horse Called Pancakes author, Candice Noakes-Dobson

Pancakes cover           Candice 2017


Candice Noakes-Dobson, author of the heartwarming children’s book, A Little Horse Called Pancakes, talks to us about the inspiration for her journey with Pancakes and what she plans to do next.


Tell us briefly about your book. 

The first book in the series, A Little horse called Pancakes, introduces us to this little miniature horse who nobody valued as he was too short and too fat. This is until he strikes up a friendship with a little girl called Anna B. The two of them, with the help of all the animals on the farm, work hard towards a performance at a vaulting show and earn the respect of those who once were very mean.

The second tale, A little Horse called Pancakes and the Big Mountain Fire, is based on real events that took place during the devastating wildfires in Cape Town in 2015.


Why did you want to write this book?

The first book was to have a little memoir of what happens at the farm and to raise funds for South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA). I had no idea that it would have such a strong following.

The second book was strongly driven by the passing of my friend’s husband, Darrell Rea, an extraordinary helicopter pilot and firefighter. He was involved in fighting the fires of 2015 and was a wealth of information during this very traumatic time. He would fly over the farm and give us updates on whether we needed to evacuate, wind conditions and the spreading of the fire. A month after the fire Darrell passed away in a helicopter crash, fighting a fire in Bainskloof. He had a 7 month old son. Part of the reason for sharing this story was for his son, so that he could see what an absolute hero his father is.


Describe your creative writing process?

I am completely technically challenged! Thus, I carry a notebook around with me. I continuously jot down conversations, thoughts, occurrences and observations daily, and then the story unfolds.

Don’t laugh, I then type it on my phone, and email it to Catriona Ross who is an extremely efficient editor. As our daughters go to the same school, the next day we usually stand in the parking lot discussing changes. I then go home make the changes and then repeat for a few days.

After that I send the story to Wendy. She then sketches it out and we meet weekly to go over the illustrations. She is so in tune with the story we never really have any corrections or redraws.


What was your most challenging hurdle in publishing this book?

Is it obnoxious to say nothing? Wendy Patterson, the very talented illustrator for the Pancakes series is very experienced in the business. She guided me through the process and then hooking up with Burnet Media has been a dream.


Who is your author hero?

Firstly my dad, Professor Tim Noakes. From the day I was born I don’t think I have ever not seen him reading or writing, not that I can pretend to understand all the scientific content of his work. He just continues to produce outstanding work year after year. He has written me such beautiful letters over the years that I will forever treasure.

Being a drama teacher, I also have a fascination with Tennessee Williams, Athol Fugard, Bernard Shaw, Anton Chekhov, Sam Shepard and most definitely Shakespeare.

Not to forget a fellow graduate from UCT, Nadia Davids, who has a gift with imagery and words.


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Alan Root’s Ivory, Apes & Peacocks. Lined up after that is Maggie Smith, and a biography by Michael Covenly. And Annabel’s bedtime reading presently is Valegro, Champion Horse by Carl Hester.


Who inspires you?

My husband, John Dobson, who is a wonderful father, talented coach and fantastic sounding board as well as author.

My parents. My mother is a guiding light and my father is the kindest most generous person, dedicating his life to the quest for the health of the human race.

My 5 year old daughter, Annabel, who lives life in curiosity and wonder. Her love for nature, the outdoors, her animals and epic adventures in the forest.


What’s your next book?

I am currently finishing writing the third installment of the A Little Horse Called Pancakes series. We ended the last book with the devastation and heroism that a wildfire caused. This time Pancakes and Anna B will have an adventure that includes the miraculous regeneration of nature, a brief look at natural horsemanship, and the meeting of a very talented little horse rider called Ella, which leads to an aquatic adventure.


What drew you to write children’s books?

Pancakes the miniature pony, who is the hero of the books, actually exists and lives with us on Sweet Valley farm as well as all the characters in the book. Pancakes is such a personality. When Annabel came along and this deep love for Pancakes developed, these little tales came about. It was a way of capturing and freezing the experiences on the farm.

I also wanted to do a project that could do good. My grandmother, aunt and I have all been involved at SARDA. It is an organization that transforms the lives of the children who ride these special ponies as well as the volunteers who so generously give of their time. When you see a child confined to a wheelchair on top of a powerful pony, they are free. They are like any able-bodied person and they can be tall and move freely. The confidence, smiles and the actual benefit of being on top of a pony as it moves is real poetry in motion. Small miracles happen daily at SARDA. There is a magic that occurs between these children and ponies.

A huge credit must go to Wendy Patterson as it is her illustrations and professionalism that made these books come alive. Without her guidance these stories would be locked in my head.

Also Catriona Ross an incredible author who so kindly guides and edits alongside me.


What was your favourite childhood book?

 Nungu and the Hippopotamus by Babette Cole. My godfather sent it to me as a gift when I was a child and I still use it as a teaching aid today. A very clever story of a hippopotamus who swallows all the water from the villages dam and how a young boy, Nungu, goes in search of this huge hippopotamus and how he manages to get the water back. The illustrations are so detailed and humorous.



What’s Your Moonshot? Interview with author John Sanei

moonshot cover                   John Sanei 2017



John Sanei is a trend specialist, entrepreneur, business innovation strategist and now author who travels the world speaking to some of the globe’s most influential businesses about how they can future-proof their businesses. Here, he talks to us about his debut book What’s Your Moonshot?

Tell us about What’s Your Moonshot?

In 1961, JFK gave a speech stating that he believed the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. At the time the technology to do so didn’t exist but his daring statement created a huge amount of energy and in eight short years the country had achieved one of humankind’s greatest feats. Decades later, the likes of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have been able to create the same sort of “moonshots” with huge amounts of money and brainpower. The book is based on the fact that we are moving into a world where we will have access to 7 billion people at the click of a button in the next 5-10 years. The world will have free fast Wi-Fi, together with almost free energy sources and almost free transportation. With this in mind, we all now have the ability to do what organisations and governments used to do in previous decades: create “moonshots”
The book is about how we view the future. Are we victims or architects of it? It also asks how we categorise and contextualise trends in order to help us innovate; how to create businesses that have got global footprints and are creating solutions for humanity’s future.

Why did you want to write a book?
I wrote it for three reasons. The first was a brain dump – a Feng shui principal of getting rid of the old to bring in the new. It’s what I practise at home in my physical space but also in my mental space in order to bring in new information. I wanted to download the information that was sitting in my head.
The second reason’s based on a quote from Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundilini Yoga from the East to the West: “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” I feel I had to write about internal dialogue and external strategy in this book in order to really understand them, and I am now mastering them in my consultation and speaking engagements.
Finally, I really wanted to give people a toolset and a step-by-step programme in order to create moonshots and create positive businesses that the globe really needs.

In What’s Your Moonshot? you talk about being Forever Profitable – in a nutshell, what does that mean?

Forever Profitable is the methodology I use to guide organisations into the future. It’s quite self-explanatory; by following the methodology you’re able to maintain profitability forever. It’s a big statement but when you understand the methodology you realise that it’s a very clear step-by-step process involving
The future of your industry
The future of your consumer
The future of your employee and
The future of technology
Of course there’s more to it than this – you’ll have to read the book!



John shares What's Your Moonshot? with Richard Branson in Cape Town.

John shares What’s Your Moonshot? with Richard Branson in Cape Town.


Describe your creative writing process.
I built out the keynote presentation about two years ago and have given keynote speeches since.  Then my copywriter, wordsmith and ghost writer, Kirsten Molyneaux, came to one of them with the intention of helping me write the book. She drew up a structure and from there we met and did strategy sessions on what each chapter could be about and what the process of the book should follow in order to bring about moonshot thinking.
It was a long process, with lots of back and forth between Kirsten and me, and my editor Tim (Richman). There was a lot of chiselling to capture it all concisely and present it all in an easy-to-understand way – but I didn’t actually write anything. I really voice-noted everything because I think better when I’m talking than when I’m writing. I also know my strengths and I think that’s important: most people find it quite daunting to write a book because they think they have to sit down and write. With modern technology, we have so many different options available to us  I used my strengths in speaking and I found someone who could match my skills in talking with writing – Kirsten helped me bring it to life.

What was your most challenging hurdle in publishing this book?
The type of personality I am, it’s always about the details afterwards. It’s the re-writing, the re-reading the re-writing again – that editing part of it was really challenging to me because once I’ve got it out of my head I don’t really want to see it again. I’m grateful to Tim and Kirsten for holding my hand through that editing process.

Who is your author hero?
Seth Godin. His book The Purple Cow changed my whole life. And I loved the way he brings ‘Aha’ moments into small, simple stories.

What are you currently reading?
I’m not actually reading anything. I’m listening to two books: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani.

What one thing would you like your reader to come away with having finished What’s Your Moonshot?
A reality check. A check on the potentiality of them as a human being; a potentiality of dreaming bigger and bringing about these global solutions to humanity’s problems based on my methodologies. I want people to just think bigger…for them to ask the question, what is my moonshot?

Who inspires you?
Anyone who is living his or her highest excitement and living a purposeful, driven life inspires me. Whether they are designers of clothes, writers of books or running a multi-billion dollar business – they all inspire me.
Specifically, Peter Diamandis is one of the most advanced human beings I know of. He is the original ‘moonshoter’ and he’s inspired me to write this book and to help me think in a very specific way.

What’s your next book?
I have a couple bubbling in my head but nothing has been formalised yet. I’ll get there. Now that I understand the process of publishing and I understand what it takes, I’ve got a better and clearer understanding of how I can actually get them out of my head. I’m heading to the States soon so I’m sure that will lend some inspiration.

Interview with Real Meal Revolution: Banting 2.0 Author Jonno Proudfoot

Cover_HR jonno portrait
Jonno Proudfoot is a food expert, entrepreneur and adventurer, and the driving force behind the Real Meal Revolution brand. He conceptualised and co-authored the bestselling Real Meal Revolution and Real Meal Revolution: Raising Superheroes, both of which have been published internationally by the Little, Brown Book Group. He is the MD of the Real Meal Revolution diet company, which specialises in online and face-to-face weight-loss and healthy-eating support. Real Meal Revolution: Banting 2.0, published in December 2016, is his third book.

The original Real Meal Revolution book was launched in November 2013 and has been a publishing sensation in South Africa. What have you been up to since?
Short answer: a lot.
The success of the first book was so sudden and overwhelming that it was difficult to work out what to do next. It’s still on the weekly bestseller lists more than three years later, and I believe we’ve now sold upwards of 250,000 copies, which is incredible in the small South African market.

So where do you go from there?
A very good question!
There were some important personal milestones for me that came in relatively quick succession after the book was released: I had the opportunity to complete a dream adventure with a good friend, swimming the 450kilometres from Mozambique to Madagascar on an epic seven-week journey; I got married; and then my wife Kate fell pregnant not too long after that, an even more epic journey.
From a business perspective, I had registered the trademark for “the Real Meal Revolution” and had always intended to do “something” with the brand – I just wasn’t sure exactly what. I envisioned the business as a healthy eating and lifestyle support company based on the principles set out in the book, and once it was up and running properly the first product we sold from our website was an online weight-loss course with lectures by Prof Noakes and Sally-Ann Creed and cooking lessons from me. It had hundreds of recipes, a shopping list generator and most importantly a meal tracker that clients could use to track their carbs.
Since then, the website has seen a huge amount of traffic and the business has progressed quite radically. Today, we specialise in teaching people to adapt to a low-carb diet. We’ve had close on four million hits since 2015, with an enormous amount of customer feedback to help us refine the Real Meal Revolution approach. The new book is very much a result of this ongoing process.

This is in fact the third Real Meal Revolution book. The first was the original red science-cum-diet-cum-recipe book that has become so recognisable to South African bookstore goers. The second was Real Meal Revolution: Raising Superheroes, on children’s nutrition and also with full-colour recipes. How is the new book different from the others?
This a smaller-format black-and-white book and it’s completely “how-to”-focused – a handbook to help you to Bant as effectively as possible. Basically we’ve taken three years of Banting feedback from thousands of our readers and customers and refined the Real Meal Revolution diet to its most practical, workable form.
There are important staple recipes in the back of the book but this isn’t an inspirational cookbook like the first two books. Rather, I would say it provides the new framework for our next 20 cookbooks.

So is this book a “better version” of the original Real Meal Revolution or something different? If I’ve bought that book already, why should I buy this one?
I must be clear on this: the first Real Meal book remains, in my opinion, an incredible and almost authoritative introduction to LCHF (low-carb high-fat) eating. If you’re new to the concept of Banting, you pretty much have to buy that book because it gives you all the basic LCHF recipes that you can’t do without, from cauli-rice to courgetinni and all the rest. You also get the detailed science to get your head around making the switch from low-fat to low-carb eating. But the actual dietary advice was quite general and now seems relatively rudimentary.
Real Meal Revolution: Banting 2.0 assumes a level of understanding of LCHF eating and it only touches on the science so that it can focus on nailing the how-to aspect – which is the diet and the lifestyle. The approach is more nuanced and sophisticated yet far easier to follow.
So if you really need an LCHF diet that works because you need to shed kilos or you have specific health concerns, or if you’ve tried Banting and fallen off the wagon, then this is the book for you.
In short, Banting 2.0 is a framework that the Real Meal Revolution company now uses to usher people who want to lose weight and rejuvenate their health into a low-carb healthy-eating lifestyle. It could be seen as our company manifesto.

Can you give some examples of how the “new” Banting 2.0 differs from the original Banting as described in the red book?
Sure. For one, we found that many readers of the original book ended up simply cooking from the book and winging the diet – perhaps there was too much science or we weren’t clear enough. So we’ve tried to be as straightforward and methodical as possible in Banting 2.0. The approach has four phases, with a clear way to calculate how long you should be in each stage, depending on your needs. There’s a starting point and a defined goal, and a large resource of tools to move you forward.
Importantly, we’ve recognised the importance of lifestyle when it comes to health and weight loss. You can’t expect to be optimally healthy if you’re not sleeping well or you’re chronically stressed out. Diet, sleep, exercise and stress management are all linked. Similarly, goal-setting and your mental approach is also critical, so we’ve incorporated these elements as well.
From a technical point of view, we now know how best to Bant to avoid many of the side effects that are common for those who might have gone cold turkey before. In particular, we’ve seen the enormous benefit of restoring gut health to assist with this and to push you through the dreaded plateau. The science on gut health has taken enormous strides in the three short years since the original Real Meal was published and has come to be seen as a fundamental aspect of human health. We follow all the top LCHF and other dietary resources around the world on a daily basis, so we’ve been sure to incorporate all the newest science into our diet. This is probably most noticeable in our new refined lists, which I’m perhaps most proud of. The book is in black and white, but there is a full-colour pull-out of the lists for your fridge – up to date and easy to follow.

The book is written by you “and the Real Meal Revolution team”, without any of the authors from the original book. How are you qualified to write the book?
Great question. The first point to acknowledge is that this was an enormous team effort and I hope that is made prominent enough in the book. The most important thing to remember is that Banting 2.0 is for the most part a summary of all of the feedback we have received from our customers. We had collated it simply for our own team, but the info in it was so valuable that we realised we needed to publish it. We then called in the medical and dietary experts to ensure the science and advice was accurate and properly conveyed.
So the “Real Meal Revolution team” mentioned on the cover of the book includes an LCHF medical expert, a dietitian who has trained and worked in the UK, Australia and South Africa, and numerous members of the company who work with active Banters on a daily basis, have collated the data from thousands of clients and know what works in the real world.
From my personal point of view, I have achieved a world first in endurance swimming and I am a chef with experience in catering at events for thousands of people. I hope that means I’m qualified to offer advice on setting goals, practical eating and writing shopping lists! Beyond that, I’ve been in what is essentially a brand-new health field since the very beginning, and I’ve seen the confusion and problems that it can cause at a user level. But I’m essentially just a name for the company as a whole.

Some people might ask, “Where’s Tim Noakes?” Have you “appropriated” his revolution?
Haha. No, I don’t think I’ve appropriated the revolution at all. Prof certainly gained all the headlines before the original book was even an idea in my head – which is why I approached him in the first place with the plan to make that book – and he drove the publicity of it after publication with amazing stamina and enthusiasm. I think it’s fair to say that without Tim Noakes, the Real Meal Revolution would have sold a fraction of what it did. But I was always intent on owning and developing the Real Meal Revolution brand.

Professor Noakes and “the Real Meal Revolution” are seen to be linked by many in the Banting community. What’s your relationship now and why wasn’t he a part of the new book?
I had the honour of working with Prof on the first two Real Meal Revolution books and on a weekly basis with the business for two years. We’re still in touch but our two organisations parted ways in the middle of 2016, which was understandable given our different priorities and platforms. I would say we both have the same end goal – to change the way South Africa and the world eats – but we were pulling in different directions, and both entities were struggling to achieve what they wanted to within the constraints of a contract we had drafted more than two years before at a stage when we didn’t even know what we wanted to do.
Along the way, the two other original authors have also gone their separate ways. I don’t think LCHF eating is a brand or business priority for David Grier, while Sally-Ann Creed has pursued it in the way that works for her.
I think the Real Meal Revolution brand and Prof will always be linked in people’s heads –as may be expected, given the incredible impact of the original book – but The Noakes Foundation will come to be recognised for its outstanding scientific research while I hope the Real Meal Revolution company will be recognised as the go-to for recipes and lifestyle advice in response to that science (and the science of all the other experts).
Though it was based on a lot of the work we did together, the new book was the company’s first project without Tim. You will notice it is much more consumer-focused and is very light on the science. For the most part, we have referred readers to the experts in the LCHF community, should they wish to find out more.
Readers who need practical advice in changing their lives will benefit from this book in a big way. That was always my personal strength and it’s the company’s strength so we’re now fully focused on it.

This is the third Real Meal Revolution book. How did the writing and production process differ from the others?
Great question.
The original was one massive adrenalin rush. We wrote it in about a month and sent it to print 63 days after starting. Design, photography, writing, editing and the rest was insanely rushed, hugely energised and super fun.
With the second book, Raising Superheroes, we actually published it ourselves, which made sense at the time as it allowed us to retain copyright of all the material involved, among other things. We had the luxury of production values that were off the charts, thanks to the success of the first book, and it was ultimately a lesson in publishing. In the world of publishing, authors often talk about how publishers are a nightmare, while publishers often talk about authors being the nightmare. I found it hugely valuable to see it from both sides. I have the utmost respect for publishers as a result of my experience with Raising Superheroes. It’s an incredible book, it sold over 25,000 copies, which is amazing, and I am extremely proud of it – and I know Prof Noakes is too. But it occupied a lot of our time and energy!
With Banting 2.0, I opted not to publish through Real Meal Revolution. It was easier to hand it over and Burnet Media, who had assisted on Raising Superheroes, did a cracking job. Most importantly, the book does what I wanted it to do: it offers the right advice in the right way. With Banting 2.0, the toughest part of the production was getting the lists to match the right phases, and to offer an approach that was accessible to the different Banting levels. It was something that went back and forth until the minute before the book went to print – and even afterwards! The publishing process allowed us to focus three years of work, research and data gathering into one, unified document.

What do you hope to achieve with Real Meal Revolution: Banting 2.0?
My hope is that the methodology in this book will accelerate the growth of LCHF and Banting as a movement. We have approximately 350 certified Banting coaches around the country and world (and counting) and they’ve taken to the book with great enthusiasm, while individual sales are going well. We’re on to our second print run, and we’ve signed a deal to publish the book internationally through Little, Brown in the UK.
Because the steps are so clear in this book, it makes Banting easier to adopt, thus making it easier to spread. We’re using it to drive the business forward and in time I would like the Real Meal Revolution to affect millions of people around the world.

And where to from here for Real Meal Revolution the company?
The world! We have set a goal to change 100 million lives by 28 February 2025. There aren’t even 100 million South Africans. I see this going global and I don’t want to stop until we reach our target.

• For cover image, author image or more information on the book, contact
• For more information on the Real Meal Revolution company, contact or see

Note to editors: this Q&A is free for use, provided it is accompanied by the information below and that any edits are approved – send to
• Real Meal Revolution: Banting 2.0 is available in all good bookstores and online. Recommended retail price is R190.

In memory of Aubrey Krüger, ocean tamer

Aubrey Krüger, the draughtsman who helped bring into existence one of the great South African inventions, the dolos, died recently in East London. This entry on him (and Eric Merrifield, who was initially given all the credit) is an extract from 50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans.

Eric Merrifield & Aubrey Krüger

Eric Merrifield: 1914 ­– 1 December 1982

Aubrey Krüger: 1935 – July 2016

Harbour engineers; inventors; ocean tamers

Sometimes in life the simple route is best. Take the mousetrap, for example. In 1894 William C Hooker, of Abingdon, Illinois, patented the first-ever spring-loaded snap-trap. It is a “spring-actuated jaw” attached to a wooden board, with a hinged trigger on one side and a locking bar on the other. Bait is placed on the trigger, the jaw is primed, and when your resident mouse comes tiptoeing along for a nibble the locking bar disengages and the jaw slams shut. Bye-bye, mousy. This simple device is so effective at what it does that in more than a century since its invention no-one has come up with a better, more efficient, more cost-effective way of catching mice. Not for nothing the phrase, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”

In the 1960s, South Africa came up with an invention that is not only simpler than the mousetrap, but one that has a far mightier role to play around the world. It is the dolos, a giant, oddly shaped concrete construction with no moving parts whatsoever, and its job is to tame oceans. Plonk several hundred, or even several thousand, of them in a row along a harbour breakwater or a shoreline and they offer immense protection against the relentless erosive power of the sea.

The dolos takes its name from the Afrikaans term for an ox’s knucklebone because of their similarity in shape, often described as “an H with one leg turned through 90 degrees”. It is slightly more refined than that – there’s a bit of a taper in the design and there are usually eight angled surfaces, not four – but that’s pretty much it. The key to success is the way they interact with each other when packed together. Unlike rectangular breakwater blocks that aquaplane and move about in heavy running seas, dolosse scatter the energy of the waves and actually lock closer together over time. Even though they can weigh up to thirty tons, they are also easier to handle than rectangular blocks.

About the only thing complicated about the dolos is working out who invented it. For a long time the East London harbour engineer Eric Merrifield was given all the credit. Dolosse were originally known as Merrifield Blocks and he received the international Shell Design Award, among other prizes, for his efforts. But after Merrifield’s death, the unheralded Aubrey Krüger, a junior draughtsman, claimed to have come up with the prototype of the dolos, using several sections of broomstick and some string. Merrifield, so this version of the story goes, was simply the man in charge who had dished out the instructions for a new concrete structure to be designed, and then managed the invention into being. Either way, they both worked for the South African Railway & Harbour Services at the time and, since it was invented on company time, the dolos was considered its property. And it was never patented. Given that there are – from Tristan da Cunha to Hong Kong harbour and throughout more than a hundred countries in between – millions and millions of the things holding back the ocean all around the world, that was probably not the soundest financial decision ever made.

So, to Merrifield and Krüger and whoever else was involved in the creation of the dolos go great kudos and acknowledgment – but no financial fortune. Between them, they built a better ocean-restraining structure, but the world did not beat a path to their doors.


50 Brilliants cover _mini
Book details:

50 Flippen Brilliant South Africans by Alexander Parker & Tim Richman

Book homepage

EAN: 9780987043719

Buy the book here

Oscar and OJ should start a club

Due to recent events we felt it was necessary to make this excerpt from our new book Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? The Zuma Years available for everyone to read.

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? The Zuma Years, the newest book in the Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? series, hit stores in the beginning of June as a part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru promotion. It is an entertaining read that discusses the everyday struggles in South Africans from AA to JZ and everything in between.

The Oscar Pistorius trial

Jesus wept.

For so many reasons.

Let me start by using this entry as a public service announcement to the rest of the world: contrary to some reports, Oscar Pistorius is not what all South African white guys are like. First, most of us can’t run 400 metres in 45 seconds. Second, most of us don’t shoot our girlfriends dead. Third, most of us have two legs.

That last point is an important one because, given the facts of the case, Oscar Pistorius did not have two… You know.

What I’m saying is that’s just one crazy man with a gun and the only reason it all got so hysterical and out of control and unbelievable – I mean, it was actually unbelievable – was because of the way the world saw him, both before and after he shot dead Reeva Steenkamp. Cut through the smoke, mirrors, press and PR and you’ve just got a nasty piece of work with a temper.

Listen, we’re used to being embarrassed by public figures: every apartheid leader there was; Mbeki, with his radical views on AIDs; Zuma, full stop; Heyneke Meyer singing the national anthem. Oscar, however, churned up some of the most cringe-worthy moments in living memory. Here they are in no particular order:

1) He was found not guilty of murder. Mind-boggling. The verdict was eventually overturned on appeal, yes, but only a judge could have talked herself into that one.

2) The dedicated Oscar Trial TV channel. There are near on 18,000 murders in South Africa every year but a famous killer gets his own TV show.

3) The media meltdown. Seasoned, educated and credible journalists reduced to headless Twitterbots sitting in the courtroom day after day reporting every banal word to the social media vultures. Ooh, want to know what they said at the trial today? Please, God, no.

4) The shoot-up in the restaurant. “Why,” the world asked, “did he fire a gun in a restaurant?” And all we as South Africans could do was shrug and say, “Joburg”.

5) The Pistorians. The who? The crazy, deluded, fame-hungry fans of Oscar Pistorius who dedicated their time to trying to defend the gun-touting hooligan’s actions both outside the court and all over social media. These are the kind of people who marry serial killers on death row. Or become serial killers on death row. They’ve now taken to wearing all white for some reason that nobody cares about.

6) The utter shit-show of the police investigation. Never mind the contamination of evidence; never mind the forensic incompetence that we’ve come to expect in every murder trial ever prosecuted in South Africa; at this particular crime scene the police stole two of Pistorius’s wristwatches. The fucking police stole his watches. And what’s worse, the presiding officer, having noticed the case of designer watches sitting so temptingly in the corner, specifically warned his underlings not to do it. And still they did it. And then it was reported to the entire world.

Watching the Oscar Pistorius trial unfold was like watching your child pull down his pants and take a dump in the middle of the aisle at your friend’s wedding: there was nothing you could do to stop it so you sat back and watched in utter horror just praying that somehow the rest of the world wouldn’t notice.

Sorry, world.


Want more Kak?


Book details:

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? The Zuma Years by Tim Richman

Book homepage

EAN: 9781928230335

Buy the book here

Buy the eBook here

South African author, Lidudumalingani, wins prestigious Caine Prize writing award

LIDUDUMALINGANI - picBurnet Media is proud to announce that Lidudumalingani has won the 17th Caine Prize for African Writing for his story “Memories We Lost”, which first appeared in the Short.Sharp.Stories anthology Incredible Journey in 2015.

The Chair of Judges, Delia Jarrett-Macauley, announced Lidudumalingani as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held on Monday, 4 July at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

“The winning story explores a difficult subject: how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia,” she said. “This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists.”

Born in the village of Zikhovane in the Eastern Cape, Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. “Memories We Lost” is his second story to appear in a Short.Sharp.Stories anthology; “The Streetwalkers” was published in Adults Only in 2014.

The Caine Prize is Africa’s premier short-story-writing competition, with entrants drawn from African writers all around the world. As with previous winners, Lidudumalingani will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. He will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress and take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

The Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies were launched in 2013, in conjunction with the National Arts Festival, to foster creative writing in South Africa, providing for both new and established voices. The first collection was Bloody Satisfied, followed by Adults Only in 2014 and Incredible Journey in 2015.

Publisher Tim Richman of Burnet Media said, “The Caine Prize is wonderful recognition for a young South African talent, and also for the work of Joanne Hichens who curates the Short.Sharp.Stories awards and has edited all the anthologies to date. Deserved congratulations to both Lidudumalingani and Joanne, and to our other shortlisted writer Bongani Kona, as well as to all the writers published in the Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies.”

Coincidentally, the fourth Short.Sharp.Stories anthology, Die Laughing, published by Tattoo Press in conjunction with the National Arts Festival and Burnet Media, will be launched at the National Arts Festival on 6 July 2016.

For more information on this year’s Caine Prize, click here.

For more information on the Short.Sharp.Stories awards, click here.

All enquiries:


incredible journey cover copy Book details:

Incredible Journey: Stories that move you edited by Joanne Hichens
Book homepage
EAN: 9781928230182
Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Launching Under Devil’s Peak

Author with wife, Maureen_mini

Author Gavin Cooper with wife Maureen

Under Devil’s Peak by Gavin Cooper was released in late May 2016. It tells the story of the life and times of Advocate Wilfrid Cooper, a prominent legal name in South Africa in 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

The release was timed for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Hendrik Verwoerd in September 1966.  The assassin, Dmitri Tsafendas, was defended by Wilfrid Cooper, who saved him from the gallows. Wilfrid’s other high profile cases included those of Scissors Murderess Marlene Lehnberg, Steve Biko, Imam Haron and other political detainees who died in detention.

So far there have been two successful launches of the book in Cape Town. The first was held at Clarke’s Books in Long Street, with a full house of interested guests listening to Gavin, the author, talk about the process of turning his father’s life into an accessible and interesting popular history. This event was also the first time that Gavin Cooper, editor Russell Martin and publisher Tim Richman were together in the same room.

The second launch was held at Kalk Bay Books in Kalk Bay, with another full house, and this time Nancy Richards, the much-loved voice of books on SAfm Literature, interviewed Gavin. Another wonderful event.

Thanks to everyone involved!

Author & Nancy-mini

Nancy Richards interviewing Gavin Cooper at Kalk Bay Books

Book signing detail-mini

Gavin Cooper signing books

Editor, author, publisher - Russell Martin, Gavin Cooper, Tim Richman_mini

Editor Russell Martin, author Gavin Cooper and publisher Tim Richman

Clarke's bookshop-mini

Clarke’s Books storefront in Long Street with Under Devil’s Peak on display


Book details: Under Devil’s Peak: The life and times of Wilfrid Cooper, an advocate in the age of apartheid by Gavin Cooper

Book homepage

EAN: 9781928230366

Buy the book here!