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Archive for the ‘Feature’ Category

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.

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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.

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In memory of Richie Benaud

b. 6 October 1930 – 10 April 2015

Australian cricket captain (1958-1964); globally acclaimed commentator; reason for the South African cricket team’s “choker” tag.


This is an updated extract from 50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa by Alexander Parker, with illustrations by Zapiro

50 People Who Stuffed Up South Africa (Revised Edition) low res

Let’s be straight up about this: Richie Benaud was an absolute legend. Never has an internationally respected authority on cricket combined such a gentlemanly and unassuming knowledge of the game with such a sartorially smashing collection of off-white sports jackets. Whether beige, cream, ivory, light tan, vanilla, bone, bamboo, sand, camel or cashew, Richie wore those jackets like a king, and in doing so he became one of the most loved and lovable names in all of sport. And an Aussie at that.

But the man right royally screwed us over. And by “us” I mean every cricket-loving South African who’s ever yearned for the sweet taste of World Cup victory.

Casual observers of the recent history of South Africa will often point to that fateful World Cup semifinal in Birmingham in 1999, when Lance Klusener took us to the brink of a sensational victory over Australia before it was tragically snatched from under our noses by a needless run-out, as the moment when we assumed the mantle of crunch-match chokers. The game ended in a tie, with the Australians progressing to the final on a superior run rate, and it’s no understatement to suggest that the psychological damage inflicted on South African fans that day cast a pall of gloom over the country for months, possibly years, to follow. Even today, the memory still raises a tremble of moisture in the eye. (And spare a thought for Klusener, one of the true legends of South African one-day cricket and a genuinely nice guy. In 2011 he admitted that he still thinks about the incident regularly. “I’ve asked the questions a thousand times, if not a million. Why did we run? Why didn’t I wait for the next ball,” he said. “It’s become a part of me and who I am. I’ll be asked about it for the rest of my life and I’ll always have to say
I’m sorry.”)

But our failure in key knockout matches goes back further than the Birmingham tie – to 22 March 1992 to be precise. The venue was the Sydney Cricket Ground and the match was another World Cup semifinal, this time against England. Back then, we were the new kids on the World Cup block, having recently returned to the international fold after years in the sporting wilderness, and no-one fancied our chances going in to the tournament. But we’d played out of our boots and somehow made our way to the semis on the back of a tight bowling attack, Peter Kirsten’s artful bat and Jonty Rhodes’s inspirational fielding.

The game was a cracker, hanging in the balance from start to finish. Donald got Gooch early, and Pringle bowled well, but the Zimbabwe-born Graeme Hick hit a fluid 83 before a late flurry from Reeve got England to 252 in 45 overs. South Africa hadn’t bowled the full 50 overs by the designated end-of-innings time, so the tournament rules – and here’s where Richie started getting involved, because he’s the man credited with devising them – necessitated that the five overs not bowled be simply lobbed off both the English and South African innings. An odd rule, many would have concluded at the time, but not as odd – or cruel – as that which governed the target re-calculation after a rain delay…

South Africa started the chase at a good clip, with Hudson hitting 46 off 52, but we lost wickets regularly and were struggling to keep up with the required rate by the middle overs. Rhodes then got the chase back on track with a typically live-wire 43, before he, too, lost his wicket, and it was left to stalwarts Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson to take us through the last critical overs. Then, with 22 required for victory off 13 balls and McMillan on strike, it started to rain. Not too heavily, mind you, just enough to get the players off the field. For 12 minutes. Twelve fateful minutes.

Once again, Richie’s rules kicked in, and when play resumed South African fans were aghast to see that our allotment of overs had been reduced by one while our target remained steadfast: 22 required off 7 balls, read the SCG scoreboard. Suddenly, a tricky situation had transmogrified into a Herculean task – a near-miracle was required, all because of a ridiculous formula that saw the runs scored in the least expensive over of the English innings, in this case a Pringle maiden, being deducted from the target. Meanwhile, the weather was now fine and the floodlights were blazing – there was all night to finish the game. But the farce was not yet complete: somewhere in the ground the minute hand on the relevant timepiece ticked over once more and it was deemed that yet another over had been lost, this time in conjunction with one run from the target: suddenly 21 runs were required off just 1 ball*. Now not even a miracle would suffice. A stone-faced McMillan prodded the last ball of the match away for a single, and we’d lost by 19 runs. A potentially brilliant climax had been reduced to absurdity; South Africa’s unlikely World Cup dream was over.

“Twelve minutes of rain was all it took to wreck a classic contest and produce the sort of farce that so often crops up when cricket’s regulations get themselves in a tangle,” wrote Cricinfo’s UK editor Andrew Miller, when reviewing the match some years after the fact. But those 12 minutes didn’t just wreck a classic match. In the years and competitions to come, it seemed that those 12 minutes had instilled in South African cricket the notion that, come the critical moment in a high-profile knockout match, the fates would conspire against us. First it was the bizarre rain ruling in Sydney; then it was one-man-team Brian Lara destroying us in the 1996 quarterfinal in Karachi (again by 19 runs); then that tragic run-out in Birmingham in 1999; then another debacle in the rain in 2003, this time against Sri Lanka in Durban, when poor Shaun Pollock and Eric Simons couldn’t get their maths right… By the time the 2007 World Cup rolled around, the team, now ingrained with angst-filled bewonderment at our inability to pull off the big victory that our world rankings suggested was our due, tried to just relax and not get expectations up – a strategy that saw us limp into the semifinals, only to be rolled over by Australia like the blind school’s 5th XI. Needless to say, the curse struck again in 2011: we were bundled out in the quarters by a very mediocre New Zealand – a team we’d beaten eight times in the previous ten encounters – having, at one stage, been cantering to victory.

And then, 2015. Back down under. And history repeating itself as the fated rain once again fell on South Africa in a World Cup semifinal… And though the rain rules had been updated by Messrs Duckworth and Lewis as a direct result of that 1992 debacle in Sydney, the new rules hadn’t kept up with the changing pace of limited-overs cricket (and may well be changed in the near future as a result). New Zealand were given the sniff they should never have had, and the legacy of 1992 decreed a nail-biting victory to the team that wasn’t South Africa. For those of us with “South Africa To Win Need 22 Runs Off 1 Ball” still seared into their memories 23 years later, we knew it was inevitable from the moment that first drop fell – though that didn’t stop us hoping till the very last ball…

After more than a decade as one of the top-ranked limited-overs sides in the world, what do we have to show for our endeavours? Well, we did win the inaugural ICC Champions Trophy in 1998 in Bangladesh… and that’s it. We haven’t won a World Cup, whether ODI or T20. We haven’t made it into a World Cup final. Amazingly, we have won only one knockout match at a World Cup: our 2015 quarterfinal against Sri Linka. (Which is something, at least.)

How is this possible? Why does it happen? No-one can say. But we’ve got to blame someone, and in the absence of any other contenders, it has to be Richie.

Richie Benaud – a champion himself, and the most marvellous of the modern commentators – passed away in April 2015. Go well, Richie, and may your ghost look more kindly on us at the next World Cup in 2019…

* The TV display and scoreboard incorrectly indicated 22 runs required.

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Burnet Media authors have a jol in Jozi

Bitter Pill Divine JusticeThis article first appeared in the Cape Times on the 27th of February.

Jozi sprawls. it never ends, or that’s the way it seems, driving along heavily trafficked highways and byways.

On the Great Northern Book Tour, recently embarked on by fellow Capetonian author Peter Church and myself, my navigatorial skills left much to be desired. When one takes a wrong turn in Jozi, there’s no mountain to set you straight.

Since Jozi is also dangerous, my job then was to keep an eye out for hijackers who might sneak up on us while Peter regularly pulled off the road to stare at the BlackBerry GPS.

Making sense of how to get through Morningside, Hyde Park, Rosebank, Killarney, Cresta, the equivalent of the established suburbs of Cape Town, Peter Church was all action. ‘Let’s do it. Places to go, people to see.’ The aim of the book tour was not only to do a launch at a book venue called Skoobs – that’s books
spelled backwards – but to visit ten stores in one day, to chat to book store stalwarts and to sign our crime-thriller fiction titles.

Not having visited Joburg in years, I was fully prepared to slag off the city as a Gomorrah. But the closest we came to danger was when I disappeared into a shoe store at the Hyde Park Mall and Peter Church came after me. With that glint in his eye, the schedule clutched in his hand like a cocked gun. ‘We’re not gonna get it right if you keep on wandering into shops!’ What woman isn’t difficult to manage when the sales are on, I ask? We were back to rushing along the tiled passages past great deals to get to the next Exclusives, or Estoril, or Independent.

During insightful moments in those book stores, connecting with sellers ‘in the field’, we commiserated about the decline of fiction sales and the downer that Exclusive Books is coming up for a third round of retrenchments. We experienced exhilaration – all our copies sold! And despair – but not reordered.

It’s still an issue to me that book stores don’t do themselves more favours, that they aren’t more proactive. Where are the notice boards pinned with reviews? Where are the shelves stacked with recommended reads? The precious signed copies on display? Do publishers and books store managers liaise at all, I wondered? It’s all too hit and miss. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough vision, or effort to entice readers, especially to try SA fare.

But whether staff had been on payroll for two days or twenty-five years, they agreed books – the hard copy kind – will survive. Kindle is convenient, but a book is tactile, reassuring to hold. And whichever way one reads, people need stories.

Driving towards Montecasino where Skoobs is situated, with Peter worshipping the GPS, I got my own back. ‘I assure you, Jo,’ he insisted, ‘Montecasino is just off Malibongwe Drive. All we need to do is keep going.’ Half an hour later, with my female instinct insisting we’d end up in Bloemfontein before too long, I risked winding down my window and asked directions. Peter smiled sheepishly, manoeuvred across lanes, adjusting our course.

The most unlikey place for a book store has to be smack in the middle of a casino. I felt a touch disoriented as I always do when leaving the light for the dark. I imagined a sort of SA Oceans Eleven going down in our home-grown den of iniquity. Then reckoned if crime writers are to hang out in any book store, this would be the one.

Skoobs, triple volume Temple to the Book, is worth a visit. With leather sofas to kick back in, hammocks to stretch out in for comfort, with a man-sized fish tank on the ground floor, a champagne bar on the top level, it’s opulent, the veritable Theatre of Books it claims to be.

So as Prez Zuma danced the State of the Nation shuffle, we remembered the underbelly. We demand constantly that government take seriously our right to safety, a promise of our constitution! As every moment we protect ourselves from crime, then crime-thriller novels – this was our message – are at the cutting edge of literature, with enough in theme and subject matter to be debated by the brightest of minds.

Touching down in Cape Town, thankful that I’d survived the jol through slick Jozi malls, I checked out the headlines of a local rag: Vrou strangled in mosque backyard; Cop closing in on perv killer; Three cape Russian mafia bosses in court. The Daily Voice, as ever, was living up to its slogan ons skrik vir niks!

Suddenly it all felt safer under the fake stars of Montecasino, security around, sipping sparkling wine and toasting to good books.

Peter Church is author of Bitter Pill and Joanne Hichens is author of Divine Justice. Listen to a podcast of Joanne chatting to Jonathan Duguid of UCT Radio.

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Book Launch: Is it Cos I’m Black? by Ndumiso Ncgobo

Ndumiso Ngcobo

Two Dogs and Exclusive Books Homebru are pleased to invite you to the Johannesburg and Durban launches of Ndumiso “Silwane” Ngcobo’s much-anticipated follow-up to the best-selling Some Of My Best Friends Are White – his hilarious new book, Is it Cos I’m Black?.

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Ndumiso Ngcobo Struggles to COPE

Subversive Thoughts From An Urban Zulu Warrior Is It Coz I’m Black?Ndumiso Ngcobo Should you? Shouldn’t you? Are you still trying to make up your mind about whether to join COPE?

Thought Leader blogger and Johannesburg writer, Ndumiso Ngcobo, is the author of Some of My Best Friends are White and Is It Coz I’m Black?. He has been pondering whether to offer his services as COPE’s resident speech writer of late. Perhaps he can guide you in the next step of your political evolution:

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Interview With Alexander Parker, Author of 25 Cars to Drive Before You Die

25 Cars to Drive Before You DieWeekend Witness motoring columnist Alexander Parker has written his first book: 25 Cars To Drive Before You Die. Estelle Sinkins dragged him away from the wheel for a few moments to find out why he decided to write it, and to get a few other motoring-related thoughts.

Have you always wanted to write a book, and were you surprised to get this gig?
I was quite surprised to get this gig. The publishers originally asked David Bullard to write it, but his packed schedule was to my advantage. David suggested they give me a call, and I pretty much bit their arm off. I’ve always wanted to write about cars in one way or another, so I was delighted, obviously.

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Attention-Seeking Faux-Lesbian Kissing and Other Things that are Still Kak

Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Still Kak?Britney and MadonnaIs It Just Me Or Is Everything Still Kak? 2Kak 2Furious is a bit grinchy, we admit.

But then again, the issues that we tackle with such courageous disregard for our own well-being – actually confronting the seemingly bottomless list of kak items head-on – demand immediate, robust action.

We’re just doing our jobs.

Even a small sampling of the kak things that pepper our daily lives ought to be enough to give you some idea of the gravity of the threat:

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Ekstrak van Tos: “A”

Is Dit Net Ek Of Is Als Tos?Is Dit Net Ek Of Is Als Tos? dit kla oor allerlei goed wat gewone Suid-Afrikaners ’n akute pyn in die agterstewe gee. Alhoewel die Afrikaanse titel losweg gebaseer is op die suksesvolle Engelse weergawe is, die onderwerpe, humor en styl doelbewus aangepas vir die Afrikaanse leser.

Meer as 150 aspekte van vandag se lewe loop kwaai deur insluitende die AWB, Blou Bul ondersteuners, call centres, Eskom, gholf op TV, lapswaaiers, Oppikoppi boneheads, Saffas, Star Wars junkies, Telkom, Joost van der Westhuizen, Vereeniging, witmense met dreadlocks en talle ander…

Lees ‘n ekstrak:

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Excerpt from Ndumiso Ngcobo’s Is it Cos I’m Black?

Is It Coz I’m Black?Ndumiso Ngcobo Is It Coz I’m Black? is the much-anticipated follow-up to the best-selling Some Of My Best Friends Are White. The urban Zulu warrior, Ndumiso Ngcobo, returns to aim his streetwise eye at a fresh range of typically South African characters and social issues, including obvious targets such as Jacob Zuma, xenophobia and Robert Mugabe, and classic Ngcobo subject matter such as his coloured cousins, black-on-black relationships and Benoni Afrikaners.

In this excerpt, Ngcobo stomps ever-so-lightly all over the delicate subject of race:


I am a mixed coloured.

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