Below you’ll find a selection of fascinating titles, new today from Penguin Random House South Africa!
Additionally, don’t forget to check out our restocks of some top sellers and favorites from this publisher.
Chants of Freedom
Mathews Phosa developed his love for poetry as a young boy growing up in rural Mpumalanga and Limpopo. While he has published a collection of poems in Afrikaans, Chants of Freedom is his first English poetry anthology. Mostly written while in exile as the commander of an MK unit in Maputo, Mozambique, Phosa’s poems vividly recreate the feelings of anger, defiance, frustration, shame, pain and ultimately hope that characterised the exiles’ experience of the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Writing in a lyrical style, Phosa addresses such themes as oppression, violence, death and hatred, and recalls the atrocities and tragedies of the migrant-labour system, the murders of innocent children, the detentions without trial, the bannings and the state-sanctioned executions that characterised the apartheid era. Chants of Freedom provides raw, powerful and unprecedented insight into the consciousness of a freedom fighter.
Buy it here $14.50
The Battle of Savate
On 21 May 1980, under the codename Operation Tiro-Tiro, 32 Battalion attacked and routed a FAPLA brigade at Savate, a small Angolan town 75 kilometres north of the border with South West Africa. Fifteen members of 32 Battalion were killed in the action and many more wounded. It was the highest South African casualty rate in a single skirmish since the start of the Border War. Overall, however, Savate was a significant victory for 32 Battalion. FAPLA suffered heavy casualties and the invaders captured a great many vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other equipment. Operation Tiro-Tiro, or the Battle of Savate as it became known, was the first time the SADF had engaged FAPLA in battle since 1975. And, despite the record number of casualties, it was 32 Battalion’s biggest victory since its formation in March 1976. While the Border War came to an end in 1989 and 32 Battalion was disbanded in March 1993, to this day a remembrance service and parade is held annually on the Sunday closest to 21 May to commemorate the Battle of Savate and to remember 32 Battalion’s victory and the price they paid.Drawing from official documents in the Department of Defence Documentation Centre that have only recently been declassified and from testimonies of soldiers on both sides, The Battle of Savate is the definitive account of one of the greatest battles of the Border War, describing in detail the operation, its motivation and planning, its achievements and failures, and vividly recreating the experience of what happened on the ground.
Buy it here $21.00
The Unknown Van Gogh
The Unknown Van Gogh tells the story of Cornelis van Gogh, youngest brother of Vincent and Theo van Gogh. Using new insights based on original research, the book traces the circumstances of Cornelius’s short life, from his pleasant childhood in the Netherlands, to his work in the gold-mining industry in the Transvaal Republic following his move to South Africa in 1889. The particulars of Cor’s strained relationship with his famous brother are given, and his participation on the Boer side in the Anglo-Boer War is mapped out in greater detail, including his tragic demise in a hospital in Brandfort – one that holds a troubling resemblance to Vincent’s own tragic end. Chris Schoeman’s biography of the lesser-known Van Gogh brother reveals a side of art history never before explored with such scrutiny, recreating the last decade of nineteenth-century South Africa, and providing fresh analysis on a family that continues to intrigue both historians and the general public.
Buy it here $21.00
Operation Lock and the War on Rhino Poaching
Operation Lock was born in 1987 when Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the Founder President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), met with British biologist and conservationist Dr John Hanks, the WWF’s head in Africa, to discuss what could be done to stop the aggressive illegal trade in rhino horn, which was threatening to make rhinos extinct as a species. They agreed that the rhino horn trade should be countered with equal aggression. Hanks began discussions with Sir David Stirling, the founder of the British SAS, who now ran a private security company, KAS Enterprises, staffed by former SAS operatives. This company provided the personnel for what would become known as Operation Lock, and Prince Bernhard provided the money. Operation Lock set up its headquarters in Johannesburg, and extended its reach into neighbouring states: Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. Its operatives planned to train game rangers, to go undercover and sell rhino horn themselves in order to entrap buyers, and even to kill the kingpins who were driving the trade. It was always going to be controversial, and even more so because it was working in and with apartheid South Africa in the late 1980s. When news was finally leaked, the WWF denied any involvement, and John Hanks took the fall. In Operation Lock and the War on Rhino Poaching, John Hanks finally tells the story of these explosive events from 25 years ago. Hanks has the inside knowledge, and all the documents, to reveal what really happened. The book also deals with the scourge of rhino poaching in more recent years, and it gives powerful and controversial criticism of some of the current policies to curb poaching.
Buy it here $21.00
Grasses & Grazers of Botswana
An accessible reference to the grasses and grazers of this region, Veronica Roodt’s book details the fascinating ways in which these plants and animals have evolved together. The book addresses:
• the role of grasses in the food chain
• grass anatomy and growth
• 98 grass species (includes sketches and photographs of each species) that are preferred livestock and wild game fodder and that serve as indicators of veld condition
• how grazers have evolved to survive on grasses, both physically and in terms of their behaviour
• significant grazers that occur in the region and that play a vital role in shaping the savanna biome, and
• effective grassland management practices.
Nature lovers, farmers, students and tourists who seek an in-depth look at the interactions between grasses and the grazers that depend on them for life need look no further than this invaluable guide.
Buy it here $27.00
Wild Flowers of Namaqualand
Namaqualand is justifiably famous for the floral wonderland it becomes in spring, when seas of orange, yellow and white flowers carpet the land. In this region one finds not only carpets of annuals, but also a wide variety of geophytes (bulbs), dwarf shrubs and succulents – some 3,800 species, of which 28% are endemic.
This book introduces nearly 600 species, highlighting those most commonly found, most conspicuous, spectacular or interesting, as well as endemics. An introduction touches on the species selection for the book, the climatic and topographical subregions within Namaqualand, plant names and uses and conservation issues.
The concise species descriptions also give seed and fruit details, uses, local growing conditions and flowering times, and are accompanied by beautiful full-color photographs. An illustrated glossary and comprehensive index round off the book.
This is a must-have guide for visitors to Namaqualand, or for anyone interested in the wild flowers of southern Africa.
Buy it here $32.00
A Guide to the Dragonflies & Damselflies of South Africa
This field guide to all the dragonflies and damselflies of South Africa – a total of 162 species – addresses a growing area of interest and fills the gap left by two previous books on the topic, now both out of print. A detailed introduction covers behavior, life cycles, biology and breeding; and the species entries focus on identification and distribution, with all species photographed from scans of actual insects, beautifully presented in full color. Comprehensive and fully up to date, this extraordinary study of dragonflies and damselflies of the region will be snapped up by anyone with an interest in the insect life of the region.
Buy it here $25.00
Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, second only to water. It can be drunk hot or cold, and can be made from the traditional tea plant or any number of herbs and spices, many of which have remarkable healing properties. In this beautifully designed book, herb expert Margaret Roberts explains how to make a perfect, delicious cup of tea that is also healing and refreshing. The teas are presented in alphabetical order according to their principal ingredient, the therapeutic values of which are explained. This charming, informative book is perfect for anyone interested in health, wellness, and using natural remedies to enhance their well-being.
Buy it here $17.50
Tippi: My Book of Africa
Tippi is no ordinary child. She believes that she has the gift of talking to animals and that they are like brothers to her. ‘I speak to them with my mind, or through my eyes, my heart or my soul, and I see that they understand and answer me.’ Tippi is the daughter of French filmmakers and wildlife photographers, Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert, who have captured her on film with some of Africa’s most beautiful and dangerous animals. Tippi shares her thoughts and wisdom on Africa, its people and the animals she has come to know and love. Often her wisdom is beyond her years, and her innocence and obvious rapport with the animals is both fascinating and charming.
Buy it here $25.00
This edition is designed to provide an even more user-friendly manual, with larger text and bigger, clearer images.
Buy it here $32.00
Almost Sleeping my Way to Timbuktu
The plans for his trip were lean on practical detail, but grand in concept: Visit five World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO for their historical and cultural significance. Having never set foot in Sénégal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin or Togo, Sihle planned to inform himself about Francophone Africa as he went along. Had he pondered the implications of not speaking French in a part of the world where it is the lingua franca, or what the public transport might be like there, he might have set off less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But Sihle is not one to be deterred by setbacks and dead-ends. His flexibility, irrepressible optimism and robust sense of humor, coupled with an unexpected sensitivity towards his host countries, see him reach all his goals – or almost.
Buy it here $18.00
Africa’s Big Five
Of all Africa’s wildlife, none has captured the imagination more than those species that have come over the years to be known as the big five. Whether the biggest, the most beautiful, the fiercest or most formidable, these animals are the ones that have the power to remind us of our insignificance in the face of the true kings of the savannas. This is a truly magnificent record of Africa’s Big Five.
Buy it here $37.00
The Poacher’s Moon
When wildlife conservationist Richard Peirce learnt about the targeting of three private game reserves in South Africa’s Western Cape in 2011 and the butchery of some of their rhinos, he embarked on a crusade to raise public awareness about the horrors of rhino poaching. This is the story of Higgins and Lady, two rhinos from the farm Fairy Glen that defied the odds by surviving a brutal attack. Peirce keeps the reader spellbound as he recounts the series of attacks and their aftermath in chilling detail: the unbearable savagery, suspect police work, shady characters, mysterious happenings and death threats. Reading like a crime thriller, this account of dogged survival, compassion and triumph – along with desperate strategizing to outwit the poaching mafia – will have wide appeal. Color images throughout, taken as the drama unfolded, bring the subject even more vividly to life.
Buy it here $14.00