Jacana news

Submissions closed. 

The 2017 Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award & Anthology

The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) is thrilled to announce that submissions for the seventh annual Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award and Anthology will be open from 1 to 16 July 2017! This award and anthology are made possible through ongoing support and partnership with the European Union.

Up to three poems in any of South Africa’s official languages can be submitted via the online entry form below. Entrants are encouraged to submit poems written in their mother tongue. Entries will close at 5 pm on Sunday, 16 July.

The work submitted is judged blind by a panel of four esteemed poets. As in previous years, a longlist of the best entries received will be published in volume 7 of the anthology. A shortlist of three poets is selected from the longlist, and those finalists will be invited to attend an event at the inaugural annual Nirox Foundation Word Festival in mid-October, where the winner will be announced and cash prizes awarded. The word festival will reverberate the themes around the award, and further question and express subjects exploring our troubled and uncertain times and the pursuit of ‘another way’. 

Named after Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1876–1932), the Award recognises the life and vision of this highly respected political and social activist. We always hope that it reveals the political and social attitudes of our time, and reflects the complex, nuanced and uncomfortable truths of life in South Africa, and thus, poems which reflect our current realities are warmly welcomed.

For more information, contact the Jacana Literary Foundation on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


• A shortlist of three poets will be selected by the judging panel. They will be invited to attend an awards ceremony and book launch at the Nirox Foundation Word Festival between 21 and 22 October 2017 in Johannesburg.
• Cash prizes are awarded to the shortlist: 
1st place: R6000
2nd place: R4000
3rd place: R2000
• A longlist of the best poems entered will be selected by the judging panel, and published in volume 7 of the anthology, which will be launched at the Nirox Foundation Word Festival. 


• Entries open at 8 am on Saturday, 1 July and close at 5 pm on Sunday, 16 July.
• Poems are accepted in the 11 official languages of South Africa.
• Poets may enter in more than one language.
• Entrants must be South African citizens residing in South Africa.
• Poems submitted may not have appeared in any publication, online (including blogs and social media) or in print. Only unpublished poetry is accepted.
• Intertextuality and references must be appropriately attributed.
• A maximum of three poems may be entered, although one or two poems per author is also acceptable.
• If you are entering more than one poem, please ensure that they are each saved and uploaded as separate Word documents.
• Poems must not exceed 100 lines.
• Poems must be submitted as a Word document – doc or docx files. No other file formats are accepted.
• Please ensure that the poet’s name does not appear on the Word document. The Word document should only include the title and poem.
• The file name should be the title of the poem.
• Ariel size 11 or Times New Roman size 12 fonts are preferred. No ‘fancy’ fonts, borders or images should be included on the Word document.
• Handwritten entries are not eligible.


By entering, the poet declares that the entry is their original work and neither whole nor part of their poem has been published previously. They give permission for the publication of their poem in the anthology, without payment, if longlisted. Poets agree to have their work translated into English for adjudication and publication purposes.

KPMG: Redefining the meaning of

‘conflict of interests’

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them

pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

– Winston Churchill

Before, during and after the Kebble era, Investec was loyally supported by its auditors, KPMG: ‘audit, tax, advisory,’ which also operates KPMG Services in South Africa, specialising in ‘forensic’ work.

Raymond Suttner speaks to David O’Sullivan about his newly published book Inside Apartheid's Prison.


Apartheid Guns and Money – A tale of profit

Hennie van Vuuren

Shining a light on apartheid’s corruption secrets

“van Vuuren shows that the struggle against corruption is indeed a human rights struggle and that, as we know from South Africa’s own history, it can be won. But it must be fought for.” – Jacob Dlamini, author of Askari 

“This important book seeks to uncover one of the key secrets of the last decades of the apartheid era. [It’s] a timely reminder that the founding values of our new Constitution are key to building a democracy.” – Justice Kate O’Regan, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

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From Pitch to Publication 

Closing date 14 July 2017

Like many publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts, we receive a large number of submissions every week. This means hours spent wading through many emails as we try to give every author feedback on their work. Writers often try to arrange meetings with publishers, convinced that meeting the publisher in person will persuade them to publish the book, but with only so many hours in a day this isn’t always feasible. 

The Pitching Session 

We are offering you the chance to participate in a twenty-minute session where you’ll be able to pitch your book to a panel comprising a media representative, three publishers and a high-powered bookseller. This is your chance to impress and persuade us in person to consider your work for publication. We realise this isn’t an approach that will work for all authors, but if you would like to be one of the twenty candidates who will present at the Live Pitching Session on 4 August 2017, we encourage you to submit an entry on our website. 

You will need to tell us why we would be interested in hearing your pitch. Take a look at the following websites for some ideas:


Accompanying your manuscript should be one page outlining:

How you are going to help us sell your book?
What target market can you reach with your book?
How does your book fit into the Jacana brand?
What is your book about?

We will consider pitches in the following genres:

- Lifestyle
- Children’s
- Fiction
- Politics/Current Affairs/History
- Memoir/Biography/Auto-Biography
- Natural History/Travel
- Cookery/Baking
- Business
- Self-help

Queries can be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Please note that we will only be giving feedback on submissions that interest us after the pitching session has taken place. If you have not heard from us by the end of August 2017, please consider your submission unsuccessful.

Pitch to Jacana

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If you are an aspiring author and want the chance to get published, then this is the opportunity you have been waiting for. 

For the past 13 years, first as the European Union Literary Award and now as The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, the process has unearthed great new South African literary talent. The books that have been published under this award have reflected the many strands of conversation that are woven together in the common language of fiction. 

The overall winner, selected by a panel of judges, stands a chance to win R35 000, be published by Jacana Media, get great coverage as a debut author and be part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign.

The JLF will also present the Kraak Writing Award, dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. Valued at R20 000, it offers mentoring and intensive coaching from a published author, editor or a publishing expert, enabling the author to refine and develop their work further. 

Submissions will be open from the 1 April 2017 to 31 May 2017. Enquiries can be directed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Kopano Matlwa stole South Africa’s heart with her debut novel Coconut. With more than 25 000 copies sold, this award-winning title cemented her position as one of South Africa’s bestselling authors. With her follow-up novel, Spilt Milk, Kopano continued to amaze us with her ability to intimately address complex political issues through relatable characters. This year, she brings us her best novel yet, Period Pain – a compelling story about how the broken continue to survive.

Audio from the storm May 10th and 11th

Sophia Lindop was on SAfmRadio talking about her latest book Spices South Africa Flavours and Traditions.

Rico talks about Madam & Eve: Take Us to Your Leader on OFM, The Sound Of Your Life with Andre Knuz


PIGGYS_BOYS_BLUE_COV.jpg   N11_high_conLR.jpg

Piggy Boy’s Blues adopted at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

BlackBird Books is delighted to announce that Piggy Boy's Blues by Nakhane Touré has been adopted for the spring 2017 course ‘The Contemporary African Novel’ at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. The good news was announced after Touré found out he is part of the longlist for the Etisalat Prize for Literature 2016.

Known for his music, SAMA award-winning musician Touré has changed tune with the release of his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. The novel, which has been described as reading fragments of a recurring dream, centres on the disastrous consequences of a man’s return to his Eastern Cape home town of Alice. Touré’s work is poetic with sensuous prose.

The judges’ decision was unanimous. Tammy Baikie wins the 2015/16 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for her distinctively clever novel, Selling LipService. She receives a R35 000 cash prize and publication of her book by Jacana Media, with the title being launched as part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign in June 2017. 

Not to be forgotten, runners-up Saul Musker (No Word Like Home) and Thabiso Mofokeng (The Last Stop) both narrowly missed being awarded the accolade for their exceptionally well-written and creative manuscripts. We have no doubt that their work will be picked up for publication, so keep an eye out!

For the first time, the Kraak Writing Grant was also awarded. That went to Andile Cele, author of Braids and Migraines. The grant is valued at R25 000 and dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. It offers the recipient mentoring and intensive coaching from Alison Lowry – editor, publishing expert and writer – enabling the author to refine and develop their work still further.


Chris van Wyk is honoured with the Posthumous Literary Award for his overall literary achievement and Askari wins the Creative Non-Fiction Award at the SALAs. 

South African poet and writer Chris van Wyk, who was born in Soweto in 1957 and passed away on 3 October 2014, was honoured with the Posthumous Literary Award for hi overall literary achievement and Askari by Jacob Dlamini won the Creative Non-Fiction Award at the 2016 South African Literary Awards. 

On receiving the award, Jacob had this to say:

‘I am honoured and humbled by the SALA award. I would like to thank the judges, SALA and its sponsors for this wonderful recognition. Ke a leboga!’


Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi has won the 2016 South African Literary Awards K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. Winners were announced on 7 November 2016 at a gala dinner at UNISA.

On receiving the award, Panashe had this to say:

“It is deeply affirming whenever you receive external validation for what is most often a solitary and isolating experience. This award in particular is an honour because it bears the name of one of South Africa’s literary greats. Over and above that, as someone with Pan-Africanist ideals, I’m deeply humbled that South African readers were able to find resonance with a story set in Zimbabwe, despite what many prospective publishers had said to me. I’m truly grateful to be a writer who has been allowed the space to bring all of herself and her experiences and to have that appreciated by a reading audience.”

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity, feminism and patriarchy, spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities, poverty and desperation, and wealth and abundance.

“Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine is as fresh and bracing as mountain air.” – Mandla Langa

he Kanga and the Kangaroo Court – Reflections of The Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma (Jacana) was well received when it was published in 2007 but the time then was not quite right.

South Africans were not yet ready for full-throttled feminism. And besides, back then the ANC Women’s League had captured the national narrative – and feminism is not part of the DNA of its political lexicon. Motsei’s book exposed the systemic cultural, religious and social root of violence against women in South Africa.

Motsei does not spare Zuma. She does not fall for his false victimhood. That he was somehow set up by political rivals. It is an excuse that politicians still use now, 10 years later. Marius Fransman, suspended ANC Western Cape Leader, has also cried political conspiracy.

Of Zuma’s excuse, Motsei writes;

“As a former head of intelligence in the ANC, he must have been trained to be highly suspicious of untoward sexual attention, especially at the time when he was allegedly facing a political conspiracy to oust him from the presidential succession race. Despite all of this, his training and experience in political intelligence, being an elder, a husband, father and a leader purporting to uphold traditional values, Zuma chose to have unprotected sex with the complainant. Political conspiracy or not, his choice to engage in sex was in his hands alone.”



Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi has been shortlisted for the 2016 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award. Around 150 nominations were received. The R20 000 prize is given to the title that South Africa’s booksellers most enjoyed reading, promoting and selling.

Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity, feminism and patriarchy, spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities, poverty and desperation, and wealth and abundance.

“Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine is as fresh and bracing as mountain air.”
– Mandla Langa

Sam Cowen's no-holds-barred memoir and latest offering, From Whiskey to Water is now the number one Non-fiction title in South Africa.

Having kept her alcohol addiction well away from the public eye for over 14 years, in this tell-all tale Sam finds the courage to talk about her struggle with her addiction to whiskey, food and finally to a passion that saved her life – marathon swimming. Told in her characteristically hilarious dead-pan style, this is one of the bravest books you’ll read this year.

From Whiskey to Water was published by MFBooks Joburg, a Jacana Media imprint.

Buy the book here.