Category Archives: South African Authors

Plight of the Rhino – Springbok Publications

One of my stories, Nkoninkoni, has the honour of appearing in an anthology created for the purpose of donating proceeds to Save the Rhino International.   Writers from around the world were invited to submit stories based on different animals.  My animal was the Wildebeest, and writing about that awesome creature was an absolutely wild trip for me.  Each story is beautifully illustrated by South African artist, Helmi, and the cover art created by talented UK artist Elaine McKenna.  With the anniversary of The Plight of the Rhino anthology upon us, I decided to interview the man who made it all happen.  Meet Conrad Brand.

Firstly, please share a little about yourself, and what you do in our writing world.

Hi Jo, thanks for your kind words and the opportunity to chat to you. I was born on the West Coast of South Africa and after meeting, my now wife, we decided to temporarily move to the UK to see what life has to offer outside of South Africa. That was 14 years ago… I mostly pen short stories and flash fiction, but am currently working on my novel, due to be released at the end of 2015. I have been blessed to have some of my short stories published in the US, UK and South Africa. I always have a piece of paper and pen to hand, because life around us is full of inspiration and story ideas. I am also a Freelance journalist with my own column called Brandpunt in The South African, a newspaper for South African expats around the world. You will also find some of my published articles in the Netherlands and South Africa. In 2012 I published Blog 4 Sports a collection of short stories and humoristic sketches available on Amazon and in some bookshops in SA. At the start of 2013 Springbok Publications saw first light and that completely changed my world, again.

Where did the idea for the anthology come from?

As a South African and someone who enjoys and loves our diverse wildlife, I thought that by bringing awareness to a certain cause, we as their keepers can make a difference in their existence. The senseless killing of our rhinos for nothing more than a myth and what is essentially the same as the nails on our hands, was something I am very concerned and passionate about so I decided to have as Springbok Publications’ first published book, a collection of short stories from writers all over the world. This would have the most impact to as many different readers possible.

How did it grow from idea to fruition?

It happened quite quickly actually. From starting the company, to getting a team together and then specialists to help with this specific publication, happened within months. Everyone involved was just so fantastic, and generous, by giving their talent and time to saving this beautiful species.

Tell us a little about the authors – how did you choose them?

Soon after the team was in place we sent private invitations to authors, known to the project team. To reach a wide and diverse audience I wanted to make sure that we have writers from different countries involved. The response was overwhelming and we ended up with fantastic stories and poems by new and established writers from England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand and of course from South Africa.

Do you feel that you’re accomplishing what you set out to do with this book as far as spotlighting the extermination of the Rhino population of the world?

I think we definitely made more people aware of the imminent extinction of the species, and that it will be on our watch. Also that we can still make a difference, and there are very positive signs worldwide. The poaching numbers are still very high, and once again this year, record breaking, but there are positive signs that the message is getting through. Our benefactor, Save the Rhino International is working very hard to put their funds in the right hands and ensuring that the countries and people involved are being educated on the devastation they are causing. One year since the release of Plight of the Rhino I was amazed to learn about the vast advances that had been made against rhino poaching and how local communities now stand together to fight the cause. BUT I have also learned how these criminals fund their lives and activities more efficiently, all from a safe distance. It is simple, if we don’t continue in our efforts the rhino population in the wild will be extinct by 2026. So please help now to make a difference! Before it’s too late!

Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share with us?

If you’d like to follow my writing progress or want to read some of my scribbles, please visit my website at Website. BUT, I would rather urge you to join me and Springbok Publications to stand up and make a difference in the fight for the rhino. Can you imagine one day, in less than 20 years’ time, to read in the newspaper that the last wild rhino had been shot today? Never will they be seen in the wild again and they would be lost forever. Like the rest of the animals already extinct. Buy your copy of Plight of the Rhino today – not only will you have a lovely read for your holidays, but you will have access to the facts and info of 22 different wildlife animals, all unique and special in their own way. You never know, you might actually learn something, like I did whilst putting this collection together. One thing IS for sure, you will be helping us to bring awareness to the Plight of the Rhino in the wild.

Plight of the Rhino has been discounted for its Birthday and the rest of December. All links offer 25% off the printed copy and 50% off the electronic version. Cover for Promo

Cover Artwork ELAINE MCKENNA Copyright Elaine McKenna


Amazon UK


To learn more about the fantastic work Save the Rhino International does and where your contribution is going, please visit their website at Save the Rhino International. For more information and news please visit Springbok Publications or follow us on Facebook. gorilla Gorilla by HELMI Copyright Helmi LION Lion by HELMI Copyright Helmi

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Involution: An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God by Philippa Rees

This book has been called ‘…a brilliant and profoundly erudite epic…a heroic intellectual tour de force…’ (by David Lorimer, the Director of the Scientific and Medical Network) and both ‘brave…and totally insightful’ (by Ervin Laszlo) but the book defies description; it breaks all the rules and is unlike any other. It is so comprehensive in its sweep, original in its writing, and its synthesis, that to isolate any aspect is to misrepresent all the others.

Two characters, Reason and Soul, undertake a light-hearted poetic journey through the chronology of Western scientific thought to expose a bold hypothesis— that science has been guided by the gradual and accelerating recovery of memory. That recovery has been through the inspired maverick genius and it moves backwards through time; from man’s emergence, (at one with the natural world), through the increasingly separate disciplines to the holistic origins; the birth of stars and the start of time. This incremental excavation and transfer of memory to intellect implies the pre-human encoding of consciousness in the very structure of matter, and all organic life.

It is the sweep of history that exposes this reversal of time: It requires all the disciplines of science, all the epochs of thought, and only poetic economy could convey this accompanying purposeful complement to the Darwinian random and accidental. It is the wood and not the trees that the work surveys from the height of a poetic balloon. Yet, paradoxically, the collective journey has been lit by individuals, unique in their contributions to the field that claims only ‘objective’ repeatable and validated truth. The same pattern is mirrored in the history of painting and the structure of musical composition. Genius differs only in the languages of expression.

In nine Cantos the two companions travel through pre-human involution, and early man’s emergence on the Serengeti to the recorded civilisations of Greece, Rome, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, into the Enlightenment and finally Modernism when the success of science completely obscures half of the story, the story of involution. Science’s external domination has reproduced the web of consciousness in the internet, and its tools are the bones of its journey, but the life of the spirit has withered through science’s insistence on objectivity, and its neglect of its own subjective origins. Mystical experience is perhaps the most attested and agreed upon encounter, across climes and times, differing only in the words chosen to clothe it.

But there is more to it than merely science; for science is a language through which to follow a deeper journey, Man’s collective journey inwards, to the nature of himself: which is why the scientific signposts are appropriately confined to end-notes to leave the poetic journey un-encumbered. They take no scientific knowledge for granted: they are not essential to the poetic narrative but instead caulk the ship of science in which we travel.

The scientific serpent of DNA, the most likely candidate for memory, ends with a soliloquy, an invitation to re-acquaintance with love, for episodes of love through contemplation and self-forgetting has informed science all along.

The work restores the spiritual, and finds it within the process of mystical science. The perennial philosophy is newly validated in twentieth century language.

By adding involution to evolution, mind and matter become two sides of a single coin, only perceived as distinct through the collective intellect’s division from its deeper self, from consciousness, from experience, from rapture and understanding. The co creation of God and the universe is what this book restores and is about.

Editorial Reviews

Philippa Rees wrote a book that is a rarity: it is on a controversial, actually hair- and eye-brow-raising subject, and it is totally sincere. And totally insightful. If you the reader are as brave as this author, you are in for a fantastic ride. Getting close to science as well as to God at the same time. That’s no mean feat. Enjoy the ride – and the light! (Dr. Ervin Laszlo)

Philippa Rees

Philippa Rees

The lives distilled in the work of Philippa have been as manifold as the proverbial cat. But all have fed into the mix. Born in South Africa to a family on both sides of the Boer war divide (half fighting the other half) her childhood was equally extreme. As an only child of a single mother she was imprisoned in harsh boarding schools, but holidays were spent on her horse riding the mountains of Lesotho, or on safaris with a beloved grandfather inspecting African schools in the remotest areas of Botswana, shooting for the pot and camping under the stars.

In the background of solitary African existence there were always books, and a family that valued them: Her grandmother was a Barrett, related to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and her great great aunt corresponded with George Eliot, whose step sons she befriended in tragic circumstances. So writing and literature were the ways to make sense of experience.

Choices were always difficult because everything was equally interesting: university involved sampling five faculties before deciding on zoology and psychology. Early marriage to a marine biologist took her to an island off the Mozambique coast, scavenging on the mud flats for abundant sea food, but post only by occasional fishing boat. Her first book ‘Dryads and Drinking Water’ was set in Mozambique at the start of the civil war. Later life took her first to Florida and then to the Max Planck Institute in Bavaria where she lived in an eleventh century saw mill on the banks of a lake with an unrepentant Nazi landlady, while her husband worked with Konrad Lorenz and the exciting school of animal behaviour that surrounded him.

Following some profound spiritual experiences Philippa divorced and came to England with two small daughters, where she converted some barns as a music centre, and taught courses on ‘Saints and Scientists’ at Bristol University. But writing always came first, and none of it slotted into a Dewey Index easily. Her poetic novella ‘A Shadow in Yucatan’ is an evocation of the atmosphere of the sixties, set in Florida. A new ‘magnum opus’, a poetic history of Western thought, ‘Involution’ is due to be published in March 2013. After that she hopes to publish her short stories revealing the gulf between New and Old World attitudes and a novel based upon her personal experiences. She has four daughters and lives in Somerset.

Listen to a fascinating interview with Philippa Rees here.

The Book of Forgiving – Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu – NEW RELEASE

Desmond Mpilo Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and was only the second black person ever to receive it. In 1986 he was elected archbishop of Cape Town, the highest position in the Anglican Church in South Africa. In 1994, after the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela, Tutu was appointed as chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate apartheid-era crimes. His policy of forgiveness and reconciliation has become an international example of conflict resolution, and a trusted method of postconflict reconstruction. He is currently the chair of The Elders, where he gives vocal defense of human rights and campaigns for the oppressed.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chair of The Elders, and Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, offer a manual on the art of forgiveness—helping us to realize that we are all capable of healing and transformation.
Tutu’s role as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taught him much about forgiveness. If you asked anyone what they thought was going to happen to South Africa after apartheid, almost universally it was predicted that the country would be devastated by a comprehensive bloodbath. Yet, instead of revenge and retribution, this new nation chose to tread the difficult path of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Each of us has a deep need to forgive and to be forgiven. After much reflection on the process of forgiveness, Tutu has seen that there are four important steps to healing: Admitting the wrong and acknowledging the harm; Telling one’s story and witnessing the anguish; Asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness; and renewing or releasing the relationship. Forgiveness is hard work. Sometimes it even feels like an impossible task. But it is only through walking this fourfold path that Tutu says we can free ourselves of the endless and unyielding cycle of pain and retribution. The Book of Forgiving is both a touchstone and a tool, offering Tutu’s wise advice and showing the way to experience forgiveness. Ultimately, forgiving is the only means we have to heal ourselves and our aching world.

Circles in a Forest – Dalene Matthee

Dalene Matthee, author of 13 books, is best known for her four “Forest books” on the Knysna Forest: Circles in a Forest, Fiela’s Child, The Mulberry Forest and Dreamforest.

Dalene was born in Riversdale in the Southern Cape, South Africa, in 1938. She began her writing career with children’s stories and short stories before taking on her first novel after a hiking trip through the Outeniqua hiking trail around Knysna. Her curiosity led to a journey through the stories and studies of these indigenous forests. In the end, she gathered enough material for four books.

Each book is underpinned by thorough research. Her books have been translated into 14 languages, and some of her books have been used as prescribed books in schools for over 20 years. Dalene has received various awards, including the ATKV Prose Award (4 times), the Southern African Institute of Forestry Award (twice), the Swiss Stab Award and the Department of Arts and Culture’s SA Literary Award (posthumously). She is the only South African author of whom over 1 million Afrikaans books have been sold.

She died in 20 February 2005 and a memorial has been erected for her in the Knysna Forest. More information available at


A Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013


Nicua Shamira

Just released by inspiring South African author and poet – a must have!