PRESS RELEASE: Marikana special edition book released by an independent publisher

Marikana. A Moment in Time, Raphael d’Abdon (ed.) , Geko, Johannesburg, 2013.

JOHANNESBURG – Marikana. A Moment in Time (Geko, 2013) is a collection of essays, articles, poems and photos by South African and international writers, activists and artists. The book is edited by Dr Raphael d’Abdon (Postdoctoral Fellow at UNISA) and published by the young and independent publisher Geko Publishing. All the proceeds from this book will be donated to the school of Marikana.

“We want to help the community of Marikana” says Phehello Mofokeng, Chief Bookworm at Geko Publishing. “For us the point is not to make empty noise and promises to that community, it’s all hands on deck for us. What we do best is books and we can only add our contribution this way” Mofokeng continues. The book premiere / launch comes hot in the heels of Pitika Ntuli’s sculptural exhibition at Constitution Hill called Marikana Hill to Constitution Hill.

The volume includes a foreword by Makhosazana Xaba and the writings of Prof Njabulo N Ndebele, Simphiwe Dana,  Ari Sitas, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Napo Masheane, Pitika Ntuli, Prof Pietro Basso, Philo Ikonya, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Afurakan, Lance Henson and Abdul Milazi, to name a few. It captures the mood, the opinions, the commentaries of renowned South African and international scholars, activists and artists in essays, articles, poems and images. Some photos were taken by Mandy de Waal and her son Kyle, while others came from Yazeed Kamaldien. September National Imbizo (SNI) also contributed an opinion piece. Philo Ikonya is a Kenyan poet who now lives in exile in Norway. Ikonya was in South Africa in 2012 during Poetry Africa, and she contributed with a poem titled “Evening Falls”.

In her Foreword, Makhosana Xaba says that this book is a blessing and a “dressing on the wound of South Africa”. She reminds us that “the brutal rule of power remains with us. And it kills”, and that “in the name of human dignity, the struggle must continue”. Indeed, she adds, this book “is an offering of solidarity”.

The collection is endorsed by some of the most respected scholars in South Africa, such as Prof Njabulo S Ndebele, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Ari Sitas and Pitika Ntuli. Ndebele says that he supports this project for its noble intentions of assisting the Marikana community.

The events of August 14, 2012 at Marikana have reverberated throughout the world – with intense anger, disappointment and disbelief. The shooting and killing of miners on that day indicated how our society still places profit before its people.

Marikana. A Moment in Time (Geko, 2013) will be launched at Constitution Hill, on the 4th April 2013, at 18h00 for 18h30.


  • Lance Henson
  • Napo Masheane
  • Ari Sitas
  • Dr Barbara Boswell
  • Pina Piccolo
  • Allan Kolski Horwitz
  • Tinyiko Sam Maluleke
  • Abdul Milazi
  • Lorenzo Mari
  • Simphiwe Dana
  • Jeannie McKeown
  • Gillian Schutte
  • Mapule Maema
  • Suzanne Leighton
  • Philo Ikonya
  • SNI (September National Imbizo)
  • Sarah Godsell
  • David wa Maahlamela
  • Mandy de Waal
  • Prof Njabulo Ndebele
  • Afurakan T Mohare
  • Dr Raphael d’Abdon
  • Prof Pietro Basso
  • Dr Andrea Piccinelli
  • Heidi Henning
  • Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
  • Prof Pitika Ntuli
  • Moemise Motsepe


Hintsa’s Ghost reads like a mirror to the society

I have listened and read one too many South African poets who burst into the scene in the last decade and failed to single out one poet as the best. But here, I pen an introduction to a book by a poet of the future. I am truly awed by the soul, the emotion, the blinding and deafening truth in Andrew K. Miller’s poetry. This is truly the work of a writer who is beyond his own generation of writers. Miller represents that lacking balance in the current spoken word poetry scene – not too nostalgic, not immature – neither ass-licking nor self-praising. He is the ultimate humble poet with the necessary substance and worth. His words are molded and not just uttered – not just figment of an imagination but often felt and experienced. Continue

Presentation is everything: Formatting a manuscript correctly for publishing

Before you submit your script, be sure to make it presentable, readable and pleasing to the eye. Many writers do this through all kinds of formatting and colours. This is wrong. Before you commit your script to the publisher, read the publisher’s submission guidelines. This is important because a wrongly formatted script – no matter how good – will not be read. It is also important to check international best practice on the matter. If you are unsure which publisher in the country you will be submitting to, then refer to international publishers. Many South African publishers follow them anyways. So if you format according to a well-known American or European publisher, chances are a South African publisher will find your script admissible. Continue

To self-publish or to find a publisher, that is the question. Is it not?

So when it comes to whether you should publish your own book or look for a publisher, I just do not have one straight answer. Many people that published themselves always come back smarter and braver from the experience. They suddenly realise that publishing is really not as simple. They also understand the process, the workflow and the cycle – from writing, refining, proofing, subbing, layout, editing, re-editing, printing and then the final product. They also seem to understand the sales element of the process, as well as the marketing. This is a good thing – for an author to understand all these.

The frustration though, from self-published authors comes from those who sometimes do it for wrong reasons – such as thinking that we publishers are greedy fools after authors’ royalties, or sometimes you have been rejected so many times, or because you think you will be able to become an instant millionaire, or because you think your material needs no editing or processing by professionals.

So should you publish yourself? I do not know … Maybe, maybe not! But in all honesty, why not? Why not publish your own book if you have all the required stuff in place? If you have a good proof-reader, good editor, good material and good sales knack – why not? My biggest problem with self-publishing is the lack of professionalism in most books – from the spelling errors, bad grammar, bad design etc.

So should you find a publisher? I do not know … Maybe, maybe not! Big publishers are great. They are the big fish and if you can get to one, why not! Here are a few reasons why:

1. They are a bit difficult to negotiate royalty for example – Penguin gives nothing more than 12.5% for entry level author.

2. They are professionals, so you cannot half-step when working with them.

3. They might not give your book a lot of attention as you are still a new writer. So you will have to do a lot of work yourself.

4. They are very dismissive – and quickly so. Sometimes mistakenly.

But if you get a good big publisher, your name can be made.

So what is my advice? Start small … Go to a small independent publisher. Find out how they work. What is their royalty. How often do they pay. Who did they publish. etc Then you can submit to them for a review – even if they do not publish you, a small independent publisher can give a very good review that can guide you into a better writing career …