Evan Mantzaris – The Ndundulu Invasion

mantzarispirates“I don’t know if this is part of your research, but since you ask, I’ll answer you very honestly. I’m a lot of things, son, I’m a Zulu and a Xhosa, a God and a Devil, I’m a valley and a mountain, a jungle and a desert, I’m the rain and the drought, but above everything else I am anamaZulu man.”
“Why, Mkhulu?”
“Because I was born in Zululand, I lived in Zululand and I’ll die in Zululand. I haven’t been to school, but I’ve been a cleaner in one place for 40 years. When I walk to the bottle store I touch the ground of the heroes and the ghosts, when I pick up a mango I touch the hand of God, when I jump the hill with my grandson I can see the deep valleys of Africa, and when I dream I am a warrior in Shaka’s army. I learned to speak and think here, I drank from the river of wisdom of my grandfather. I herded cattle here and I spoke to my ancestors hiding behind the clouds when they bring rain. That’s why I’m a Zulu, son.”
“Do you tell these things to your grandchildren?”

Evan Mantzaris’ The Ndundulu Invasion calls to mind certain moments from Brilliant Orange matches. Suddenly everything clicks. A move, a look. And then minutes of exceptionally beautiful gameplay. Insight, grace and elegance, and a foul if necessary.
A book is like a soccer match. One chapter shows the build-up, the strategy, while in the next you’re overwhelmed by a Van der Vaart move or a Bergkamp back heel volley. But then you run into Neeskens and you’re right back down to earth. And every now and then you lose track. You wonder where it’s going. The match demands an editor at those times.

The Ndundulu Invasion has all the trademarks of an extraordinary game from the Cruyff era. Insight, enthusiasm, commitment, a certain kind of laziness, chaotic, but with a clear goal.

It’s with pleasure that we publish this Great South African Novel online. Each chapter is followed by a link to the next.

Enjoy reading!
Chapter 1: Jesus Cristos (next post)

Evan Mantzaris’ blog http://evanmantzaris.wordpress.com/

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The Ndundulu Invasion – Chapter 1 – Jesus Cristos

mantzariscoverBongi realised that now he had the time and the appetite to start and finish something, a novel, an African novel full of love, passion, tradition and soccer, not necessarily in that order.
Something that could push young people open a book, escape poverty and Playstation 2 and read. He now remembered vividly when he accompanied his 15 year old nephew to Gauteng. He bought Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and passed it to the young boy.

The boy looked at him with a giant question mark in his eyes:
“What do I suppose to do with this, malume (uncle)”?
“It’s a book, son.”
“I can see, it’s a thin book.”
“It’s a thin brilliant book, so.”
“Is it available at Kalahari.net?”
“I’m sure it is, why you ask?”
“It will be cheaper there.”
“It does not matter now, I bought it.”
“Have you read it?”
“Some years ago.”
“So why did you buy it again?”
“For you.”
“For me?”
“Yes.”
“To do what with it.”
“To read it.”
“I don’t read books on holidays, uncle.”
“Why?”
“I do Playstation and go to the mall.” Read more

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The National Art Gallery, A Shining Gem On Rwesero Hill

RwandaNationalArtGallery

The National Art Gallery on top of Rwesero Hill
Photo Lia Gieling

Not many people probably know that The National Art Gallery (The NAG) in Nyanza is since 2006 a contemporary arts museum in Rwanda. It is even the only one in the great lakes district. The classical building hosting this museum has been constructed at the end of the fifties of the past century and is beautifully located in the scenic hills, just outside Nyanza. It was built for Rwanda’s last king Matara III Rudahigwa, who died in 1959, just before he would move into his modern palace.. Since Mutara’s death, the palace has hosted several judicial institutes, like the High Court and the Supreme Court. The late archeologist and visionair prof. dr. Celestin Kanimba, former DG of INMR, regarded contemporary art as one of the healing means to recover from the1994 genocide. The NAG is part of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda, which includes 5 various national museums.

Architecture and location
The building, designed by Belgian architect Robert Quintet, has been constructed at the end of the 1950’s. It is beautifully located on top of Rwesero hill. The building and location itself can be experienced as an excellent typical Rwandese attraction, as a masterly mixture of landscape, colonial architecture and royal history.
It turned out to be a lucky shot to change the destiny of the palace into a museum.
In the first place because of the architecture and its surroundings. But even more important is its location in the city of Nyanza, were in former ‘royal’ days Rwandan culture was flourishing. The King’s Palace Museum is near and both museums are located far away from noisy cities like Kigali and Huye. Read more

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Hunter S. Thompson: His Last Shotgun Art. No More Fear And Loathing In Woody Creek.

Uncleduke

Uncle Duke
From: Gary Trudeau – Doonesbury

Hunter S. Thompson, the counter culture ‘gonzo’ journalist, died on February 20, 2005 by a weapon of his choice. The inventor of Shotgun Art and Shotgun Golf fatally shot himself at his Owl Creek farm in Woody Creek, Colorado. He was 67.
‘Prince of Gonzo’ he called himself, ‘Doctor Gonzo’, ‘Doctor of Journalism’, ‘Outlaw Journalist’, ‘Doc’, ‘The Duke’: Hunter Stockton Thompson (Louisville, Kentucky, 1939).

Rock star of the written word.
And as with rock stars meeting one is never an easy task. But we managed, once, after endless waiting and drinking our way into the local bar, The Woody Creek tavern. The sun was already sinking behind the Rocky Mountains, bathing the area around the Tavern in a chill and cheerless light, when finally the great Doctor made his appearance. Five in the morning would have been a more approriate time.

Word had it that Thompson was burned out. That, battle weary, he’d given up on the Gonzo cause. Gonzo comes from the French-Canadian word gonzeaux which means something along the lines of shining path. Hunter Thompson was that path; the only fully fledged grand master of Gonzo. His Gonzo style was often confused with New Journalism, made famous by Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. But that is quite incorrect. Wolfe and the like attack the truth with the techniques of the novelist. They lose themselves in the minds of their subjects. Thompson lost himself in his own mind, and traced only his own madcap, hallucinatory journey through the many events in his stories. “It’s essentially a ‘what if’,” as P. J. O’Rourke, another Rolling Stone celebrity, quoted Thompson. Read more

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Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson


(Trailer)

Magnolia Pictures – HDNet Films
Directed by Alex Gibney. Produced by Alex Gibney, Graydon Carter, Jason Kliot, Joanna Vicente, Allison Ellwood, Eva Orner.
Narrated by Johnny Depp.

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Occupied

occupyShe smiles happily. She dances against the backdrop of a red banner that says Anticapitalista in Coca Cola letters.

About an hour later I walk home.
I used to work for an antiquarian bookseller and one of his infamous statements comes to mind. “You can also know too much”, he would mumble grumpily whenever anybody was too eagerly displaying knowledge.

Not that a lot has changed. Don’t give me a pen and paper in order to make a list of what’s wrong with this world. I know I’m not supposed to, but secretly I still smile sometimes when the news shows images of shattered windows and smoking cars.
But I know more now. The revolution often aims wrong. The cars and the stores, they are innocent.
That’s the least of it.
It’s even sadder. I know now that summer comes after spring if you’re lucky. More often, nature throws a curve ball and goes straight to fall. Skips summer, just like that.

The beauty of revolution is in that one minute, that tiny spark, the core that starts it, wrote Canetti. It contains the sole ingredient we get to work with. Hope. No matter how naive. Without hope, nothing ever changes.
The sound of a bluesy piano drifts from an open window. “Of course”, I think to myself and smile.
If I was 18 years old, I would be standing right there, up front. At present time, I don’t want to crush the flower as it’s just starting to open her eyes.

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