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Fields of Air - James Byrom~Man is both awed and terrified by the concept of flying. In this book James Byrom chronicles the disasters and mysteries surrounding many aviation calamities. As well as the numerous triumphs and heady days of early South African flight. The most sensational account is his investigation of the SAA Helderberg crash, just off the Mauritian coast, which has become a topic of great news value from time to time.
"A book all aviation buffs should acquire" - Pretoria News.
"A thoroughly researched chronicle of flight and more particularly, the men and women involved in civil aviation, it is also, with its novelistic style, a page-turner." - Namib Times
"…he (the author) has compiled an eminently readable book - a remarkable accomplishment when dealing with something so specialised…an enthralling book." - Robert Kirby, Financial Mail.
ISBN:1 919874 12 7 Paperback. 2nd edition, Aug 2001. 316 pages, 73 b&w photos + 7 maps. ~~Fields of Air|ISBN 1919874127|~4802~1500~~
Gallic Thunderbolt: The story of René Leclézio and Lonrho Sugar - compliled by Jerry Gosnell~Lonrho Sugar Corporation, one of Africa's most successful sugar companies, was the creation of one man, René Leclézio, Lonrho's "Gallic Thunderbolt". From its beginning in Malawi in 1965 he made it an international force in the sugar world by the time he retired in 1994. Lonrho Sugar was that rarest of animals, a multinational operating exclusively in Africa which always made profits; survived floods, droughts and coups and established a reputation for long term commitment to the communities in which it worked. This book is not a biography of an individual, nor is it a history of a company. It is a collection of reminiscences written by the people who were close to René and the story of the group he created, told by the men and women who were there.
ISBN 0-620-31944-5. 2004. Softcover 170 x 240 mm, 308 pages. 70 photos.~Private publication, 2004
ISBN 0-620-31944-5
308 pages (170 x 240 mm)
Softcover


The Book

Lonrho Sugar Corporation, one of Africa's most successful sugar companies, was the creation of one man, René Leclézio, who nurtured it from its infancy at SUCOMA in Malawi in 1965 to become an international force in the sugar world by the time he retired in 1994.

René Leclézio was Lonrho's "Gallic Thunderbolt" but without the backing of Tiny Rowland, the charismatic Chief Executive of Lonrho, the story would have been very different. Tiny and René were the perfect team. Tiny gave René all the corporate and political support he needed, but knew when to stand back and let René run the show the way only he knew. René became Tiny's most trusted director and close personal friend and Tiny paid him the ultimate compliment by asking him to become Chairman of Lonrho in 1991.

Following the creation of SUCOMA in 1965, it really all happened in a whirlwind spell of less than a year between October 1967, when Lonrho purchased Anglo Ceylon and General Estates' three sugar mills and estates in Mauritius, and mid 1968 when the dynamic duo engineered a reverse take-over of Swaziland Sugar Milling Company (SSM), bringing Ubombo Ranches under Lonrho control. Shortly thereafter, Glendale Sugar Milling was brought into the fold, thus creating an international sugar group with six, later with the addition of Dwangwa seven, mills in four countries.

This book is not a biography of an individual, nor is it a history of a company. It is a collection of reminiscences written by the people who were close to René and the story of the group he created, told by the men and women who were there.



Book Review

The life and times of a sugar daddy

By the time he retired from Lonhro Sugar Corporation in 1994, René Leclézio had achieved what mere mortals only dream about. From humble beginnings as laboratory chemist for Beau- Séjour and Beau-Vallon sugar factories, René went on to become Chairman of Lonrho, an international force in the sugar world. Along the way, he inspired all those who worked with him and accomplished the Herculean task of turning all Lonrho ventures in Africa, a continent renowned for its political, economic and meteorological volatility, into profitable, well-run entities.

Gallic Thunderbolt is one of the rare birds of the book world. It is unostentatious and unassuming, yet it provides for great reading from cover to cover. Through the contributions of René’s collaborators and friends, it effortlessly retraces the steps of a man renowned for the energy and stubbornness with which he attacked life. Gosnell explains how Leclézio obtained his poetic nickname, “He was soon to become known as the Gallic Thunderbolt for his impossible working and travelling habits. However inconvenient or simply exhausting working to René’s pattern might become, hardly anyone ever let him down, mainly because of the example he set, his inspiring leadership and the Gallic charm he used to such great effect when spirits were flagging.”

Gallic Thunderbolt is written in a self-effaced and limpid manner privileging substance over stylistic flourish. The subject matter and the almost maniacal attention to detail enable the reader to relive René’s travails across the vast African continent all the way to Lonhro’s London headquarters. The early years in Hippo Valley in Zimbabwe and the SUCOMA estate in Malawi provide a plethora of earthy, and often humorous, anecdotes of the living conditions encountered by the Mauritian clique. Guy de Rosnay’s reminiscence of the SUCOMA era is a good example: “It was thrilling because there was everything to do. We were on virgin land, there were no means of communication and living at Chikwawa, 50 kilometres from the estate, the reigning mosquitoes wrapped us in one massive and aggressive cloud!”

The glorious past of Lonrho

This is not simply the chronicle of a success story. Instead, it is a fascinating foray into the world of yesteryear when business was a mountain that only true pioneers could conquer. The reader will also note that most of René’s relationships were forged for life and the respect he inspired amongst his staff ensured that they would always strive to get him what he wanted even when that implied making considerable sacrifices. René had many of the characteristics inherent to leaders and those who worked with or for him instinctively knew that nothing short of excellence would be acceptable.

A key facet of René’s rapid ascendancy was his symbiotic relationship with the mercurially brilliant Tiny Rowland, CEO of Lonrho. The latter’s connections with African leaders coupled with the dynamism of his Gallic Thunderbolt, gifted the duo with a Midas touch that they used profusely. Chris Saunders, an early collaborator describes the chemistry that united Tiny and René: “He was recruited by Tiny Rowland of Lonrho who recognized this man as a kindred soul – someone who was prepared to take risks, fight for a principle, be happy to go to the ends of the earth if he saw an advantage for his employer, and most important of all, recognize loyalty as the supreme gift that a man can offer his superior.”

By the time René reached the pinnacle of his career, being named Chairman of Lonrho in 1991, the company was stuck in the financial doldrums with profits falling from £273 million in 1990 to £80 million in 1992. The purchase of a large minority in the share capital by German entrepreneur Dieter Bock heralded the dawn of a new era where investment brokers decided on policy and the African estates, on which the Lonrho Sugar empire had been built, were all but forgotten. Bock, who had acquired the office of Joint Chief Executive and Managing Director along with the share capital, was to sound the death knell by selling Lonhro in 1997. Thankfully, René had resigned in 1994 so he didn’t have to witness the end first-hand.

René Leclezio’s story is the story of sugar in Africa – politically, economically and, most importantly, socially. His life shows us that no obstacle is insurmountable, no problem without a solution. This is the spirit we must rekindle if we are to have even a glimmer of hope.

Review by by Nicholas Rainer; L'Express Mauritius, March 6 2004

The Author
This book is a collection of reminiscences of the people who were close to René - his colleagues, family and friends. It was compiled by Jerry Gosnell, for whom René was a colleague, mentor and friend for over 20 years.~Gallic Thunderbolt|X ISBN 0620319445|~4802~12535~Lonrho Sugar Corporation, René Leclézio,Gallic Thunderbolt~
Rugby Stories from the Platteland - Graham Jooste~The heart and spirit of rugby described in Graham’s book is still evident today, but the way the game was played - on a Saturday afternoon, on a dusty field, after a long day ploughing - is not. Somehow all this became overshadowed by the glamour of large clubs and competitions, fuelled by modern technology and communication. Graham tells the stories, that will have you in stitches, of those recently arrived for work in a strange town on the platteland who, to be accepted by the community, had to play rugby. From labourers and mechanics to clerks and farmers, these are their stories and each one is unique.
ISBN 0958489017, Paperback. 178 x 110mm, 200pp~ISBN 0-9584890-1-7
Paperback: 178 x 110mm
200pp

The heart and spirit of rugby described in Graham’s book is still evident today, but the way the game was played - on a Saturday afternoon, on a dusty field, after a long day ploughing - is not. Somehow all this became overshadowed by the glamour of large clubs and competitions, fuelled by modern technology and communication.

In this book Graham tells the stories, some dating back 100 years, of those recently arrived for work in a strange town on the platteland who, to be accepted by the community, had to play rugby. From labourers and mechanics to clerks and farmers, these are their stories and each one is unique. From the Northern Cape and Luderitz, down the west coast, into the Eastern Cape and through the Free State and Mpumalanga, Graham has recorded stories, as told to him, that will have you in stitches.

Graham’s style of writing is reminiscent of campfire (or perhaps braais and boerewors) storytelling, the humour lying in all the deviations and asides the story makes along the way.

Graham Jooste, born in Greylingstad, lives in Johannesburg and considers himself semi-retired. Graham is passionate about both history and sport and has written four other books: Innocent Blood (2002), So Het Hulle Gesterf (1998), Rugby Trivia (1995) and South African Rugby Teams: 1949 -1995 (1995). Graham was awarded the Lewis Memorial Shield for Sportsmanship at the South African Nautical College. He played first-league rugby, cricket and bowls and was president of the Old Selbornians Cricket Club in East London and of the Pirate Rugby Club.~Rugby Stories|X ISBN 0958489017|~4802~11096~~
The Art of the South African Insult - Sarah Britten~South African insults on everything - from apartheid to Zuma - by everyone from J. M. Coetzee to Daily Sun readers. Michael Herzfeld has argued in his study of Greek villagers that humour emanates from what we are most embarrassed about-not from conventional sources of national pride. This is the first time that South African humour has been explored in this way. This book incorporates a wide range of opinion, from comedians, literary heavyweights, serious political commentators, satirists, sports writers to the kind of people generally not taken seriously, like the ANC Youth League and You readers. South Africans of all people need a good laugh. It is healthy both psychologically and physiologically to laugh at ourselves. At its core, this book is about democracy, or the democratic spirit-because one of the truest tests of democracy is the tolerance of invective and nastiness. So, while the book sets out to entertain, there is also a serious intent.

"I have tried to be as even-handed as possible in the targets of the humour so that everyone has an equal opportunity to be offended," says the author.
ISBN 1-920143-05-X, Nov 2006. Paperback, 320pp~30 Degrees South Publishing
ISBN 1-920143-05-X, Nov 2006.
Paperback, 320pp



Sarah Britten

Sarah Britten has been described by Barry Ronge as "Hitler with tits". Her first piece of comic reportage, on the wonders of kugels and buying a Matric dance dress in Sandton City, appeared in Style magazine in 1991 when she was 17. She has won Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature for The Worst Year of My Life-So Far (2000) and The Martin Tudhope Show (2002).

She wrote her Master's research report on South African humour (with a focus on Madam & Eve) and has a doctorate in Applied English Language Studies, the title of her thesis being 'One nation, one beer: the mythology of the new South Africa in advertising'. Her area of academic interest relates to national identity and comedy, and the concept of 'National Intimacy', as defined by the anthropologist Michael Herzfeld.

The good citizens of Mooinooi once tried to send her death threats after she quoted a man who described them as being like ropes-thick, hairy and twisted - but they couldn't find her number in the phone book. David Bullard's fans, who resemble a pack of escaped Labradors gone bad after a week without Bob Martins and Eukanuba, were mightily offended when she pointed out a punctuation error in one of his articles. She already has an active 'hate club' of ex-pat whingers in Perth, Australia.

Sarah enjoys birdwatching, wildlife, painting with lipstick (and pastels). She plays the piano, her favourite composer is Bach and she plans to write a fugue in four parts based on the Nokia ring tone. She can also do a mean Australian accent for anyone who asks.~The Art of the South African Insult|X ISBN 192014305X|~4802~11458~South African insults, Sarah Britten~
Steeped in Blood: The Life and Times of a Forensic Scientist - David Klatzow, as told to Sylvia Walker~'To thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.'- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene iii, lines 78-80
Legendary forensic scientist Dr David Klatzow bookmarks his new book Steeped in Blood with this quote from Hamlet. Klatzow has spent his life searching for the truth - often at a risk to his own life and to his own reputation. Written without descending into a legal tome of dull prose, Klatzow and his fellow scribe, Sylvia Walker, take the reader through a fascinating dissertation on many of the landmark forensic investigations with which he has been involved. Klatzow takes the reader through several high profile cases and, probably, the one which has the most appeal beyond the legal fraternity is the South African Helderberg 747 crash in 1987. Drawing on evidence and with some quite exceptional forensic work, he uncovers the massive cover up by the apartheid Government. It makes for absorbing reading. No stone is unturned in the quest for the truth and insights on such other high-profile cases such as the Kebble affair, numerous apartheid atrocities and, more recently, the van der Vyver case keep the reader turning page after page. The author relates numerous examples of how conflicts of fact had to be resolved during the cases that he was involved in and that in most of them, his opinions were accepted by the judges presiding. Klatzow's command of the English language is well known and he uses this skill throughout the book and in describing his numerous court appearances. In his foreward, Advocate George Bizos SC of the Legal Resources Centre and noted defence lawyer states, "No trial lawyer, senior investigating officer or potential expert witness can afford to ignore this book."
Oct 2010. Softback, 320 pages~For a very long period of time, Dr David Klatzow was the only independent forensic investigator in South Africa. During the apartheid years, a time of police brutality and state cover-ups, he was the man human rights lawyers called when they needed independent forensic evidence to uncover the truth. Klatzow's investigations into countless notorious cases, such as the Guguletu Seven, the Trojan Horse, the murders of human rights lawyer Bheki Mlangeni and activist Dr David Webster, and the bombing of Khotso House and Cosatu House, made him a controversial public figure. Hampered by the apartheid police and the legal system, he was always fearless and earned a reputation of being an 'ANC supporter', even though he always remained impartial.

On a non-political level, he was instrumental in changing the testing mechanism for drunk driving in the 1980s and became an expert in fire investigations. One of his most enduring interests is uncovering the truth behind the Helderberg airplane crash. Through a detailed analysis of the findings of the Margo Commission of Inquiry and having sifted through all available evidence, he is convinced that the official version of the story is far from the truth.

More recently, Klatzow investigated the Paarl Press fire, the assassination of Brett Kebble and the murder of Inge Lotz. Although some cases are still unsolved, for him a case is never closed. The truth is out there, and he will find it.

Klatzow is a well-known public figure, and the book will attract a great deal of media attention.His name is constantly in the news: every time mysterious circumstances surround a death or a catastrophe, he is interviewed by the media for his opinion on the evidence available.

Many of his cases have been controversial, and his scientific perspective has not been encapsulated in one document before.Fascinating reading for anyone interested in crime and current affairs; puts into perspective much of the information one hears about in the news.

Includes previously unpublished statements from certain people close to the Helderberg airplane crash.~Steeped in Blood|ISBN-13 9781868729227|~4802~13472~~
Wide Boy: The true story of a Jo'burg spiv - Montague Bentley~On the streets of Bez Valley , South Africa, Tony grew up hard and he grew up fast. In the cosmopolitan working-class suburbs of Johannesburg, he mixed with people of all kinds and backgrounds. His first rite of passage is to subdue the ruthless bunch of Afrikaans school bullies. Learning tactics from his Uncle Mick, a professional wrestler who wears a large Star of David on his back to incite the anti-Jewish crowds of the East Rand, Tony starts on his life-journey of opportunism, petty crime, street-fighting and questionable business practices, driven always by his never-ending quest "to make money - lots of it". Subtle, brutal, poignant, outrageous, hilarious, Wide Boy will take the reader directly into the balmy streets of a summer day in 1946 Bez Valley; to the street-brawls of the 1950s' Hillbrow and Yeoville; to the post-war euphoric boom days of Southern Rhodesia, the ensuing bush war, sanctions-busting and, finally, to return full-circle to the sometimes murky otherworld of 'big business' in Johannesburg.
ISBN 0958489076, Softback.: 210 x 148mm, 200pp~ISBN 0958489076
Softback: 210 x 148mm
200pp


Wide Boy - the true-ish story of a Jo'burg spiv

'Wide boy' (dated Brit inflam derog) person who is shrewd, unscrupulous and often dishonest, esp in business.

On the streets of Bez Valley Tony grew up hard and he grew up fast. In the cosmopolitan working-class suburbs of Johannesburg, he mixed with, and mixed it with, Jews, Greeks, Italians, Lebanese, blacks, Afrikaners and occasionally Anglo-Saxons. His first rite of passage is to subdue the ruthless Agnee gang, a bunch of Afrikaans school bullies. Learning tactics from his Uncle Mick, a professional wrestler who wears a large Star of David on his back to incite the anti-Jewish crowds of the East Rand, Tony starts on his life-journey of opportunism, petty crime, street-fighting and questionable business practices, driven always by his never-ending quest "to make money - lots of it." Subtle, brutal, poignant, outrageous, hilarious, Wide Boy will take the reader directly into the balmy streets of a summer day in 1946 Bez Valley; to the street-brawls of the 1950s' Hillbrow and Yeoville; to the post-war euphoric boom days of Southern Rhodesia, the ensuing bush war, sanctions-busting and, finally, to return full-circle to the sometimes murky otherworld of 'big business' in Johannesburg.


Montague Bentley was born in Boksburg North in 1932. Aged two, his parents moved to Bez Valley. He grew up in the Johannesburg of the '30s and '40s before moving to Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia in his early twenties. He returned to South Africa in the '80s. He is retired and lives in Johannesburg with his third wife. (His second wife was rumoured to have had an affair with Al Capone's nephew in New York.) He has never bought a book in his life and Wide Boy is his first book, written or bought. He denies that Wide Boy is in any way autobiographical - but then he would, wouldn't he?~Wide Boy|X ISBN 0958489076|~4802~11094~~
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