7 non-fiction book releases to add to your TBR

As the year draws to a close, readers can usually expect the release of some really great non-fiction books. That’s definitely the situation with South African publishing. There have been a number of books released dealing with varying but all equally interesting topics. The Daily Vox team rounds up a few to add to the TBR. 

My Land Obsession by Bulelwa Mabasa 

In this book, Bulelwa Mabasa outlines some of the notable legal cases she has led and the lessons she has drawn from them. Mabasa is a director and the head of the land reform, restitution and tenure practise at Werksmans Attorneys. In 2018, she was appointed by president Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidential expert advisory panel on land reform and agriculture. In this book, she explains what sparked her deep passion and interest in land justice and land reform. Mabasa describes in the book the role played by her mentors to get her to where she is. She also dives into the professional and personal challenges she has faced over the years. 

Cleaner’s Boy by Patric Tariq Mellet

Author of The Life of 1652, Patric Tariq Mellet autobiography is an in-depth look at the undefeated spirit Mellet has had throughout his life. The book looks at how Mellet has lived a life torn between many different identities and how the question of who he really was has always defined and troubled him. In the prologue, he writes that in 1997 he became Patric William Tariq Mellet at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen. This was because previously he had been known as “De Goede” which was neither of his parents’ names. With the change of name, he finally carried his parents’ names. The book tells the story of the road he took through life to get to that point. 


“The Lie of 1652” debunks colonial and apartheid land myths

Samurai Sword Murder by Nicole Engelbrecht 

This was a case that shocked South Africa. In 2008, an 18-year-old boy walked into his high school armed with a samurai sword with a plan to wreck violence on the school. At the end of the day, 16-year-old Jacques Pretorius was left dead and three others were brutally injured. There was much speculation, confusion and horror following the violent incident. Speculation was rife about what caused him to carry out the brutal act from his music obsessions to being influenced by Krugersdorp killer Cecilia Steyn. Now fourteen years later Morné Harme is out on parole. In this book, Nicole Engelbrecht aims to put together the pieces of the tragedy and show what exactly happened and why. 

Stellenbosch: Murder Town by Julian Jansen 

Stellenbosch is world renowned for its wine, gorgeous scenery, and beautiful people. It’s the home of students working towards their future, successful businessmen and respected professors. But don’t let the luxury and blue mountains fool you. The sleepy town hides numerous crimes that rocked this community, the country and the world. The acclaimed author and journalist Julian Jansen’s third book reads like a crime novel and contains never before published information on each of the crimes. The book shines a light on the high profile cases as well as the lesser known ones to highlight to true horror. 


Book Extract – Stellenbosch: Murder Town Two Decades of Shocking Crimes

Farm Killings by Nechama Brodie 

Renowned journalist and violence researcher Dr. Nechama Brodie takes on an important topic in her latest book: farm killings and murders. Farm killings make up less than half a percent of all homicides reported in South Africa. However, the attention they garner from the media, politicians and various other groupings in South Africa is often disproportional. The reason for this is while very few farm murders are committed for political reasons, the response to them is political. In the book, Brodie aims to challenge the myths around farm killings. Brodie does this through examining news reports, data, legal cases and expert research to make sense of the underlying reality of violence.  


Statistics surrounding South Africa’s farm murder rate are more political than accurate

In the Name of the People by various authors 

This book which features several different authors takes a closer look at populism. It examines how populism is “rewiring the world”. The authors analyse 13 countries across the world to understand what populism is and how it’s impacting on the global world order. Some of the authors involved in the book include Greg Mills, Lyal White, Christopher Clapham and Tendai Biti amongst others. They look at Argentina, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Hungary, Brazil and others. The central questions the book aims to answer is whether populism is evolving into a threat to countries around the world and whether there is a way to return to rational policy-making. 

Everybody’s War edited by Jonathan Whittall, Jehan Bseiso and Michiel Hofman 

Put together by the MSF analysis department, this book focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis and humanitarian disaster. Ten years after the war started in Syria, the book aims to focus on the humanitarian and medical costs of the conflict. Each of the eight chapters in the book go in-depth into key humanitarian and medical dimensions of the Syrian war. The book explores the politics of aid in the Syrian war and conflict. The book features different writers, academics, analysts and humanitarian practitioners. It has been edited by MSF’s Jonathan Whittall, Jehan Bseiso and Michiel Hofman. The book has been commissioned and produced by MSF.