‘Gods, Spies and Lies’ author, John Matisonn, to speak at Midlands Literary Festival


John Matisonn, Author of God, Spies and Lies. Photo: Supplied

JOHN Matisonn, author of God, Spies and Lies, will be joining the line-up of the Midlands Literary Festival, which takes place at Yellowwood in Howick this weekend, writes Estelle Sinkins.

Matisonn began political reporting at the Rand Daily Mail in 1974, and received a prison sentence for refusing to divulge his source in a report about the South African Watergate scandal known as Muldergate.

A foreign correspondent in Washington for the Rand Daily Mail and back in Johannesburg for National Public Radio, he has been published in the New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post and The Observer.

After four years as a broadcast regulator in the Mandela administration and two as editorial director of the short-lived THISDAY newspaper, he became the United Nations’ Chairperson of the Electoral Media Commission in Afghanistan.

He returned from a second tour in Afghanistan to write God, Spies and Lies in Franschhoek in the Western Cape, and now lives in Cape Town,

God Spies and Lies

Gods, Spies and Lies

God, Spies and Lies offers an explosive insider’s account of South Africa since Mandela came to power, how South Africa got here and how things went wrong. It takes you into the room with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, into the Oval Office of the American President and the British Prime Minister’s Chequers country estate, as the fate of southern Africa was being set before and after 1994.

Among its revelations are:

  • How Nelson Mandela studied the Afrikaner Broederbond to end white rule at the same time as he set up the military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961.
  • The story of the apartheid spy who fooled the white liberal elite.
  • What made George Bush Senior change his mind about white rule in Southern Africa.
  • How Robert Mugabe fooled South African intelligence.
  • Why South Africa missed the Information Economy.
  • How Jacob Zuma came under the spell of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • What history tells us about the meaning of the late 2015 student protests.
  • What it would take to get the country back on track.

Matisonn is just one of the many authors heading to the festival in the KZN Midlands.

For the full programme see below:

Saturday, August 27
9 am to 9.30 am: John Conyngham – Hazara: Elegy for an African Farm
9.30 am to 10 am: Brian Khoza – Smiling after lost love
10 am to 10.30 am: Nikki Brighton- Mnandi- A taste of Mphophomeni

10.30 am to 11 am: Tea

11 am to 11.30 am: Thomas Mollett – Inge Lotz Murder Revisited
11.30 am to 12 noon: Mari Pete – Step through
12 noon to 12.30 pm: Darryl Earl David – Church Tourism in SA
12.30 pm to 1 pm: Mike Norris – Artist round the bend

1 pm to 2.30 pm: Lunch

2.30 pm to 3 pm: Elizabeth Pienaar – Bobby
3 pm to 3.30 pm: Allen Goddard – Wendell Berry – Prophet of Bloom
3.30 pm to 4 pm: Irene Fischer – I am still here
4 pm to 4.30 pm: Fikile Hlatshwayo – Blacks do caravan
4.30 pm to 5 pm: Thomas Mollett – Oscar Pistorius vs The Truth

Sunday, August 28
9 am to 9.30 am: Michael Nuttall – Number two to Tutu
9.30 am to 10 am: Elwyn Jenkins – The chronicles of Peach Grove Farm –
a rare children’s book
10 am to 10.30 am: Heinrich Bomkhe – Sarie

10.30 am to 11 am: Tea

11 am to 11.30 am: Chris Mann – Lifelines
11.30 am to 12 noon: Barbara Siedle – The lady in white
12 noon to 12.30 pm: Jackie Cameron – Baking with Jackie Cameron
12.30 pm to 1 pm: Ashwin Desai – Gandhi – stretcher-bearer of Empire

1pm to 2.30 pm: Lunch

2.30 pm to 3 pm: Vincent Reid – Drawn in Africa
3 pm to 3.30 pm: Nkosinathi Sithole – Hunger eats a man
3.30 pm to 4 pm: John Matisonn – God, Lies and Spies
4 pm to 4.30 pm: Jessica Pitchford – Switched at birth

For more information on the festival phone 081 391 8689 or e-mail davidd@ukzn.ac.za or booktownsa@sai.co.za Alternatively, like the Facebook page: Midlands-Literary-Festival-2016.




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