News & Media

Book discussion underscores the importance of World Book and Copyright Day

In celebration of UNESCO’s World Book & Copyright Day, hosted annually on 23 April, Unisa Library & Information Services hosted a book discussion with acclaimed author, journalist and long-time activist, Zubeida Jaffer, on 22 April.

Jaffer is the author of Our Generation; Beauty of the Heart: The Life and Times of Charlotte Maxeke, and Love in the Time of Treason: The Life Story of Ayesha Dawood, among others. She recently co-edited the book Decolonising Journalism Education in South Africa with Professor Colin Chasi, Professor Ylva Rodny-Gumede and Mvuso Ponono. It was published in 2021 through Unisa Press. Jaffer’s work has earned her numerous local and international awards. These include the Muslim Views Achiever Award as well as the Honour Medal for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri.

Author Zubeida Jaffer with her book Beauty of the Heart: The Life and Times of Charlotte Maxeke

Speaking at the event, Jaffer described her journalistic journey under the harsh conditions of apartheid as well as her pursuit for truth and freedom of expression. In the early 1990s, she wanted to deepen her journalistic prowess to become a published author. “I believe that you can achieve anything you wish and that you can teach yourself, but you also need a teacher,” she said, highlighting that she was privileged to have been mentored by struggle stalwart Judge Albie Sachs.

Her memoir, Our Generation, was published in 2003. It holds detailed accounts of the torture and racist attacks she experienced under the apartheid regime. “I had to go back and recall all the hard times I had endured in order to write with honesty,” she said.

Her work as a senior staff member at Independent Newspapers in Cape Town was met with disdain by “a small group of white men”, who resisted her role which entailed diversifying the organisation in 1997. She was determined to publish the story of the great struggle and organising efforts of Charlotte Maxeke, and in 2016, Beauty of the heart: The Life and Times of Charlotte Maxeke was published. After Dr Thozama April did her PhD on Maxeke, Jaffer followed suit with a read on Maxeke’s life journey that was more accessible to the public beyond academia.

Jaffer told attendees she believes in always finding solutions and contributing to repairing systematic raptures. She started a publishing house, Number10 Publishers, as a campaign to reclaim all her copyright on work which had been previously exploited. She urged writers to protect their copyright and treat their intellectual property with as much attention to detail as possible. “Never sign your rights away,” she said, adding that writing is the soul of one’s identity.

Visit her website for more information on the author’s books, copyright campaigns, and more.

* By Natalia Molebatsi, Marketing Coordinator, Unisa Library

Publish date: 2022-05-10 00:00:00.0