Thursday 7 April 2016

Interview on Chai FM

Thanks to Johannesburg Jewish community radio station Chai FM and Chad Thomas for hosting me again, as they did just over a year ago for my previous book Drinking with Ghosts; it's always a pleasure! The podcast of my Human Rights Day (21 March 2016) interview with Chad about my book A Taste of Bitter Almonds is downloadable here:

Spoiler: Thomas and the organisations mentioned below are all aware of the defamation campaign against me.

Part of the interview involves work I will be doing shortly on the South African Cities of Refuge Project - my project alongside South African PEN to get Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Stellenbosch on board the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), a network of more than 50 municipalities which have agreed to host persecuted journalists, writers, visual artists, and musicians for a two-year interim exile period during which they can sort their lives out. Among the broad consultations on the Project from its launch in 2014, were engagements with the Cape Town Holocaust Centre, and with the brand-new Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, the idea being that because the Project and these Centres have a converging interest in migration and countering bigotry, exiled ICORN Guest Writers could use the Centres as platforms for debates and exhibitions of their works - works that are usually outlawed in their home countries. 

Separately, the Johannesburg Centre and I will be screening a film on the justice process at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda at Arusha, Tanzania. The Centre is a suitably severe, yet light-filled venue as you an see in the photographs below: the external walls incorporate railway tracks (railways were used as transporters of the doomed in the Holocaust and other Genocides), which then vanish in the atrium, being transformed into recessed shafts of light; while the internal walls are of a rough brick laid in the same British masonry method that was used at both Dachau and at the Women's Jail at Constitution Hill. Although it will only open in a month or so, demand to use it has been so high that it has already hosted an exhibition on "Germany's Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context".