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About Jonathan Ball Publishers

Jonathan Ball Publishers was started in 1976 and is the leading publisher and distributor of English general books in South Africa. They specialise in South African history, politics and current affairs and also publish some fiction. They also act as agents for British and American publishers, marketing and distributing books on their behalf in southern Africa.

Among the many and varied titles distributed in South Africa by JB are the Harry Potter series, probably the biggest success story ever in the field of children's literature. They are also the sole distributors of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and C.S. Lewis' popular stories in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

Jonathan Ball Publishers have won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award on eight occasions with The Dead will Arise by Jeff Peires, The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham, Mandela by Anthony Sampson, The Seed is Mine by Charles van Onselen, Mouthful of Glass by Henk van Woerden and Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred by Mark Gevisser. Jonny Steinberg is the only author to have won the prize twice for Midlands in 2003 and for The Number in 2005.



"I've worked with MyeBook for a few years in my capacity as Digital Coordinator at Jonathan Ball Publishers.
David has a can-do attitude and a passion for digital publishing. He is willing to go beyond the call of duty for his clients and is excellent with deadlines. I would recommend him to others" - Jaclyn Shore, Digital Coordinator at Jonathan Ball Publishers


About the Books.


Dragons and Butterflies

Shani Krebs didn’t fall in with a bad crowd – he was the bad crowd. Born to Hungarian refugees in Johannesburg, South Africa, Shani had a tough childhood. During his national service he started dabbling in drugs and it wasn’t long before he was supplying the Johannesburg party scene with marijuana, LSD, mandrax and cocaine. It was a wild life, filled with girlfriends, narrow escapes and drug binges. His closest friend was his pistol.Then, in 1994 at the birth of South Africa’s democracy, Shani flew to Thailand where he was arrested for heroin trafficking and, after a trial, was sentenced to death.

He was 34. Shani’s sentence was commuted to 100 years, and thus begun the greatest challenge of his life. The first hurdle was to survive in one of the toughest prisons imaginable: the random violence, the appalling diet, and the filth and diseases. Shani not only survived, he eventually rose to command significant respect within the prison system. The second was to stay off drugs after years of addiction. The third was nurturing a long-neglected spiritual side, which he found through his art and exploring his Jewish faith.But what gave him most focus was, in collaboration with his sister Joan, trying to find some way either to be transferred to a South African prison or have his sentence shortened.

He failed in the former but, after serving 18 years – the longest-serving Westerner in a Thai prison – he stepped off a plane at OR Tambo in 2012.South Africa was a changed country, and Shani was a changed man. After adjusting to life on the outside, he is now a talented artist and public speaker, rallying against drug abuse in schools. Dragons & Butterflies tells the remarkable story of a man who reached absolute rock bottom but had the fortitude to rise up again.



50 Most Famous Rugby Quotes

In this book you will see over 50 photos of South Africas most famous rugby stars covering over 50 years of memorable rugby moments.

Sport Stars Featured include: Francious Pienaar, Bryan Habana, John Smit, Jean De Villiers, Morne Styen, Victor Matfield,Schalk Burger, Tendai Mtawaira, Percy Montgomery, Joost van der Westhuizen, BakkiesBotha and Joel Stransky and many more.

This book is a collector dream and will bring back many happy (and a few not so happy)memories of great South African rugby moments.


A Man of Good Hope

In January 1991, when civil war came to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, two-thirds of the city’s population fled. Among them was eight-year-old Asad Abdullahi. His mother murdered by a militiaman, his father somewhere in hiding, he was swept into the great wartime migration that scattered the Somali people throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the world.

Serially betrayed by the people who promised to care for him, Asad lived his childhood at a sceptical remove from the adult world, his relation to others wary and tactical. By the time he had reached the cusp of adulthood, Asad had honed an array of wily talents. At the age of seventeen, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, he made good as a street hustler. He also courted the famously beautiful Foosiya and, to the astonishment of his peers, married her. Buoyed by success in work and in love, Asad put $1 200 into his pocket and made his way down the length of the African continent to Johannesburg, South Africa. And so began a shocking adventure in a country richer and more violent than he could possibly have imagined.

A Man of Good Hope is the story of a person shorn of the things we have come to believe make us human – personal possessions, parents, siblings. And yet Asad’s is an intensely human life, one suffused with dreams and desires and a need to leave something of permanence on this earth.


Ragged Glory

South Africa will have been a free nation for 20 years in 2014. This is the story of how three men – Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – tried to shape its destiny in very different ways. Mandela helped usher in a new democracy with the formulation of one of the best constitutions in the world. But his leadership was not without its flaws as, under his watch, the first seeds of corruption were sown by the predatory elite.

Mbeki brought a dark, complicated personality to the presidency and abandoned Mandela’s consultative approach for a more confrontational one. His focus on building South Africa’s economy was his greatest success but his failure to seriously address the AIDS epidemic in South Africa was an embarrassment and a tragedy. Jacob Zuma’s presidency saw the rise of a chauvinistic elite which questioned the very foundations of the new South Africa and its constitution. Under him, a new, arrogant, security elite began to roll back the human rights culture.

Ray Hartley, by focusing on the ups and downs of three presidencies, has created a rich, complex narrative. In two turbulent decades, South Africa has won its place at the table of free nations, but has lost its moral authority.



The Hunchback Missionary

At a prayer meeting on a cold Rotterdam night, the young clerk Aart Anthonij van der Lingen – a pale, sickly, hunchbacked ‘fish from the North’ – is held in the charismatic Reverend Johannes Kicherer’s thrall. Lured by Kicherer’s passion, he leaves his grey and loveless life to land at the Cape of Good Hope as a lay missionary in 1800.

But when the Missionary Society draws lots to determine where to send the new arrivals, Van der Lingen is sent east and Kicherer north. The hunchback missionary must make his own way in a place that, on the surface, God has forsaken – until, as the pitiless landscape and the blank faces of his would-be congregants strip Van der Lingen incrementally of his pride, he learns that he has nothing to give to the Africa that is ultimately his salvation.

Based on historical figures drawn from the Cape Town Church Archives, The Hunchback Missionary is a sweeping narrative of vanity and humility, of the sacred and the profane; of how Europe’s rampant strides across newly colonised Africa led to the abyss from which a continent still struggles, today, to retreat.



Die Staat vs Oscar

Die enigste Oscar-verhaal in Afrikaans deur 'n skrywer wat dáár was - van die oomblik toe hy onskuldig gepleit het tot die laaste dag van uitspraak. Die Staat vs. Oscar is die volledige pakket: Propvol feite, regsintrige en insig, maar geskryf soos 'n naelbyt-spanningsverhaal.

“Oscar klop aan die deur en Reeva kom maak vir hom oop. Die man wat oor die drumpel trap, wat vir die laaste keer by hierdie huis instap, is Oscar Pistorius, skatryk, alomgeliefde wêreldberoemde Olimpiese held. Die man wat oor minder as 24 uur by dieselfde deur sal uit steier, sal ’n ánder Oscar wees. Berug, bebloed, bedroef, ’n flentersgebreekte spieël van homself.”

Dis die verhoor van die jaar, die storie van die dekade. Dis ’n liefdesverhaal wat ’n hofdrama geword het, ’n sprokie wat in bloed geëindig het. Die Oscar Pistorius-saak is al van hoek tot kant bestudeer en ontleed, in berigte en debatte bespreek. Maar nog nooit is dit van die begin tot die end as ’n spanningsverhaal vertel nie. En dít is wat Marida Fitzpatrick in Die Staat vs. Oscar doen. Sy weef die skrikwekkende gebeure van daardie nag en die mees dramatiese dele van die verhoor op só ’n manier ineen dat die boek soos ’n misdaadriller lees.

Tussendeur dié boeiende vertelling is uittreksels uit roerende onderhoude met van die betrokkenes se naastes. Die boek bevat ook ’n interessante ontrafeling van die tegniese aspekte van die verhoor: Wat het die ballistiek, die getuienis oor die gille en Oscar se twee verwere uiteindelik vir hom beteken?

Dit word alles geïllustreer met foto’s wat op die toneel geneem is en grafiese voorstellings. Die Staat vs. Oscar is ’n fassinerende storie wat deurentyd aangryp en meesleur.



Bitter Dawn

The man standing next to me was a tall, good-looking man of Indian heritage in his early 30s. Shrien Dewani seemed calm and composed. The only outward signs of trauma I could notice were the two large, dark purple bags under each of his eyes. I offered him a seat. He accepted and we started to talk. Over the following 45 minutes, the British businessman told me about the murder of his wife, Anni, 40 hours earlier.’

So begins Bitter Dawn, Dan Newling’s journalistic investigation into a crime that ignited firestorms of outrage across the world. At first the story seems simple enough: Shrien Dewani, a young British businessman on honeymoon in Cape Town, arranges the murder of his newlywed bride in a clumsy hijacking. But a closer examination of the crime reveals some uncomfortable truths.

Over four years - from the moment he interviewed Shrien Dewani just two days after Anni's death, to the eve of the Briton's 2014 murder trial - Newling has painstakingly pieced together the many pieces of this puzzle. Containing facts hitherto unpublished, interviews with witnesses until now unheard from, and the fruits of deep journalistic research into the South Africa's criminal justice system, Bitter Dawn lifts the lid on a crime far more complex than the media narrative has so far assumed.

While it may be difficult to find anyone who believes Shrien Dewani to be innocent, the facts Newling has uncovered provide compelling reasons to question the establishment story. Bitter Dawn is a gripping work of investigative journalism which reveals some worrying truths, not only about a bloody murder, but about its investigation, South African politics, global media ethics and how we all, as news-consumers, respond to stories when boundaries between right and wrong, between innocent and guilty, and between truth and lies, become blurred.





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