You are invited to participate in the College of Arts and Sciences South African initiative through an online book club. We will read one book a month from October through April (with November and December combined). The books were chosen with an eye to some of the major themes of our year-long program “Kentucky & South Africa: Different Lands, Common Ground” — such as, mining, sports, race, public health, the anti-apartheid movement, and contemporary South Africa. They are all fascinating reads. There will be real-time discussions on Facebook once a month and a discussion forum where you can post questions and opinions any time. Feel free also to start a book club with friends and neighbors, reading these books and meeting face-to-face.
To participate, simply click "join" on our Facebook page. You must be a member of Facebook to join.
Our first book is coordinated with the smell of pigskin that accompanies October. It is Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation by John Carlin. The inspiration for the film Invictus, this non-fiction piece relates the story of how the Springboks’ victory of the 1995 Rugby World Cup helped unite the torn nation of South Africa. Rugby, which had always been an Afrikaner sport, became a tool that Mandela was able to use to bring both whites and blacks together in a common cause.
Toni Morrison writes, “I was immediately mesmerized…Van Niekerk’s achievement is as brilliant as it is haunting.” The novel is about an aging Afrikaner and her maid in the waning days of apartheid. Their complicated relationship illustrates the vast shifts in the culture that are happening around them. The novel offers a glimpse of what reconciliation might look like for the nation of South Africa.