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Beauty personified through written word
2016-07-29

Description: Zubeida Jaffer Tags: Zubeida Jaffer

Dr Thozama April, University of Fort Hare
historian, Zubeida Jaffer, current Writer-in-Residence
in the Department of Communication Sciences
at the UFS and author of Beauty of the Heart:
The life and times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke
and Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector
of the UFS at the book launch of Zubeida Jaffer.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

“It is quite easy to write a book in a professional capacity but very difficult to write a book from the heart.”

These were the words of Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), at the launch of Beauty of the Heart: The life and times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke by Zubeida Jaffer, the current Writer-in-Residence in the Department of Communication Sciences at the UFS.

Perseverance and dedication yields results

Writing a book from the heart is exactly what Jaffer, an award-winning South African journalist and author, set out to do. “When you make the choice to write a story, you need to be very dedicated,” she said.

As this is Jaffer’s third book, one would think that she would have no difficulty in putting pen to paper. On the contrary, she mentioned that it was, in fact, the hardest book she has written because the narrative was not easy to get hold of.

“I wanted Charlotte’s voice to come through, and it took my team and I three years of research and writing,” she said.

Maxeke’s story helps to shape South African society

The three-person panel, hosted by the UFS Sasol Library and SUN MeDIA, and chaired by Prof Jansen, included Jaffer and Dr Thozama April, University of Fort Hare historian who had done her PHD thesis on Maxeke.

Dr April said that Maxeke’s life story is an inspiring one, as it encourages a rethinking of established narratives. “These established narratives have made it possible for historians and researchers to write about the shaping of South African society,” she said.

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