‘It was at that moment back in 1988 that I reached a crossroad in my life. I had the choice either to accept my fate and let cancer kill me, or I had to fight back and give myself a real chance at living again. And with that realisation I made myself a pledge: I was going to beat the disease and chase my dream.’
Mark Pilgrim had wanted to ‘be on radio’ since he was thirteen years old, yet it always seemed like an unobtainable dream. It took a life-threatening illness to motivate him to pursue his passion.
At the age of eighteen his radio dream was on the back burner. Mark had just completed the first year of a B.Com degree at university and had secured a bursary to complete his studies. Things were looking good. Then the blow fell: he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After surgery and throughout months of chemotherapy his initial despair was transformed into determination. He found the inner strength to fight the illness, change his career direction, and to make his lifelong dream a reality.
Beyond the Baldness is a personal account of Mark’s journey of determination, following every opportunity to audition for radio and television. From the humble beginnings of living in a trailer park, today Mark is one of South Africa’s best-known and most recognisable personalities, having deejayed on South Africa’s biggest radio stations and hosted some of the most memorable television shows like ‘Big Brother’ and SA’s biggest ever game show ‘The Power of 10’. His voice is also used in countless radio and television commercials.
As a motivational speaker, Mark spends a lot of his time engaging with delegates at conferences, chatting about his experience with cancer as well as the sudden heart attack he had at the age of 38.
His positive approach to life is inspirational and it will encourage everyone who reads this book to chase their dreams!
The third book in Mike Hardwich’s Memoirs of a Vet trilogy.
“So far it had been a blissfully peaceful weekend. A restful break such as this is what every vet dreams of. The standby vehicle had remained stationary and the telephone had been silent. The veterinary hospital was empty even though the days of the last week had been very busy. Actually, it seemed too good to be true. As it happened, it was.”
It takes a lot to unsettle a vet who has been in practice for a career spanning a good few decades, but when Mike Hardwich learnt that the wattled crane from the Hlatikulu sanctuary with the badly broken wing needing his urgent attention was also the only breeding male in captivity in South Africa, and one of a highly endangered species, he knew he could not afford to make any mistakes. This and all the other stories in this the third book in his memoirs trilogy, following on from the bestselling The Lion and the Lamb and The Rhino and the Rat, makes riveting and unforgettable reading.
With his infectious mix of humour and humility, and drawing on a broad range of experiences, Mike recounts his endearing tales of treating creatures wild, wonderful and sometimes downright weird, including an encounter with an untrustworthy zebra, a llama in the Midlands who contemptuously spat in his face, and domestic pets whose owners probably needed more treatment than they did. We get to know Mike’s own story along the way, as the boy who carried baby chicks in his school blazer pocket and who never got to ride his first horse, to his grandmother’s talkative parrot who could command a span of oxen, and to the next generation of animal carers in his daughter Dale, whose patience and gentle skills reap multiple rewards for all.
The first book in Mike Hardwich’s Memoirs of a Vet trilogy.
The stories in this book are first-hand experiences of Mike Hardwich, both a vet and a farmer, who originally practised in Pietermaritzburg, but now practises at The Heritage Vet in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal.
Amongst other stories Mike tells of the birth of the first orang-utan in Africa, a C section on a marmoset, complications with farm animals, problems with elephants, the anaesthesia of a fruit bat, racehorses and their crooked owners, obstacles resulting from African superstition, and introduces us to his family’s pet menagerie.
The title of the book is taken from a commission Mike received to get a lion and a lamb to lie down together to promote peace at a time of heightened racial tension in South Africa, in 1992. The advert went on to win the award for ‘Best Advertisement for Peace’, world-wide, at Cannes.
In places this book is laugh-out-loud funny, and in others incredibly sad – it is suitable for all ages, for all animal lovers, and is a must read for all aspirant vets.
The second book in Mike Hardwich’s Memoirs of a Vet trilogy.
Following on from the success of his first book, The Lion and the Lamb, this second collection of stories from Mike Hardwich is every bit as captivating as the first.
As a country vet whose territory covers the rich valleys and farmland of KwaZulu-Natal, his clients range from cattle farmers to owners of domestic pets, from game ranchers to circuses. The demands on a vet are constant and often arrive at very inconvenient times. Called upon day and night, Mike brings to each case his skills, ingenuity and years of experience, and although he never loses sight of his aim of preserving and improving the lives of the animals he is called upon to treat, sometimes he is sorely challenged by their owners. Whether he is describing the difficult birth of a two-headed calf, discovering sheep scab on the Isle of Man, caring for Dorothy the elephant in her declining years, or helping Reggie the rat’s grieving owner accept his impending demise, Mike’s compassion and pragmatic humour never seem to flag.
These enjoyable tales of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a veterinarian who always sleeps with one ear cocked, will leave you wanting more.
“On my better days friends find me flirting with the nurses, cigarette in one hand and scotch in the other, but if I listen carefully I can hear the tribute concerts starting up. There they are, celebrating my life like never before, and here I am, knock knock knockin’ on heaven’s door. That rhymes, doesn’t it? I think I might even feel a song coming on but I’m so tired and the words are slipping away and the music is fading into a soft chant round my bed and Madala was spot on, he said when God says He want you, we can’t run away. I know Bafo, I know. I’m not running anymore.”
Skollie, saint, scholar, hippest of hippies, imperfect musician with a perfect imagination, Syd Kitchen was, like all great artists, born to enrich his art and not himself. Plagued by drugs, alcohol and depression, too much of an outlaw to be embraced by record companies, he frequently sold his furniture to cover production costs of his albums, seduced fans at concerts and music festivals worldwide with his dazzling ‘Afro-Saxon’ mix of folk, jazz, blues and rock interspersed with marvellously irreverent banter, and finally became the subject of several compelling documentaries, one of which -‘Fool in a Bubble’ - premiered in New York in 2010.
Says Donvé: “There are many creative geniuses in the world who never receive the recognition they deserve. Syd Kitchen was one of them. He was also a friend who asked me to write his biography. I was always intrigued by the complexity and duality of his personality. But these facts alone were not enough to persuade me to write this book. The primary reasons were that Syd’s story was deeply compelling and needed to be told, and there are far too few worthy literary portraits of South African musicians available.”
“He was like a little leprechaun. Everyone danced around him because he brought the magic in.” – ZETA PONTIN
“Syd was the one who said I will do it, I will make a living as an artist. He was one of those people who carried the dream.” – RICK ANDREW
Brutally dragged 780 metres beneath a taxi – a young woman’s inspiring story of survival, courage, and the will to live.
‘13 September 2011. The story would shock thousands and be remembered by many for years to come. It would be plastered all over the papers and continue to attract interest well after the shock factor of what happened had passed. Reports and articles would be written, and “facts”, as given to reporters by some of those involved and willing to be interviewed, would be recounted and repeated in all forms of public media over the months and even years that followed. And although these versions would generate widespread outrage, none was entirely accurate.The stories were about me. I was there.
I am Kim McCusker, “the girl who was dragged by a taxi”.’
The deliberate and malicious act of one man would impact and change Kim McCusker’s life forever. This single act would also impact the lives of the people who were close to her – her family and friends. It would go far beyond that too, and impact the lives of people she may never meet or know. This single act was the senseless attack on her by a man with his taxi full of passengers and one which most people wouldn’t survive.
Kim’s life may have been compromised but she is stronger and more determined than ever before. Scarred – But Not For Life is not only about what happened one day in September in 2011. That is the part of Kim that many already know. This book is about much more than that. Her story is not about being a victim or about being a consequence of another person’s choice. It is about making choices for yourself with what is available to you, taking control and surviving and thriving in life despite what comes your way.
Kim’s overarching message is: That which seems impossible, hopeless or overwhelming is never bigger than you are.
‘I am not recovering. I am recovered. You, too, can be a recovered addict.’
Imagine going from schoolboy experimentation with drugs to being so addicted that you begin planning your parents’ murder so that you can get money (for more drugs) from your inheritance! Sadly Marco’s story is not an isolated one.
Marco Broccardo was an ordinary boy from an ordinary family. He had parents who loved him and provided him with a safe and caring home. He had older sisters who doted on their little brother. He had friends and he played sport at school. When he experimented with weed and then with coke and ecstasy, he was no different from the circle he socialised with and partied with at weekends. Drugs made him feel great. What was the harm?
The trouble came when supply and demand were out of balance and a harmless joint and a couple of pills no longer did the trick. Marco needed cash – more and more of it. He became a runner for the dealers who operated in the clubs where Joburg teenagers went to party. He had money and he had drugs. Life seemed good. Then two things happened: he found he was consuming more of the druglords’ stock than he was selling, and he discovered crack cocaine. The moment of choice came in no more than a heartbeat. For him it was a no brainer. Marco chose rocks.
From that moment on he cast everything and everyone aside in his ruthless pursuit of his next high. He took his family to the brink of financial ruin and emotional despair; he lied his way through rehabs and halfway houses; he used every genuine offer of help as opportunities to plan his next spectacular relapse; and he dismissed several close calls with death as signs that he just needed to be more careful next time. He didn’t care. Chasing the high was his only mission in life, no matter who or what he destroyed in the process.
Until the day he made the dramatic and life-altering decision to change. How he did it and what he has done with his life since then are nothing short of miraculous.
This is Marco’s story.
Dov Fedler was a laatlammetjie, born and bred in Johannesburg in 1940 just as Hitler was getting into his stride. A third child was not on his parents’ ‘want-list’. It was hard enough supporting two much older children and a printing business struggling to exist.
When Dov was about three his mother had a ‘nervous breakdown’ which is when he remembers seeing his first pencil and knowing precisely what it was that he wanted to do with his life.
There are no coincidences in Dov’s life. He believes that a hand of destiny has steered his path. Many dramatic encounters (not with aliens or spirits, but with everyday people) have shaped him and he wouldn’t have missed any of it.
Dov’s story is intensely personal and honest, with a powerful combination of humour, emotion and community history. Out of Line attempts to do a few short things. It is an autobiography but it is also an attempt to capture a particular history of a specific generation; that of the Jewish baby boomers who descended from mainly Lithuanian stock.
Dov has been a leading South African cartoonist for more than 50 years, and his earliest dream was to work for Walt Disney. He got to visit Disney World and could not wait to leave. He has never been to Europe or Brakpan and is a pure product of Johannesburg. The last on his wish list was to become a political cartoonist. He is married to a doctor, has three daughters, a doctor, a lawyer and author and a media boff, has three grandchildren and a cat called Smudge.