Cape Town’s Gangster State launch back on as new venue found
CapeTalk has agreed to host the all-ticket launch at its Green Point studios after Exclusive Books and the V&A Waterfront bowed out
Thursday's Cape Town launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh's book Gangster State will happen after all.
CapeTalk has agreed to host the all-ticket launch at its Green Point studios after Exclusive Books and the V&A Waterfront bowed out due to public safety concerns.
Tessa van Staden‚ CapeTalk programme manager‚ said: "In the spirit of supporting members of the media — and freedom of speech — CapeTalk [and Primedia Broadcasting] decided to make one of our conference areas available."
Myburgh and Penguin Books SA announced the news on Twitter after criticising the original hosts for cancelling the launch of the book about alleged corruption by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
"We look forward to an evening of free and frank discussion on the contents of this explosive book‚" publisher Penguin Random House said in a media release.
Mervyn Sloman‚ owner of The Book Lounge in the Cape Town city centre‚ said he would have been willing to host the event in his store if necessary.
"I have said we will be more than happy to have the launch tomorrow evening‚" said Sloman. "I think it's an important book and conversations about these types of books are necessary."
This support comes after Myburgh tweeted that the event was in danger of being cancelled.
Friends of democracy and free speech, help me mobilize a little here. @VnAWaterfront and @ExclusiveBooks now want to cancel tonight’s #GangsterState launch because they’re scared of a few rascals. Are we going to allow this to happen? pic.twitter.com/7QLlHajQXB— Pieter-Louis Myburgh (@PLMyburgh) April 11, 2019
The V&A Waterfront and Exclusive Books were the targets of criticism on social media for scrapping the planned launch.
Journalist Karyn Maughan said: "I know for a fact that the V&A Waterfront manages multiple and constant safety threats‚ including potential acts of terrorism. So being scared about a book launch seems … odd."
Wits University journalism lecturer Anton Harber said: "Think again, Exclusive Books. Your reputation will be irreparably damaged if you don't stand by the writers who are at the core of your business."
Angela Quintal‚ Africa programme co-ordinator for The Committee to Protect Journalists‚ said: "When corporate SA abets fascism — which the V&A Waterfront and Exclusive Books appear to be doing here — you know it's an even slippier slope! They must do the right thing and ensure the book launch goes ahead and that this time there is adequate security."
The social justice activism group United Behind said it would hold a public launch and reading of Gangster State on Monday outside the Slave Lodge in Adderley Street‚ in Cape Town city centre.
"We read books! We value thought and knowledge! We will never allow fascism to arise on the basis of state capture‚" the organisation said in a statement.
It said it would send a delegation to Exclusive Books at the V&A Waterfront to hand over a memorandum supporting freedom of thought‚ expression and justice.