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Press Release

The first book by academic and journalist Azad Essa has been called controversial, brash and insightful, attracting much interest and favourable reviews. 'I have no doubt that this will be the first book of many. I am honoured to be associated with it,’ says Ferial Haffajee, City Press editor-in-chief.

Press Release: Zuma’s Bastard is here…

No, not an actual bastard - we’re talking about a book here. As the title and cover suggest, Azad Essa’s first book is bound to get people talking, if not in the president’s bedroom then at least in the SA book industry. With controversial subject matter, brash and insightful opinions, a foreword by Ferial Haffajee and an innovative underground marketing campaign to back it up (with 2,600 members and counting on the Facebook page), Zuma’s Bastard sounds the welcome call of a critical voice of the next generation.

Book specs:

Title: Zuma’s Bastard: Encounters With A Desktop Terrorist
Authors: Azad Essa
ISBN: 978-1-92013-731-1
RRP: R145
Pages: 176pp
Size: 210mm x 148mm
Published by Two Dogs
Distributed by Jacana Media

About the book:

Azad Essa is a young South African going places. He doesn’t drink but he’s not scared of a pub; he’s Muslim but he has a sense of humour; he’s young but he’s savvy and politically aware. And he’s got opinions worth listening to. A journalist, columnist and lecturer, Essa came to prominence writing the Accidental Academic, a provocative Thought Leader blog that challenged the established assumptions of contemporary South African culture, politics and events. From day one, it was never shy of controversy - reader reaction was often outraged, always engaged.

Now, a year after winning Best Political Blog at the 2009 SA Blog Awards, Essa presents his first book and, with it, introduces an important young voice to a new audience. With writing adapted from and inspired by the Accidental Academic, Zuma’s Bastard tackles race and religion head-on, provides an alternative take on the enigma of Julius Malema, gives fresh insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict, casts new light on old stereotypes, vents the frustrations and fears of the next generation - and ultimately offers us all hope for the future.

About the author:

Azad Essa is a journalist, columnist and aspiring filmmaker. He completed a multinational Global Studies MA in 2005 and spent several years in South African academia before launching his journalism career. He calls Durban home, but is currently working for the Al Jazeera Network in Doha, Qatar.

About the cover:

The cover - described as ‘dangerous-looking’ and ‘funky, raw and smart’ by the judges - was the winning design in the inaugural Two Dogs Young Visual Designer Cover Competition. It was designed by Saaleha Bamjee, a Johannesburg-based designer and writer.

Comment from the publisher:

‘Zuma’s Bastard is an edgy, ballsy, different take on South Africa and the world, and it perfectly reflects the Two Dogs attitude of publishing innovative and exciting titles with something important to say. We were sold on the idea because Azad is clearly a young South African going places, a fact brought home midway through the production process when he was headhunted to work for Al Jazeera in Doha. I can’t wait to see the reaction to this title.’ - Tim Richman, Two Dogs.

Pre-publication comments:

‘Azad is a journalist for the 21st century. He is at the beginning of a professional life of activism, action and a whole lot of fun. I have no doubt that this will be the first book of many. I am honoured to be associated with it.’ – Ferial Haffajee, City Press editor-in-chief

‘At once tjatjarag and lyrical, the digitally compressed and accelerated voice of a South Africa that no media tribunal could ever silence.’ - Nic Dawes, editor-in-chief Mail & Guardian

‘Azad manages to weave the uncomfortable contradictions and truths of our fractured society into easy flowing, fast-paced prose… [His] writing shows sensitivity and depth, hooking you from the first paragraph and leaving you wanting more. This is insight. It’s a fresh, youthful take on one of the most complex, frustrating and interesting countries in the world. The book pays homage to its roots as a blog - showing a rich mix of strong opinion with breezy and accessible writing. - Matthew Buckland, Thought Leader founder and publisher of

‘The real power in this collection lies in its author's age: the book is a missive from the generation who don't remember apartheid, and it's got a lot to say to those of us who do. If Essa is any indication, the next crop of writers is exactly what South Africa needs - the man is abrasive, engaged, uncowed.’ – Kevin Bloom, journalist and author of Ways of Staying

‘Zuma's Bastard compellingly offers fresh ideas to tired problems with a keenness and engagement that, I think, makes Azad one of the most lucid voices of our generation.’ – Khadija Patel,

‘Zuma's Bastard is the new generation's arrogant and self-critical voice about Durban, South Africa and Africa in the world. Azad Essa, a Bollywood-soaked, Indian-battered, black South African-tinged, accidental academic and incidental journalist - who has seen India and Kashmir, India better, in Kashmir, Pakistan, the so-called Middle East and Europe - leaves no holy cows untaunted – nay he even imagines them as beefburgers…His popularity is catching but the moral questions he asks of us cannot be sidestepped. Read this book, buy the T-shirt, be with it and get angry because the author takes his jokes (often us) seriously.’ – Professor Ari Sitas, Head of Sociology, UCT

Note to book editors/reviewers

Please contact Thabiso Mahlape – [email][email protected]; 011 628 3200 – if you would like a review copy of the book, or to arrange an interview with Azad Essa or Saaleha Bamjee, or for more information on the Two Dogs Young Visual Designer Cover Competition.


The title is explained in the book…