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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Nasty Women Talk Back: these are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political while resisting and challenging the patriarchy

Women, womyn & womxn: Are they really nasty?

This collection contains humour and pathos; it an easy read, despite being academically grounded and completely relevant. Wonderful doodles at the start of each essay soften the page. This is a want-to-read book on an extremely important topic.

In South Africa the Fallist movement became an extremely important platform to discuss gender, while #MeToo has become a global phenomenon. Ashanti Kunene, a Fallist-leader, is one of the contributors.

Other essays include “Pussies are not for grabbing” (Joy Watson), “My arms are tired of holding this sign” (Amanda Gouws), “Oh, no you can’t go to heaven in a broke down car” (Anastasia Slamat), “I’m with her” (Zama Khanyile), “To Womb it may concern” (Christi van der Westhuizen), “Womb with a (very strong) view” (Helen Moffet) and “Diary of an Indian woman” (Aarti Narse); but there are many more – twenty eight in total.

The idea for the collection was born, cradled and nurtured between friends who wanted to create a space for writing and thinking about the women’s marches.

The group of feminists who contributed to this collection used the marches and the posters inspired by the marches as a vehicle which galvanised women into action to put pen to paper and show fervour for ongoing feminist activism.

The nexus of this beautifully written and evocatively illustrated collection is telling narratives that link very personal stories with deeply political issues.

These are the stories told by nasty women who are making the personal political, who are seeking to live their lives in ways that resist and challenge patriarchy.

Through their very intimate nature these are stories that speak to the creation of a different kind of social order, one based on equity, the promotion of human rights and social justice.

The presidential campaign in the USA grabbed the global imagination. It also grabbed the feminist imagination, presenting the hope that if a woman could become the president of the USA, women throughout the world would finally break through the reinforced glass ceiling.

However, when it didn’t happen, the lost opportunity became the metaphorical kick in the feminist gut on a global scale.

Through the subsequent misogyny, vulgarity, lewd comments, the pussy-grabbing video, and the threats of the erosion of feminist activism in the trenches, worldwide a deep mourning arose from the feminist community. It was the name calling of “nasty women” that really smarted. Initial feelings of anger gave rise to empowerment of women – those who talk back to patriarchy – to embrace the label of “nasty women”.

LAPA Publishers has signed an agreement with Imbali to help market these books.

Book details


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Steinhoff en die Stellenbosse Boys #1 na slegs een week!

As julle wonder waarom LAPA met ’n wintie wip in die stap rondloop, wel, ons Steinhoff-boek is nommer 1 na slegs een week!

Die embargo is op 29 Junie gelig en teen 7 Julie plaas Nielsen Bookdata Steinhoff en die Stellenbosse Boys nommer 1 op die algehele niefiksielys, asook op die lys van Suid-Afrikaansvervaardigde boeke.

Boekbesonderhede


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Februarie is die maand van die liefde! LAPA bied met trots ’n smorgasbord van liefdesverhale aan hulle lesers

Rose vir Roselle
Rosita Oberholster

’n Ontroue verloofde en haglike finansies bring Roselle terug op die familieplaas wat hare sal word wanneer haar twee tantes die dag nie meer daar is nie.

Terug hier op La Roseraie lyk dit nie asof die spogroosplaas so winsgewend is as wat haar tantes haar laat verstaan het nie. Dalk was dit, maar nou kort die plaas ’n ferm hand. Droogtes het hul tol geëis en mense haal nie meer so baie geld vir hierdie eksotiese blomme uit nie.

Om alles te kroon, het haar tantes ’n swerwer wat vir kos en verblyf werk, ingeneem. Roselle vertrou hom nie. Wie is hy en waar kom hy vandaan? Wat soek hy hier? Haar tantes weet nie en hy weier om haar te sê toe sy hom direk vra.

Tog, hy help en om vorentoe te boer, sal sy die swerwer se hulp nodig hê.

Haar eksverloofde se meesterlike vermoë om te manipuleer het egter steeds gevolge en Rosalie se trots maak dat sy weier om die swerwer se raad te vra.

Rose vir Roselle is ’n meer verwikkelde, langer romanse wat gekenmerk word deur sterk verhoudings en karakters. Die skrywer het probeer om nie net te fokus op die ontwikkeling van die broodnodige romanse tussen die hoofkarakters nie, sy het ook ’n paar verrassingselemente ingewerk om lesers se lekker te laat vermenigvuldig.

Dit is Rosita Oberholster se eerste SuperRomanza. Sy het die ATKV-Woordveertjieprys vir Romanses in 2017 met Troue in ’n towerbos gewen.

Rose vir Roselle is geskryf ter nagedagtenis aan die skrywer se babasussie wat net sewe weke oud geword het – haar naam was Roselle. Die baba se graf dra die inskripsie “Laat die kindertjies na My toe kom…” en word ook in die boek genoem.

Liefde op Petit Paris
Frenette van Wyk

In die ou Kaap de Goede Hoop stap ’n jongmeisie aan wal ná die vervolging van Protestante in Frankryk. Omdat Royale op die seereis haar ouers verloor het, is sy nou ’n weeskind in ’n land wat sy nog nooit gesien het nie. Die goewerneur wys Aragon as haar voog aan, ook ’n Hugenoot wat vroeër aan die Kaap ’n nuwe begin kom maak het.

Aragon is gekant teen Royale se liefde vir balletdans – dié ydele vermaak wat aan Louis die Veertiende se hof so modieus is – en wil haar nie toelaat om kontak met jongmans te hê nie. Dit is egter nie al wat Royale hinder nie, want sy weet nie waarheen met haar romantiese gevoelens vir haar voog nie, en die swaard van ’n huwelik met sy neef hang oor haar kop.

Boonop is dit ook nie net Royale wat besef wat ’n onweerstaanbaar aantreklike man Aragon is nie! Die ander vrou, Amalia, het boonop ’n dodelike wapen: Die plaas Petit Paris, waarop Aragon boer, behoort aan haar…

Lenteliefde
Alma Carstens

Milan keer ná haar suster se dood terug na SA om haar swaer en sy kinders by te staan. Ou gevoelens begin weer blom, maar wat steek Etienne vir haar weg? Mag Milan hoop op liefde in die lente?

Alma Carstens woon in Bangkok, Thailand en is tans een van LAPA se Top 10 beste verkopers onder fiksieskrywers. Sy skryf om die verlange na Suid-Afrika te help stil.

Blameer die skoenlapper
Elsa Winckler

Josh neem vroumense uit en hy hou van hulle. Sodra hulle oor babatjies begin koer en vassteek voor juwelierswinkels, groet hy egter. Maar nou het hy Catharien ontmoet. Dis ’n probleem, want skielik wil hy bly … Blameer die skoenlapper is ’n Romanza met ongelooflike diepte. Dis ook een van die mees romantiese liefdesverhale wat in ’n lang tyd verskyn het.

Elsa Winckler is ’n internasionaal gerekende romanseskrywer en het al drie keer die ATKV Woordveertjieprys vir Romanses gewen. Die heldinne in haar stories is onafhanklik, hardekwas en nie skaam om hulle sê te sê nie. Die helde is sterk, maar is ook sensitief vir die onderskeie heldinne se behoeftes. Elsa woon op Bettysbaai saam met haar man. Hy is haar studenteliefde.

Wie nie waag nie
Annetjie van Tonder

Gabi het op skool vir Reuel afgeskryf as ’n nerd. By hul reünie twintig jaar later is die nerd nie meer ’n nerd nie, maar ’n aantreklike man vol selfvertroue. Sy wil, maar sal hy haar kan vergewe?
 
 

Liefde in letters
Rika du Plessis

Jennifer se hart mis ’n slag. Waldo, die man wat sy nooit kon vergeet nie, staan weer voor haar. Maar hulle kry nie ’n tweede kans nie, want hy onthou haar nie, boonop is hy verloof. Tog laat ou liefde hom nie so maklik afskud nie.
 
 

Uitgelewer aan die liefde
Marilé Cloete

Hoe gemaak wanneer ’n rofstoeier en skoolhoof op ’n klein Karoo-dorpie koppe stamp? Voeg ’n wysneus-tienermeisie, asook ’n hele paar rondloperkatte by en jy het ’n resep vir moeilikheid. Of wag, dalk net dalk, ’n resep vir liefde?

Marilé Cloete is die skrywersnaam wat Alta Cloete gebruik wanneer sy haar hand aan ʼn romanse waag. Sy is baie trots daarop dat haar Romanzas net so goed vaar as haar ernstiger werk.

Liefde op die Nyl
Joléne de Koningh

Haar suster en ma reken ’n bootreis op die Nyl sal finale berusting vir haar bring ná haar verbreekte verlowing. Troos kan egter verskillende vorme aanneem en in hierdie geval is hy aantreklik – lank, breedgeskouerd en gespierd.

Joléne de Koningh is die Romanza-skrywersnaam van Lien Roux-de Jager. Sy skryf ook spanningsverhale, kortverhale, kinderverhale en historiese romans.

Fees van versoening
Anna Penzhorn

Mia moet ’n artikel oor die kunsskatte van die Van der Bijl-familie skryf. Max van der Bijl is koud en berekenend, maar hy maak ook haar knieë lam. Liefde tussen hulle is egter taboe. Sou sy kom kies, verloën sy haar familie.
 
 

Liefste tinktinkie
Corné van Rooyen

Carlie verskil heeltemal van die vrouens met wie Armand daagliks te make het en prikkel daarom sy belangstelling. Hy het egter vantevore sy kop met ’n jonger vrou gestamp en sal nie toelaat dat dit weer gebeur nie.

Corné van Rooyen het ná skool deeltyds gewerk en studeer toe deur Unisa waar sy haar LLB-graad verwerf het. Sy was nog altyd baie lief vir lees en het van kleintyd al haar eie stories geskryf met die droom om in gewilde skrywers soos Ena Murray en Schalkie van Wyk se voetspore te volg.

Hartewens
Madelie Human

Madelie Human is een van Afrikaans se gerekende romanseskrywers en het al meer as 130 000 boeke verkoop. Sy skryf oor die ligter kant van die liefde en daarom is haar romantiese komedies so uiters gewild.

Hartewens is ’n samestelling van drie van Madelie Human se vorige Romanzas, Onwelkome geskenk, Handomkeer en Le Fleur se hartebreker.

Madelie se eerste romanse, Om Ben lief te hê, is in 2009 met ’n ATKV-Woordveertjieprys vir Romanses bekroon.

Onwelkome geskenk: Marile vertrou glad nie die Werner-vent wat met haar oupa konkel én haar knieë lam maak nie. Hy is immers net nóg een van die mans wat in haar geld belangstel. Of maak sy ’n fout?

Handomkeer: Bea kom uit Johannesburg se agterstrate maar veg haar pad oop tot sy een van dié wynmakers in die land is. Wat haar hinder, is dat die wynplaaseienaar verraderlike dinge aan hart en lyf begin doen.

Le Fleur se hartebreker: Voor die oestyd verby is, is Janneli een van die vroue in sy album vol gewese meisies. Dit is wat die Franschhoekvallei se hartebreker haar wed! Wel, ons sal sien, besluit Janneli.

Hartsbegeerte
Madelie Human

Hierdie omnibus is ’n samestelling van drie van Madelie Human se vorige Romanzas, Terug na jou, Kolwyntjie en Altyd die strooimeisie.

Terug na jou: Een naweek het Mercia, Le Fleur-wynlandgoed se eienares, ’n man ontmoet aan wie sy onmiddellik verknog geraak het. Maar dit was net ’n droom want hulle was albei getroud; sy vrou sieklik en Mercia se man ’n pierewaaier. Nie een kon skei sonder om ander se lewe te verwoes nie. Hulle het mekaar prysgegee.

Kolwyntjie: Die gebakwinkel is Melani se droom wat werklikheid word. Haar ander droom word spoedig ’n nagmerrie toe haar en die mediese dokter se paaie kruis in dieselfde kantoorgebou. En nie sommer enige dokter nie, nie eens sy tweelingbroer kan aan haar doen wat hý met sy intense grys oë doen nie!

Altyd die strooimeisie: Zoë Davel besluit om nooit weer voor die kansel te staan nie – nie as strooimeisie nie en beslis ook nie as bruid nie, al stuur die hoogs aantreklike Meyer Malan haar hart heeltemal in ’n aweregse wentelbaan.

Boekbesonderhede


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Marida Fitzpatrick sluit aan by LAPA Uitgewers

Marida Fitzpatrick, ’n bekende joernalis en skrywer, sluit vanaf 1 Februarie 2018 aan by LAPA Uitgewers as ’n senior uitgewer.

Haar fokus sal wees op die uitbou van LAPA se niefiksie-afdeling.

Sylvia de Wet, LAPA se bedryfshoof, sê hieroor: “Marida se deel word van die LAPA span skep ruimte vir nuwe energie en ’n ander dinamika wat ons baie opgewonde maak.”

Marida het in Secunda grootgeword. Sy het ’n honneursgraad in joernalistiek van die Universiteit van Johannesburg en werk al meer as vyftien jaar as joernalis, eers as verslaggewer vir Huisgenoot en Beeld en daarna as diepteverslaggewer by Beeld.

Marida is bekend daarvoor dat sy humor en patos deeglik kan meng in haar rubrieke en onderhoude.

Sy is ook ’n outeur in eie reg. Naas ’n boek oor Oscar Pistorius se hofsaak, het daar ook al twee romanses en ’n heerlike chicklit uit haar pen verskyn. Haar fiksie leen dikwels uit die werklikhede van die joernalis.


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Martin Steyn’s Dark Traces awarded with a Kirkus Star Review

LAPA Publishers (South Africa) and Catalyst Press (USA) are thrilled to announce that Martin Steyn’s English-fiction debut, Dark Traces, has been awarded a Kirkus Star Review.

The Kirkus Star is one of the most prestigious recognitions in the book industry, and certainly the dream of any author and publisher with dealings in the USA.

Kirkus is known for its blunt, honest reviews since 1933 and the Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. Books that have earned the Kirkus Star are automatically nominated for the Kirkus Prize. Steyn’s book will qualify for the 2018 prize. The prize is awarded by a panel composed of respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics throughout the USA.

The reviewer makes special mention of Steyn’s use of Afrikaans words like klagtebakkie and oom, with a glossary explaining these terms to a US audience.

Book details


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Jaco Jacobs se Both sides of zero se regte aan Oneworld verkoop

LAPA is baie trots om aan te kondig dat Jaco Jacobs se boek Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word se wêreldwye Engelse regte pas verkoop is aan Oneworld, ’n uitgewery in Brittanje.

Die Engelse titel sal heet ‘Both sides of zero’. Die vertaling is deur Kobus Geldenhuys gedoen.

Vroeër vanjaar is die fliek ‘Nul is nie niks nie’ landswyd in filmteaters uitgereik. Dit is ’n verwerking van hierdie einste boek.

Oneworld is dieselfde uitgewery wat vroeër ook die regte vir Jaco se boek ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim gekoop het.

Oneworld is ook bekend daarvoor dat twee van hulle boeke reeds die Man Booker Prize gewen het.
 
Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word is hier te koop.

Boekbesonderhede

 
 

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim


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Innie skylte vannie Jirre vir die neënde maal herdruk

Innie skylte vannie JirreInnie skylte vannie Jirre is ‘n beduidende uitbreiding van die blitsverkopertjie, Die Griekwapsalms en annerlike goeterse yt die Woord yt.

Nóg meer Bybelgedeeltes word poëties getransponeer, sodat die betekenis van die Woord in die leser opnuut ontroer en binnetoe laat dink.

Boekbesonderhede


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Internasionale regte van Jaco Jacobs se ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim pas verkoop

LAPA Uitgewers is trots om aan te kondig dat wêreldwye regte vir die Engelse vertaling van Jaco Jacobs se jeugboek ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim pas verkoop is.

Die Londense uitgewery Oneworld Publications het ’n aanbod gemaak om die vertaalregte te bekom nadat ’n gedeeltelike proefvertaling van Jacobs se boek as deel van die internasionale In Other Words-projek aan uitgewers beskikbaar gestel is.

Die bekroonde vertaler Kobus Geldenhuys was vir die Engelse vertaling verantwoordelik.

Uitgewers van regoor die wêreld is genooi om kinder- en jeugboeke wat in ander tale as Engels verskyn het, vir die In Other Words-projek voor te lê.

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim is een van slegs vier boeke wat uiteindelik as eretitels aangewys is.

Die keuring en beoordeling is deur ’n paneel Britse kinderboekvertalers en kenners in die kinderboekbedryf gedoen, en die vier wenboeke is op 4 April tydens ’n spoggeleentheid by die Bologna-kinderboekskou in Italië bekend gestel.
 
 
 

Miemie du Plessis, bestuurder van die kinder-en-jeugboekafdeling by LAPA Uitgewers, sê:

Ons is ongelooflik trots dat Oneworld – ’n uitgewery met ’n uitstekende reputasie en bekend vir sy passie – hul vertroue in LAPA en ons topverkoper-outeur Jaco Jacobs geplaas het. Ongeveer ’n miljoen kopieë van sy boeke is verkoop sedert hy as 21-jarige by LAPA begin publiseer het en hy is geliefd en gerespekteerd onder lesers sowel as die boekgemeenskap in sy geheel. Hy is ’n meesterlike storieverteller en verdien dat sy werk aan ’n groter gehoor bekend gestel word.

Jacobs sê hy is opgewonde oor die vooruitsig om sy boek aan oorsese lesers bekend te stel.

Dit is lekker om te sien hoe ’n storie waaraan jy maande lank alleen by jou lessenaar gesit en timmer het, vlerke kry. Hoewel die boek op universele temas fokus, het dit ’n baie spesifieke Suid-Afrikaanse agtergrond. Dit sal interessant wees om te sien hoe jong lesers oorsee daarop reageer.

Oneworld Publications is ’n onafhanklike uitgewery wie se boeke in 2015 sowel as in 2016 die gesogte Man Booker Prize opgeraap het. Dit is in 2016 as die British Book Awards Independent Publisher of the Year en die IPG Trade Publisher of the Year aangewys, en vanjaar het dit die IPG Diversity Award ontvang. Oneworld fokus sterk op die publikasie van diverse en oorspronklike stories van skrywers van regoor die wêreld.

Geldenhuys sal ook die vertaling van die res van die boek doen.
 
 

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim

Boekbesonderhede


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Sustainable gardening project launches in Atlantis with LAPA

Annie Peterson has a dream. She wants the people of Atlantis to be proud of the people Atlantis. There is so much talent; it is time to harness that talent. Her idea is to start small, sustainable projects and to let each grow organically around the existing skills in Atlantis.

Between 30 March and 1 April, 2016 the third of these projects will launch. The objective is to create sustainable gardens that will provide individuals and public institutions with food.

In conjunction with LAPA, the ATKV and the Orion Organisation, which specialises in ways to provide disabled people with work and therapy, three days of intensive training will take place. We will be training a small, selected group of individuals who will in turn train others. Reliance Compost has offered compost for the training.

Cooperation is important, because so many organisations go to Atlantis with good intentions, but without tapping into the existing knowledge residual in the community. In this case, Annie Peterson, a community leader and chairperson of the ATKV branch in Atlantis, has met with various stakeholders to ensure that the talents of Atlantis can be tapped.

The good news is that the Cape Town City Council, which overseas Atlantis as well, has already pledged to support this project. Therefore the training, which will take place from March 30 to April 1, is only the beginning of bigger things.

An invitation to the press

LAPA, the sponsor of this first phase of project, invites the press to join us in Atlantis. There is so much positive talent in Atlantis, and Atlantis is only 60km from Cape Town.

Please contact Izak de Vries if you want to drop in. A large part of the work will be done at the Orion Organisation (which is also a visit worth), but we will also be moving into the community to see what can be done with Rooikrans bushes and other invaders to the benefit of an own garden.

If you cannot make it, we can arrange interviews with the participants. Please contact Izak. He is a photographer and will be able to provide photos.

His contact details: 083 501 2170 or izakd@lapa.co.za.

LAPA’s involvement

As with the other projects in Atlantis, the existing talent will enriched by an expert who provides additional training (see “Other projects in Atlantis” below). In this case, one of LAPA’s authors, Wynand Boshoff, has offered his knowledge and experience to the residents of Atlantis.

Boshoff has a master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture Practices. His passion is to explain to ordinary people that they can grow their own food on their own piece of land.

Boshoff’s book, Groente van tuin tot tafel (Vegetables from the garden to the table), will be published by LAPA in April, the ISBN is 9780799368444.

The book provides useful information on various aspects of vegetable production, including soil fertility, fertilisers, water requirements, crop rotation and planting partners, as well as natural pest control.

The rest of the book provides tips on creating a vegetable garden that will benefit one’s lifestyle.

The author will share his knowledge between March 30 and April 1 with the people of Atlantis. He will not merely be teaching, though, Wynand will join hands with the people of Atlantis who are already working on such projects. Annie Peterson hopes that this will inspire others to begin feeding their friends, families and members of the community.

Other projects in Atlantis

This gardening project is the third to kick off and more will take place shortly. Here are more examples of Annie’s hard work.

  • Music Talent is explored and developed together with the ATKV Crescendo team; their success is already measurable when looking at the stars from Atlantis, such as Auntie Francis Brown and Daphne Arends, who are currently dazzling audiences in professional productions around the country.
  • A Reading Project’s first seeds recently were planted with the help of ATKV and LAPA.
  • The training of the Orion Organisation’s kitchen staff will take place in conjunction with The Private Hotel School, the ATKV and LAPA.
  • A Crafts Project will be launching soon. LAPA has already donated several books to accommodate the process. Atlantis is no more a lost city. The residents are poor, but the winds of change are blowing through there for the better!
* * * * *

Groente van tuin tot tafel will be available from leading retailers and direct from LAPA Publishers. Contact LAPA on 012 401 0700 or visit our website: www.lapa.co.za.

The author and other participants in the project are available for interviews.


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‘The world is a very beautiful place; it’s humankind that makes it ugly’ – Read an excerpt from Flesh and Blood

‘The world is a very beautiful place; it’s humankind that makes it ugly’ – Read an excerpt from Flesh and Blood

 

Flesh and BloodVlees en bloedLAPA has shared an excerpt from the newly released Flesh and Blood, the true story of two sisters whose day job is cleaning up crime scenes, written by award-winning freelance journalist Riette Rust, with Eileen de Jager and Roelien Schutte.

Flesh and Blood is the sequel to the bestseller Blood Sisters, which was released in 2012, and is also available in Afrikaans as Vlees en bloed.
 

Crime writer Martin Steyn says the book is “fascinating” and “written with great detail, compassion and humour”.

The excerpt examines the psychological toll of what the sisters experience every day.

Read the excerpt:

Extract from Flesh and Blood, Riette Rust (LAPA Publishers, 2016)

Psychopaths and narcissists have a lack of empathy. The rest of us are deeply traumatised by the things the Blood Sisters have to confront on a daily basis. Not to mention the two of them. But if you had asked Eileen three years ago whether she was suffering from post-traumatic stress, she would probably have denied it. “I think I’m in denial because I’m someone who doesn’t fall apart easily,” she confesses now. “My colleagues need me every day to help with their franchises, their planning, and their work. I can’t afford to take a week off and tell them to make do on their own.”

But at least Eileen is aware of her stress levels and tries to de-stress as far as possible – especially since her colleagues have started noticing that she’s not a hundred percent herself anymore. “Apparently I come across as being ‘cold’.” This is in stark contrast with how people would normally describe her – as a warm, caring person. “I also have a shorter fuse,” she confesses.

Roelien acknowledges that she too is exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress. “I experience terrible moods and outbursts. One minute I’m fine, and the next I am storming out just to clear my head for ten minutes,” she says. “At other times I feel sorry for myself, and I think the whole world is against me.” Sometimes she gets sad or angry about it, and at other times she may even think that she’s silly to feel that way.

There are also other signs that indicate that the Blood Sisters sometimes experience high levels of stress. Although Eileen’s nightmares have decreased she still struggles to get a good night’s sleep. “For a long time now I haven’t been able to lay my head down on the pillow and sleep soundly until the next morning,” she confesses. “I usually wake up in the middle of the night thinking that I’ve heard something. Then I get up to check it out. It really irks me.”

This Blood Sister says she doesn’t want to dream that there are criminals in her house, or about a shooting, murder or suicide every night. Neither does Roelien. And she gets terrible nightmares. “I’d dream that I’m lying in a pool of blood, and can’t get up or escape. Or I’m at a scene, but I’m standing still and can’t run away. There’s always some danger approaching me, and then I fail to get away.”

In her dreams, Roelien also sees herself inside the houses where the crimes have taken place. “It’s usually dark, but I never know where to switch on the lights. I feel my way around. And I slip around in lots of blood.”

The morning after such a nightmare, she finds herself in a peculiar mood, Roelien says. “I don’t feel like doing anything. But then you have to pull yourself together again and remind yourself that it was just a dream. You simply have to put it behind you.” When she wakes up from a nightmare, there’s nothing for it but to have a glass of water.

Eileen likes to relax with a good book – particularly science fiction, or a Wilbur Smith. “I need to derail my thoughts from what I see on a daily basis – blood, pieces of brain, bones and teeth.” The more gruesome or gross the events she’s had to experience that day, the more she wants to see beautiful things afterwards, Eileen says. “My favourite search words to Google are ‘something beautiful’.”

Doesn’t this kind of work make you cynical and bitter? “Yes, getting cynical and bitter is very easy,” Eileen acknowledges. That’s why she specifically looks out for beautiful things on her way home from work every day. “The world is a very beautiful place; it’s humankind that makes it ugly.”

Roelien says she often feels as if there is no beauty left in the world – “people are doing a good job of destroying everything”. But, just like Eileen, she purposefully decides to look out for beauty. “You’ve got to be able to tell yourself: You know what? There are also positive things in the world.”

That’s not to say that the Blood Sisters don’t have lots of fun too. Roelien laughingly tells of the day she had to lean over a bucket to reach some chemicals. She continued cleaning up but the blood on the bucket rim had left and image on her overall – that of a smiley face. “A crime scene is supposed to be a serious place. It’s all about respect.”

But it doesn’t take long to be yanked back to reality again. It may be the smell in a butchery, or of a chemical substance the refrigerator in a shop has been cleaned with. That may be all it takes to transport you back to a crime scene, the Blood Sisters say. “Right there in the supermarket, you sometimes relive every bloody detail again.”

So what keeps them on their feet emotionally? “Sometimes it may not work, but we purposefully try to forget the details of the scenes. There is no other way to manage such horrors.”

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?

No two people react to traumatic events in the same way, says registered counsellor Jacobie Müller. “In fact, only about 3% to 6% of the population suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Different people have different processing mechanisms. If you often talk to others about what you’ve seen or experienced, or cry about it, or perhaps handle the trauma with black humour, you’ll be more resilient, meaning you will be able to bounce back to normality faster than others, she says.

You may also get used to the trauma you have to confront daily. “In such a case you are desensitised; it doesn’t affect you as much as it used to.”

Even if you don’t have such good processing mechanisms, you may be able to remain calm during a traumatic situation, but will experience shock afterwards, like starting to shake, or your blood pressure may fall rapidly.

Jacobie says there are different signs indicating post-traumatic stress: You may get flashbacks or nightmares. “Bloody dreams may be a sign of unprocessed aggression. You may subconsciously attach value to people, and then get angry because they’re being killed in such gruesome ways day after day.”

You may appear “colder” than before, have a shorter fuse, experience outbursts, look for comfort in food, or suffer selective memory loss. Because you are subliminally anxious, you don’t remember things such as whether you’ve indeed locked the door or not. You may also be more aggressive than usual and get irritated more easily, especially if you deny that the traumatic events have had an effect on you. Due to anxiety and depression you may burst into tears more easily than usual, and cry for much longer than you normally do, for instance when watching a sad movie.

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