live

WRAP | Wierzycka at Franschhoek Literary Festival: I was confronted by 'journalists' timeline' on Gupta Leaks

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Magda Wierzycka's book on sale at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.
Magda Wierzycka's book on sale at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.
PHOTO: Herman Eloff/News24

The Franschhoek Literary Festival brought together authors and readers with informal discussions and spirited debates about books and everything related.

After being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, the festival made its in-person return from 13 to 15 May.

Follow all the updates from the festival as it unfolded.

Last Updated
Live News Feed
Go to start

15 May 14:23

15 May 14:23

15 May 13:11

That's a wrap from the News24 team in Franschhoek. We’ve had a fantastic time listening to authors from around the world and our own backyard sharing their stories of fear, bravery, hope, and inspiration.

Keep safe and happy reading!

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 13:09

Up next:

Pippa Hudson speaks to Zimbabwean entrepreneur Rusty Labuschagne, who survived 10 years of maximum security imprisonment for a murder he didn’t commit. His inspirational memoir, Beating Chains, reveals what he learnt.

 - Herman Eloff

RELATED: EXCERPT | Beating Chains by Rusty Labuschagne

15 May 12:40

Magda chatting to audience members after the talk.

(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)

<p>Magda chatting to audience members after the talk. </p><p><em>(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)</em></p>

15 May 12:34

Magda: "This is a country worth fighting for. The challenge is to come up with constructive ideas to change it. I don't want to give up on South Africa. I've travelled all over the world and South Africa is the most beautiful."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:28

Bruce asks: "Do you thrive in the conflict?"

Magda: "It’s not the conflict. The revolution has to start again. Things have not improved. When I feel adrenaline is when I think things can be done and I can make it happen. I had that feeling again yesterday."

Bruce: "Like Schwarzenegger; 'she’s back!'"

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:25

She says whenever she was in meetings she'd use cellphone blockers.

"You democratise the data," says Magda.

Magda says: "I've in my small little way managed to disrupt things in South Africa. Disrupt things in the sector. But I can't help but think: 'If I was in America, could I have been Elon Musk?'"

- Herman Eloff

15 May 12:23

Magda: "I was confronted by the journalists' timeline. I don't want to say anything bad about the publications. I listened. I was told there is enough to bring down Zuma. But there wasn’t. Zuma never signs a paper. He only uses phones. Other people's phones."

Magda says she was given legal advice to make the information public as soon as possible. Her family was also at risk. She took her family out of the country. She approached the journalists working on the Panama Papers and asked for help. They weren't able to. She also spoke to Snowden's lawyer who told her to "distribute, just distribute".

Magda locked herself in a hotel and worked through all the paperwork. She says she even wore plastic gloves when working with the papers. "Spy stuff," she says.

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:16

Bruce brings up the Gupta Leaks email scandal.

Back to April/May 2017. Magda decided to share the Gupta files more widely.

Bruce: "Was it the right thing to do?"

Magda: "Absolutely."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:14

"I had my own company so nobody could tell me what to do. We don't have any government contracts. I had this amazing platform to start talking," Magda says about speaking out.

Bruce: "Why do we often ignore what is in plain sight?"

Magda: "I think it's the fact that most people want to live peaceful lives. You get the crooks (bad guys), the vast majority in the middle that want a simple life, then you have these crazy people on the other side that are driven by a moral outrage."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:08

Mzi told Magda: "I will not be buried in my money. I will spend it all."

Magda: "I’ve always worked hard. If I lost all my money today, I’ll make it again tomorrow."

"As a refugee you always live in that mindset of living out of suitcases – ready to go," she says.

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:05

On meeting Mzi Khumalo, Magda says she "met him at a restaurant in Newlands".

Magda: "I love Mzi to bits to this day."

Magda said Mzi suggested they should do business together. She wasn't aware of the trouble the company was in.

Magda: "Nothing he did was illegal. He found a loophole. Mzi always wanted to make money."

Magda shows the platinum watch she bought when she sold African Harvest. She says Mzi was not impressed by the watch.

"He said I should have flown to Switzerland and have gotten one uniquely crafted."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:02

Bruce: "Are you sorry they chose SA?"

Magda pauses, then says "a resounding no. We were embraced by South Africa. It became a land of opportunity."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 12:00

Magda talks about leaving Poland. Her parents had hatched a plan to get them out of the country. They left Vienna where the refugee camp was. The family reunited for the first time at a McDonald's.

"My first experience with McDonald's," says Magda.

"We arrived at the camp. Fingerprints taken. Given blankets and toothbrushes," says Magda.

They applied for official immigration to various countries and were accepted at several countries. Magda’s family chose South Africa.

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 11:55

"I don't blame men for everything. I believe women are also to blame for not breaking through the glass ceiling," says Magda.

Talking about sexual harassment Magda says some women told her "not to wage the war for them". She adds: "That made me stop waging the war."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 11:46

Bruce: "What's the value in being underestimated?"

"Have I ever been underestimated?" Magda asks, adding: "The value of being underestimated is surprising people when you make it."

Magda: "I wasn't planning the book. I was strong-armed into it by Penguin. Nobody read it before it was ready. Not even my husband."

 - Herman Eloff

15 May 11:43

Bruce and Magda start the session. Magda wrote the book herself.

(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)

15 May 11:42

Former DA leader Tony Leon arrives at the talk, which has been marked as one of the highlights on today's programme.

(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)

<p>Former DA leader Tony Leon arrives at the talk, which has been marked as one of the highlights on today's programme. </p><p><em>(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)</em></p>

15 May 11:40

ICYMI - FOR SUBSCRIBERS

EXCLUSIVE | Magda Wierzycka defends 're-leaking' the #GuptaLeaks, as journos accuse her of betrayal

 - Businesswoman Magda Wierzycka has for the first time confirmed that she "re-leaked" some of the Gupta Leaks in 2017 before their existence became public knowledge, alleging the team of journalists who were working on them were "careless".

 - The allegation of carelessness is denied by journalist Stefaans Brümmer, a key member of the award-winning team from amaBhungane and the Daily Maverick, who says they took "extraordinary lengths to safeguard information about the leaks".

 - While Wierzycka says she only distributed the emails after taking legal advice on how best to handle the "risks involved in the Gupta family becoming aware of them" for Branko Brkic, editor-in-chief of the Daily Maverick, her conduct was a "gut punch, a betrayal of the worst kind".

READ FULL STORY

15 May 11:39

Magda’s book on sale at the venue. The session will start shortly.

(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)

<p>Magda’s book on sale at the venue. The session will start shortly. </p><p><em>(PHOTO: Herman Eloff)</em></p>

15 May 10:56

Today at the Old School Hall:

Bruce Whitfield talks to Magda Wierzycka, SA’s richest woman, about her biography Magda, her childhood as a Polish refugee, her business triumphs, and her role in the war on state capture.

RELATED: EXTRACT | Magda Wierzycka's 'Magda: My Journey' - What are the high and low road scenarios for SA?

15 May 07:25

Two renowned international children's authors touring SA - here's where to meet them

Jonathan Ball Publishers this week announced that children's authors Jonny Duddle and Christopher Lloyd will be in South Africa for local appearances. Jonny and Chris will both be attending the Franschhoek Literary Festival in Franschhoek in the Western Cape, with Christopher also taking a trip to Gauteng to attend the Kingsmead Book Fair in Johannesburg.

Read more

15 May 07:22

Book events at News24 venues today (Sunday, 15 May):

Enter Gigantosaurus!

10:00 - 11:00  

Church Hall - News24

Join author and illustrator Jonny Duddle, the mysterious Gigantosaurus and the troublesome Pirate family next door. The show features an interactive reading, a peek inside Jonny’s sketchbooks and a chance to create a fearsome pirate with Jonny.

Ink-Redible (Virtual)

11:30 - 12:30  

NG Church - News24

Michele Magwood is joined by Charlie Mackesy, artist, illustrator, and author of the international bestseller The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.

Boks Of Wine

13:00 - 14:00

NG Church - News24

Fellow wine farmers and former Springboks Dugald Macdonald (Ja-Nee) & Schalk Burger Snr (Just A Moment) uncork some vintage rugby showdowns with sportswriter Luke Alfred.

Unbowed

13:00 - 14:00  

Church Hall - News24

Pippa Hudson speaks to Zimbabwean entrepreneur Rusty Labuschagne, who survived 10 years of maximum security imprisonment for a murder he didn’t commit. His inspirational memoir, Beating Chains, reveals what he learnt.

Full programme here

14 May 19:01

14 May 18:02

Franschhoek Literary Festival | The unbelievable heroism of Bill Browder and Jeffrey Archer’s writing secret

Bill Browder doesn't trust South Africa not to hand him over to Vladimir Putin, and Jeffrey Archer doesn't know how to type because he writes all his books by hand.

Those were just some of the jaw-dropping facts that came to light on the second day of the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF). Although the air was a bit nippy, you only had to move to a sunny spot or sip on some coffee to warm up ahead of the second round of book discussions.

At the two venues hosted by News24 this year, conversations ranged from humorous to very serious, and from local to international as one author after another took to the stage to discuss their work.

READ MORE

14 May 15:45

EXCERPT | Bulelani Ngcuka: Evidence of Zuma corruption was ‘the beginning of my nightmare’

Bulelani Ngcuka was the director of prosecutions when Jacob Zuma was implicated by his financial associate Schabir Shaik in a "protection" deal with a French arms dealer involved in the notorious arms deal – charges for which Zuma is on trial now, decades later.

In Bulelani Ngcuka: The Sting in the Tale, by Marion Sparg (Jonathan Ball), Ngcuka relives the terrible moment when hard evidence of Zuma’s corruption was first uncovered and he realised his life had changed forever.

READ MORE

14 May 15:42

Next:

Where To Begin

Dennis Davis talks to Bulelani Ngcuka about his book Bulelani Ngcuka: The Sting in the Tale – and his reflections on the Zuma era and its legacies.

14 May 15:21

Personalities and cults in business? Refilwe Moloto asks Bruce Whitfield about Elon Musk and the power of founder personalities in business.

Whitfield points out that Markus Jooste also had a cult following… He lists founders who ran their businesses until retirement age. He also highlights Robbie Brozin from Nando’s as a successful local founder example.

- Adriaan Basson 

14 May 15:19

Summary of the session: Jeffrey’s talk with John was light and humorous. It’s incredible that Jeffrey writes multiple drafts by hand before handing anything over to the publishers. He's got a clear plan for what he'll be writing over the next three years, but time will tell what happens next.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 15:14

Jeffrey says if the critics start saying “he’s lost it”, he’ll “stop writing and watch cricket”.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 15:12

Jeffrey says he’ll have to live to 85 to complete his current book series. (He's currently 82)

- Herman Eloff

14 May 15:07

Jeffrey on letting the characters guide him through their own journeys when he's writing. He leans forward and gets up close to the screen: “If you don't know where it's going, the reader can't know where it's going.”

- Herman Eloff

14 May 15:00

Jeffrey says his next book coming out in September will be on “royalty protection”, after he’s covered topics like “murder” (his latest book Over My Dead Body out now), “drugs”, and “police corruption”.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:55

Jeffrey gets sidetracked talking about cricket. John prompts him; “Let's get back to the books.”

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:53

Jeffrey: “I’m not an opera singer. I don't play the violin. I'm a writer. It's a God-given gift. A skill.”

-Herman Eloff

14 May 14:52

Jeffrey, like SA author Damon Galgut, writes with a pen on paper. He agreed with what Damon said in an earlier discussion that writing with a pen gives him time to think before penning down the next sentence.

“I don’t know how to type,” Jeffrey adds.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:51

Whitfield: “Are we buggered (as a country)? No. Are we in trouble? Yes.”

Whitfield says South Africans are prone to focus on negative news and developments. We have the skills, ideas and people to fix things, he says.

- Adriaan Basson

14 May 14:49

John asks: “You don't need to write, but you choose to still write?”

Jeffrey: “You're quite right. But I love it. What would I be doing if I wasn't writing? The day I no longer enjoy it or don't have stories in me, I’ll give it up.”

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:47

Jeffrey shows off the wood carvings behind him when John points them out. “I found them by accident when I went down the wrong way on a trip.”

- Herman Eloff

<p>Jeffrey shows off the wood carvings behind him when John points them out. “I found them by accident when I went down the wrong way on a trip.”</p><p>- Herman Eloff</p><p></p>

14 May 14:46

Whitfield’s new book is about South Africans who have built successful businesses locally and then took them globally. He quotes examples: Nando’s, NinetyOne (ex Investec Asset Management), SABMiller.

- Adriaan Basson

14 May 14:45

“The public lets you know what they think of your work. They use stars. I'm currently 4.5 stars out of 5,” Jeffrey says.

He says public opinion is important in the book industry, perhaps even more important than the media.

- Herman Eloff

<p>“The public lets you know what they think of your work. They use stars. I'm currently 4.5 stars out of 5,” Jeffrey says. </p><p>He says public opinion is important in the book industry, perhaps even more important than the media.</p><p>- Herman&nbsp;Eloff</p>

14 May 14:43

Moloto starts by saying Whitfield is the ultimate optimist. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Whitfield retorts: “How do you know it’s a light at the end of the tunnel? The train doesn’t fit!”

- Adriaan Basson

14 May 14:42

Radio host and author Bruce Whitfield being interviewed by his colleague Refilwe Moloto on his new book Genius: How to take smart ideas global.
Radio host and author Bruce Whitfield being interviewed by his colleague Refilwe Moloto on his new book&nbsp;<em>Genius: How to take smart ideas global.</em>

14 May 14:41

Jeffrey is currently on the seventh, eighth, and ninth draft of his current book. He won't hand it over to the publishers until it's at least the 14th draft.

“I have to be able to read it without changing a word before I hand it over. I do 14 drafts and write 8 hours a day,” Jeffrey says.

-Herman Eloff

14 May 14:38

Only 3 000 copies were published of his first book. 16 publishers turned him down. His wife told him at the time: “Maybe you should start looking for a real job”.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:37

Jeffrey once convinced the Beatles to come to Oxford for a fundraising event in which they raised £1 million for Oxfam. He credits their manager at the time for making it happen.

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:34

John: “This is your 27th novel. You've been a very busy man.”

Jeffrey: “But, I’m also a very old man.”

- Herman Eloff

14 May 14:30

THE BIG READ | Author Jeffrey Archer’s life has been no less frenetic and crazy than the plots he cooks up

Strange deaths, business feuds and betrayal, cover-ups, infidelity. It sounds like a Jeffrey Archer novel but it’s actually Jeffrey Archer.

The bestselling author of Kane and Abel is gazing across London from the panoramic lounge of his £40 million (R800 million) penthouse. “I look out this window in the morning and think, ‘You lucky bastard’,” he says. “ ‘You got a gift to tell a story, and you get all this.’ I live this unbelievable life.”

Even lucky can’t quite describe the Houdini-like talents of Jeffrey Archer, variously a policeman, PE teacher, public relations consultant, politician, peer, perjurer, prisoner number FF8282 — and that’s just the Ps.

READ MORE

14 May 14:28

Up Next:

The Story Party at the NG Church.

John Maytham chews the fat with thriller wizard Jeffrey Archer, whose new William Warwick thriller Over My Dead Body is out now. For starters, how does one man sell 275-million books? (Via Zoom).

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.88
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
19.81
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
16.75
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.15
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,843.05
+0.0%
Silver
21.69
-1.0%
Palladium
1,961.50
-2.4%
Platinum
954.00
-1.3%
Brent Crude
112.04
+2.6%
Top 40
61,000
-1.2%
All Share
67,575
-1.0%
Resource 10
72,529
+1.6%
Industrial 25
72,948
-3.9%
Financial 15
15,746
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE