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Tuesday, February 28, 2017


(The cover of “Scars That Shine”)

Donvé Lee is the writer of the book, Scars That Shine, which is a biography of acclaimed musician Syd Kitchen.

Lee is an artist, writer and traveller. Her publications include the autobiographical novel An Intimate War, described by Cape Times books editor Karin Schimke as ‘the most lucid rendition of the madness of love you can hope to read in modern fiction’. Lee is also known for her numerous fiction and non-fiction books for young readers, among which are several series on South African artists, musicians, sports celebrities and freedom fighters. She lives in Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula, where she manages a small craft upliftment project in Masiphumelele, works towards a PhD in Creative Writing, and dreams of painting again.

Syd Kitchen’s words: “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 Lee: “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.”

Scars that Shine written by Donvé Lee is published by Tracey McDonald Publishers
PRINT ISBN: 978-0-620-70993-4
ePUB ISBN: 978-0-620-70994-1
PDF ISBN: 978-0-620-70995-8
Print recommended retail price: R260 (VAT Incl) More information from Tracey on or 083 659 7489.