The time has come that we as storytellers have to claim our centrality in the business model


By Isabel Tapfumaneyi



South African award-winning journalist Zubeida Jaffer is launching her own publishing company called Number 10 Publishers on 24 March 2021.

She has taken back all three her best-selling titles from established publishing houses and has created her own publishing imprint. “ I have been wanting to do this for a long time, “ she said. “The pandemic forced me to move faster,” she said.

She has registered this company with her daughter Ruschka Jaffer who is a high-school teacher in Gauteng. “We were so acutely aware last year that life was short. Ruschka pointed out to me that if I were to drop dead, she would not know where to start to access my body of work,” she said.

Number 10 Publishers are issuing her three titles Our Generation; Love in the Time of Treason; and Beauty of the Heart (The Life and Times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke)in print, electronic and audio versions.

The books are available at select bookstores in all major centres as well as online at The audiobooks will be available later in the year.

Ms Jaffer says that the three books together provide an interesting insight into South Africa’s national story stretching from 1871 through to 2001. She will be introducing the books to the South African public in trio because she believes that it will hugely benefit the next generation to be exposed to the range of experience captured in the intensely personal stories.

The second component of the company will be to explore ways in which to codify 40 years of journalism experience in a form that could be of benefit to others instead of gathering dust in her study. As a teacher, her daughter Ruschka has provided invaluable insights into possible ways in which to share her story-telling expertise. This will be more fully articulated in 2022.
“The time has come that we as storytellers have to claim our centrality in the business model, “ she said. “We stand outside the process and have had to make do with the crumbs pushed our way.”

Number 10 Publishers will allow her to own her work and benefit from her work. “And this knowledge I hope to share with others over time,” she said.

Ms Jaffer also commented that: “When change first came, we had little or no understanding of publishing. Today there is a flurry of activity coming from young people and those who have left the established companies. I believe the impulse for something new will come from them.



About Zubeida Jaffer

Zubeida Jaffer is a journalist, author and activist. She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University. She also holds a masters degree from Columbia University in New York where she won the best foreign student award in 1996.

Her journalism career spans over 40 years beginning when she walked into the Cape Argus newsroom seeking a holiday job. Little did she know that she was stepping into her future role as a news reporter and an inadvertent anti-apartheid activist.“I did not choose journalism. Journalism chose me,” she says.

Her memoir, Our Generation, eloquently tells the story of her emotional journey through the years of South Africa’s turbulence into a new democracy. It has been translated into Arabic. Her second book, Love in the Time of Treason, is the story of Ayesha Dawood of Worcester who was charged with treason alongside Mandela in the fifties.
She also curates her own news portal under her own name,, where she publishes her own articles and a selection of writings that have attracted her attention.

Her work has earned her numerous local and international awards. These include the Muslim Views Achiever Award as well as the Honor Medal for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri in the USA.
In 1994 she was selected as one of seven media professionals in the country to help oversee the relationship between political parties and the media during this country’s first democratic elections.

In 1994, she became the first woman on the African continent to receive the Percy Qoboza Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in the USA. In 2020 she won the prestigious Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes a sustained and extraordinary contribution to journalism.

She lives in Wynberg, Cape Town where her family has resided for close to 60 years.

About the Books

Beauty of the Heart is the story of a remarkable South African woman who has for long been written out of history and pushed aside in official school and university curricula.

Love in a Time of Treason: The Life Story of Ayesha Dawood

Love in the Time of Treason is the story of a young woman, Ayesha Bibi Dawood, from a rural town called Worcester in the Cape and her activism at the end of the that led to her facing charges of Treason in 1956 with Nelson Mandela and others. This leads to her cruel exile and eventual return to South Africa after 23 years when her life folds back into a new democracy.



Isabel Tapfumaneyi is with JT Communications

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