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Lifestyle/Community

For Howard there definitely are no holy cows

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SUZANNE BELLING

His observations and innate sense of humour can have his readers laughing out loud, or with his latest book “Tightrope… Musings on Circus South Africa”…bring them to despair.

In his book, Feldman gets down to the core of the ills of South Africa and, in particular, the shenanigans of President Jacob Zuma (he he he) and his scorched earth policy.

Feldman has his finger on the pulse of local and Middle East politics, current events (including a letter to Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib) and the personalities in the forefront of life in South Africa.

He does not leave readers in the dark regarding Eskom, has strong opinions on Oscar Pistorius, the SABC, Julius Malema, Trevor Noah, ANC should-be-has-beens, braaivleis, religion, Islam, Hamas and other terrorists, the Jewish community and his family and even has devoted a chapter to his German Shepherd. He pulls no punches.

Feldman has dedicated his book to his parents, Cocky and Cookie Feldman, prominent figures in South African Jewry and sometimes, when he gets personal about his five children, has experienced their disapproval.

He says: “‘Tightrope’ tells the story of a country on the wire, a country that is teetering overhead. All the while, the country screams in horror, holds its breath, then covers its mouth as it waits for the outcome.”

Feldman loves writing and is compulsive about it. He wakes at 04:30 every morning, goes to the radio studio, then works in his venture capital business (he is a former lawyer and commodities trader) and then in the evenings puts his hand to writing – anything and everything that comes to his mind. He is creative to the nth degree.

He is the complete antithesis of an armchair critic, dating back to his student days at Wits, when he was a member of the first non-racial Law Student Council and editor of the Wits Law Review.

By his own admission, he hates circuses and clowns, “as far from reality as the relationship between a swimming pool and a security upgrade”. Yet he draws on this analogy, as he says South Africans are forced to attend “the spectacle of our very own circus every day of our lives…

“South Africans are used to being entertained.” He writes that the ringmaster, whip in hand, co-ordinates his troupe to dance to the preselected melody.

“Their choreography, although dated and somewhat insincere, allows for no error and is so compelling that the performers are acting to their own will. Which they don’t. And we all kinda know that.” And, although he doesn’t like them, he brings on the clowns.

Having been hijacked and robbed at gunpoint twice within a three-month period, in “one of the most difficult” periods in his life, Feldman is a survivor, a fiercely Zionist and observant Jew and dedicated family man.

His first book “Carry-On Baggage” and his experiences cause him to walk his own personal tightrope.

“I started writing for my own need. It is a visceral one and allows me to process the world when it appears to be very confusing… I have seen that people have begun to look towards me when an event unfolds, in order to help them understand.

“We have an amazing country, with amazing people. No life is easy – whether it’s political, personal or collective as a community, nationally or humanity as a whole.”

Published by Batya Bricker Book Projects, the book is provocative, compelling and hard to put down.

The recommended price is R200 and is available from Takelot and from Exclusive Books.

It was launched on Tuesday evening in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg

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