Feb 24 2020

The Good Book Appreciation Society

In December my book was reviewed by an astute reader on the Good Book Appreciation Society Facebook page. Though it’s easy to join the group, you may prefer to simply read Charmaine Lines review here which I think was very on point.

“I won Corporation Games in a GBAS giveaway and, as some o you might recall, it arrived intriguingly package with a tin of pilchards and drop of Johnny Walker.

The short review is that I enjoyed the book, and finished it in two sittings. It’s as easy read that moves along swiftly, an impression aided by the short chapters.

The main character is Georgie, a brand manager at a successful agency in Joburg. She manages a multicultural team of people, is clearly good at her job and has a fling with her boss.

Also working at the agency is Sindy and Kensingto, she a woman from KZN, he a man from Zim. Both of them see the shadows that are gathering in the agency building. They know to be tokoloshes, but they don’t know what they want.

Sindi does home to consult with her elders. while Georgie tries to find out what lies behind the consumer-unfriendly decisions being taken by her superiors.

What I liked:

A clever and original look at cultural differences in SA (and not between corporate co-workers as is so often the case), and a critique of corporate greed.

Sharp, slick writing, and characters I could like.

Sindi’s family members in rural KZN are very well drawn 9although I did wonder whether Zulu readers would find them authentic).

What I didn’t like:

Too much detail about the mechanics of brand management.

Execution does not ultimately do justice to the story idea. I thought Jacobsen could have added far more cultural nuances to the agency setup. And the spirit world does not really clash with corporate greed (as the blurb promises).

The ending depends on a character I felt was introduced far too late, and it comes too easy. The potential for real suspense is created, but then sadly not explored.


I love that Anneleigh Jacobsen wrote an unusual South African story, and while she missed a few opportunities to write a great book, she did write a good and interesting one.

Oh, and as for the packaging, the pilchards and the whiskey represent the people done in by corporate greed and those who commit it. respectively.



Feb 18 2020

Humans of Cape Town

Angus Begg, producer, writer, photographer and maker of humans_of_cape_town on Instagram asked me why I wrote Corporation Games: “I spent over a decade in the world of big food corporations in Sandton and eventually just couldn’t reconcile what I believe is right with the decisions I saw being made everyday by those at the top of these large companies that make so many of the products we eat and use.

I left but couldn’t ignore it all. I felt I really wanted to help consumers understand the links between the boardrooms and news headlines and their everyday struggles – I think that often as consumers we don’t see the bigger picture and as a society we don’t hold those making the big money at the top of companies responsible for the real, serious harm they cause our people.

I want us to expect more from companies, and so I wrote the book to help people see what is going on around them, and start to demand more humanity and fairness from companies rather than just being the small cog at the end of the line that drives the whole profit machine ever forwards”


Feb 13 2020

Pamela Power asks me about mystery boxes and tokoloshes

Pamela Power is a screenwriter and script editor as well as the author of 3 books. She interview me recently for Go.See.Do GautengĀ  which was great fun. Click on the picture above or here to read the full interview.


Feb 11 2020

It’s not just fiction (of course)…

My book, Corporation Games, deals with a fictionalised price-fixing scandal. I’ve been asked if this actually happens. Here are some recent news articles about cases that the Competition Commission of South Africa has dealt with. The first has been resolved but the other 2 are ongoing matters under investigation.



In August 2018 a case that had been ongoing since 2012 was finally resolved with the accused handing of R290 million! The shipping companies were prosecuted for having colluded in dividing markets between themselves, fixing prices especially for the shipment of Toyota vehicles to Europe, Latin America the Caribbean and Africa. You can read the article here.

In February 2018 the Competition Commission went after several media companies for price fixing. Some of the companies have settled with the Competition Commission agreeing to pay various fines and compensations such as contributions to the Economic Development Fund. This is an interesting case because behaviour that was taken for granted as totally legitimate by media companies slipped almost unseen into anti-competitive crimes. Long before the Competition Commission was established media companies started paying third party agencies to negotiate advertising clients and costs. But this business quickly became a way for big media companies to bully small advertising firms. Once the Competition Commission was established small firms were able to complain and have their complaints looked into.

As far as I can ascertain this case is still ongoing. It came to media attention in August 2018 but is yet to be resolved. I’d appreciate any update if you happen to know where this case is at the moment. This is another case of legacy behaviour that the Competition Commission was able to highlight. Since the 80’s publishing companies have been colluding to fix prices on school and university textbooks, a practice that has not apparently raised eyebrows before! It seems that most of the publishing houses are prepared to co-operate with the Competition Commission but I could find no more information on the outcome of this case. The importance of textbooks, especially to those most vulnerable make this a particularly urgent matter to my mind, and one whose implications resonate with the shenanigans I write about in my book.

At the end if my book you’ll find a long list of stories that the Competition Commission has investigated. Also check out the Competition Commission’s record on their website here.

Nov 18 2019

Izak interviews me about my new book, Corporation Games