has become something of an internet sensation since publisher Robin Malan announced it – its Facebook group has 1200 members and counting.
Yes I Am! is compiled by Robin Malan and Ashraf Johaardien and takes its cue from ‘the first time’. The experiences of some forty writers, from the famous to the unknown, come together, in stories, poems, letters, diary-entries, SMSes and email.
Among the stories they tell are of first love in the face of colour legislation that outlaws it, love that blossoms despite religious injunctions against it, a chance finding of a condom in the jacket pocket of a life partner, the sheer fun of being young and gay in an early-morning that makes Cape Town look gorgeous …
Brushing shoulders with a swathe of new and emerging writers are two actor Knights (Sir Antony Sher and the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne), two winners of the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award (Edwin Cameron and Jonny Steinberg), the Dean of Cape Town Rowan Q Smith, novelists Damon Galgut, André Carl van der Merwe, Gerald Kraak and the late K Sello Duiker, legendary TAC activist Zackie Achmat, theatre director David Lan, literary agent Tony Peake, playwrights Peter Krummeck, Nicholas Spagnoletti and Pieter Jacobs, arts journalist Shaun de Waal, imam Muhsin Hendricks, defrocked and then reinstated DRC minister Laurie Gaum, the late Delmas Treason Trialist Simon Nkoli, the late actor Blaise Koch … and the alter-ego of that phantom ex-Ambassadress Evita Bezuidenhout, Pieter-Dirk Uys.
Among the newer voices are Peter Damm, Andy Mullins, Drummond Marais, Pieter Fourie, Roger Diamond, Imraan Jaffer, Marius Roux, Tshetlo Selebalo, Fourie Botha, D Watson, Twanji Kalula, Shaundré Balie, Kai Lossgott, Werner Ungerer, Steve Colborne, Rahiem Whisgary, Fabian Ah-Sing, Kyle Carson, Mothusi Mathibe and Alisdair Campbell.