VOC Presenter Launches Second Book


Shafiq Morton in studio

VOC’s award-winning senior journalist and Drivetime presenter, Shafiq Morton, is set to launch his second book, Surfing behind the Wall, My Palestinian Journey, at a glittering ceremony at the Islamic Museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday 27 April.

Guest of honour will be former Prime Minister, Tuan Dr Mahathir Muhammad, who as an elderly statesman has fostered a keen interest in Palestinian affairs, and whose passion is the criminalisation of war.

Morton’s book is described as a “distinctive, personal account of historical Palestine laced with colour, humour and compassion”.

The international launch of Surfing behind the Wall is a joint venture between the Cape-based Dome Publications, the Malaysian-based Fajr Symphony and Cape anti-apartheid activist Dr Anwah Nagia’s Kaaf Trust.

Dr Yunus Yasin of Fajr Symphony said that as an organisation dedicated to the world-wide promotion of science and culture, Surfing behind the Wall with its rounded views and historical text was an ideal vehicle for awareness surrounding Palestine.

“Two years ago we launched Morton’s first book Notebooks from Makkah and Madinah here in the Far East with great success, and we’re confident that Surfing behind the Wall can go on to great things,” he said.

Dr Yasin confirmed that Morton would be also doing a tour of Singapore and Penang to promote the book.

Dr Anwah Nagia of the Kaaf Trust said that Surfing behind the Wall spoke to “a continuing discourse on contemporary Palestine” and that it was a privilege to be involved in the project.

“I’m delighted to be associated with Palestine and the promotion of narrative on it. This unique book has great merit and acts as literature for future generations,” he said.

Dr Nagia announced that Surfing behind the Wall would also be an integral part of the establishment of the Palestine Holocaust Centre, soon to be built in central Cape Town.

“The centre will be aimed at promoting positive educational awareness about, for example, Palestine and Rwanda. Our hope is for it to become a vibrant community centre for dialogue, knowledge and learning.

“As our ethos at the Kaaf Trust is poverty alleviation, education, the recognition of historical contribution and empowerment for positive social change, we feel that a centre will be the ideal focus,” he said.

Dr Nagia added that Surfing behind the Wall was a good example of the enabling ethos behind the Kaaf Trust.

“Our involvement is not a straight donation, but one where our contribution towards costs is refunded through the sales of the book and pumped back into other Kaaf projects.”

In that way, the cycle of empowerment does not go dead, but continues to give life to others, said Dr Nagia.

Speaking to VOC, Morton said his book – the result of many years of hard toil and sacrifice – was aimed at a general audience, but still spoke the language of a Muslim exploring and trying to understand the truth about Palestine.

“Whilst we may have our views as a community, too often the narrative has been characterised by exclusivity. This is something I’ve consciously tried to avoid.”

Morton said that Surfing behind the Wall was an eclectic “roller-coaster narrative”, right from his entrance to the country, to tales of the prophets, the historical landscapes, the politics, the depictions of modern heroes and villains and, finally, to a graphic description of the end-days scenario.

Shafiq Morton’s Far East book tour is scheduled to conclude on 8 May when he returns home to prepare for the South African launch of Surfing behind the Wall later in the year.

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