Tag Archives: Joshua Mentz

Looking for the door to ‘Enter’?

Is ‘Enter’ a tough read? The answer to the question, based on feedback by presenters at the launch of the book ‘Enter’, has been mixed and telling:

  • The book is “deep and yet accessible” (Paul Ashton)
  • “I read it remarkably quickly – twice.” (Joshua Mentz)
  • “I found (the book) a tough read and a very interesting and a fascinating read.” (Ken Barris)
  • “(The book) will speak to those who take the trouble to engage with it” (Louis de Villiers)
  • “The book demands that you enter, and entering a space is different from how we normally approach life. Entering is hugely challenging.” (Matthew Mentz)

So just in case you feel daunted at the prospect of getting into ‘Enter’, the following summary of each presenter’s take on the book should be of value to you as an overview and synthesis of the book.

Paul Ashton (read by Penny Busetto)
Penny reading from Paul Ashton's introduction to the book: "Many of us live in a state of disconnection from our whole selves " | photo credit: Ken Barris
Penny reading from Paul Ashton’s introduction to the book: “Many of us live in a state of disconnection from our whole selves ” | photo credit: Ken Barris

Paul Ashton’s talk (‘Entering the void’) contextualises the book by placing it within a Jungian framework in which, according to Jung, the purpose of life is not to become good but instead to actualise by becoming whole. This requires us to integrate unconscious, suppressed and shadow stuff that together constitute deadness or void at the centre of our being into which we must plunge in order to find ourselves.

Ken Barris
Ken Barris: "... so Hennie I think you also have to look into the heart of lightness as well as the heart of darkness." | photo credit: Tony Carr shooting with film (non-digital)
Ken Barris: “… so Hennie I think you also have to look into the heart of lightness as well as the heart of darkness.” | photo credit: Tony Carr shooting with film (non-digital)

Ken Barris responded as I anticipated many might. He found the book a difficult, challenging and interesting read but, in line with the author’s temperament, dark and pessimistic. Ken problematized the book’s hypothesis that the act of thinking separates us from world-in-itself (as in the world beyond our respective thought-bubbles). His closing, playful yet pointed advice was that the author should also look into the heart of light.

Louis de Villiers
Louis de Villiers: 'If (the book) touches one person and breaks the rock for the tears to flow, it will be worth it'.
Louis de Villiers: ‘If (the book) touches one person and breaks the rock for the tears to flow, it will be worth it’.

Like Ken Louis de Villiers’s speech (no video) pointed out that the author’s nature militates against light-heartedness and joviality, borne out in the writing, and that few will be able (or be inclined) to follow his (spartan) example. Ken and Louis’ responses are important in that they most likely represent a majority position

Joshua Mentz
Joshua Mentz: " ...there’s a narrative in the book of where we as a society are in association with our psyches" | photo credit: Ken Barris
Joshua Mentz: ” …there’s a narrative in the book of where we as a society are in association with our psyches” | photo credit: Ken Barris

Joshua Mentz widened and deepened the dialectic by pointing out that apart from the autobiographical aspect, the book deals also with where we are as a society in association with our psyches and how that plays out and impacts on our relationships – also with animals and the planet as a whole.

Matthew Mentz
Matthew Mentz: "The book demands you enter." | photo credit: Tony Carr shooting with film (non-digital)
Matthew Mentz: “The book demands you enter.” | photo credit: Tony Carr shooting with film (non-digital)

Matthew Mentz brought the discussion down to earth by bringing home to those present that the book’s real challenge lies in its demand that readers enter a space different from how we normally approach life. An exercise made incalculably difficult if who we are has been suppressed (and we are therefore almost entirely void)

Llewellyn Alberts
"Jesus kom weer ... " ('Jesus is coming again') - Lucky Lew (also known as Llewellyn Alberts) playing one of his songs at the launch of 'Enter' | photo credit: Ken Barris
“Jesus kom weer … ” (‘Jesus is coming again’) – Lucky Lew (also known as Llewellyn Alberts) playing one of his songs at the launch of ‘Enter’ | photo credit: Ken Barris

Llewellyn Alberts sings four poignant – sometimes gritty autobiographical songs that touch on all these themes thus enriching, deepening and rounding off the discussion.

To view any or all of the above presentations click here

Still daunted? Questions? Please use the comment box below.

Feature image is by Gustav Doré  in Alighieri, D. The Vision of Hell, Part 2, The Inferno. Project Gutenberg | EBook. #8780

‘Entering the void’ and other voices

Paul Ashton, Jungian analyst, Ken Barris, writer, critic and friend and three readers who helped shape the text: Louis de Villiers, Joshua Mentz and Matthew Mentz, and Llewellyn Alberts – quoted at the head of chapter eight, were asked to present at the launch of my indie-published book ‘Enter’. This is what they said.

Please note that if you have a problem with sound you can pump up the volume using the YouTube slider (bottom left of the YouTube screen) and the volume control of your computer or speakers. Enjoy!

Paul Ashton: ‘Entering the void’, introduces the book

Penny Busetto reads an introduction to the book written by Dr Paul Ashton who couldn’t attend:

Summary: In his introduction Paul noted and showed how his own ‘pet interest’ in the topic of the void overlaps with the book (Enter). Paul’s sense is that void experiences signify disconnection from or loss of our whole selves, which has come about through unconsciousness, neglect or denial. Paul felt that the book describes this loss, and how descent or falling into the void brings about the dark night of the soul revealing long repressed negative aspects of ourselves that we didn’t know were us – but also positive aspects. Over time, by doing what the alchemists describe as turning base metals into gold: a sense of solidity, wholeness and nuance is achieved which enables the integration of light and dark, self and others, and out of which choice flows. Paul believes that the book describes this process.

Click to download Paul’s talk: ‘Entering the void’

Ken Barris crits the book

Summary: To illustrate the point that in his view Hennie’s temperament (Hennie or Hendrik, the author) invites or dwells on calamities [laughter from the audience], Ken commenced his address with a scripture reading from chapter one verse eight of the Book of Job. Ken likened Job’s contestation with a metaphysical God to Hennie’s grappling with the idea of mind or consciousness. Ken found the book a tough, interesting and challenging read that threw up two problems or challenges for him: (1) how do you think and (2) who are you? With respect to the first problem Ken questioned the premise in the book that humankind is by definition separate from world-in-itself by pointing to the audience that he noted comprised community. On the question of who we are, Ken suggested that, generationally speaking, were Hennie to look at his own family line he would see that not only trauma but creativity has been passed down and that additionally to looking into the heart of darkness, Hennie should look into the heart of light.

Click to download Ken’s speech: Ken Barris crits ‘Enter’

Louis de Villiers gives his take

Summary: As he was unable to be present Louis mailed an input which unfortunately was overlooked during the last-minute preparations for the talk.

Louis recounted how he met Hendrik (the author) 15 years previously, his impressions at the time and how their friendship grew. He then expanded on Hendrik’s propensity for seriousness. He referred to an incident in the book to illustrate what he sees as Hendrik’s fearlessness to go where most would not dare: namely, to drop the societal façade and to connect deeply with another. He ended by saying that the book will speak to anyone who takes the trouble to engage with it.

Click to download Louis’ speech: Louis de Villiers’ take on ‘Enter’

Joshua Mentz gives his take on the book

Summary: Joshua confided that he had always experienced Hendrik (the author and Joshua’s father) as somewhat eccentric but, as the years progressed, also wise. He believed Hendrik was “wired differently”, a quality that attracted others. He mentioned that Hendrik had had a hard life and been very brave to have gone through what is described in the book, and also by laying himself bare in the book. The book is therefore an intimate read. Additional to the autobiographical side, the book contains a narrative about the interplay of individual psyche with society and how this plays out with respect to how we treat ourselves, one another, animals and the planet. Joshua concluded by saying that it’s an important book highly coherent and an engaging and a surprisingly quick read that he believes will have a positive effect, and that it would therefore be good for people to read it.

Click to download Josh’s speech: Joshua Mentz’s take on ‘Enter’

Matthew Mentz gives his take on the book

Summary: Matthew concurred that the book is challenging because it demands readers enter a space different from how we normally approach life. Therefore in preparation for his speech Matt confided that he had tried to enter – the result being the clothes he was wearing. He then questioned why he had dressed that way. Was it he or to make his dad (Hendrik, the author of the book) proud? He concluded that if the latter had been his motive, then he hadn’t entered. References to Dante, Eliot and hell in the text, triggered for Matthew a question he had pondered over the years, namely, the implications of the alchemists’ understanding of ‘as above so below’. Matthew suggested that because we have forgotten why we react as we do, maybe things aren’t the way we assume them to be and that possibly it’s hell we need to get into. Because Hendrik lays himself bare in the book Matthew pointed out that he also lays his family bare and because Hendrik’s parents are dead the way they are described in the book isn’t the whole picture. Matthew concluded by saying that he was proud of the book. And although everyone could read the book it was really a book of kin in that Hendrik as scribe had captured something important that will remain in the family and be passed down the generations.

Click to download Matt’s speech: Matthew Mentz’s take on ‘Enter’

Lucky Lew AKA Llewellyn Alberts plays four of his compositions

  1. Kom dans Klaradyn (Come and dance Klaradyn): A song about love doomed on the altar of perfection quoted in chapter eight of the book
  2. Jesus kom weer (Jesus is coming): A song for Job
  3. Bloemfontein (Bloemfontein): Autobiographical tale of woe played out in Bloemfontein (a town in South Africa)
  4. Die huis van Maria Maree (The house of Maria Maree): One of Lucky Lew’s happy songs about love among the sirens
Thank you

A thank you to each of the above presenters, as also Oscar O’Ryan, who, at very short notice, shot the videos. Thank you also to our photographers: Ken Barris, Tony Carr and Oscar O’Ryan.

Thanks guys for helping launch ‘Enter’

‘Enter’ saw the light of day almost a year earlier but when the Book Lounge declined to include the book in their launch programme the books remained in their boxes under the bench in the lounge for close on a year.

What finally prodded me into action was the realisation that unless I held the launch before the imminent permanent departure from Cape Town of my eldest son (Matthew our first-born) and his family I would have difficulty ever finding another opportunity to launch the book. But where?

Fortunately Joshua (our second-born) and Rowena Quinan (his spouse) came to the rescue and offered their beautiful home in Camps Bay, with an almost 360 degree view of the 12 apostles and the Atlantic ocean.


Sasha (Matt’s spouse) took on the task of managing the whole process in my absence – as I live in Suurbraak, and my good friend Malcolm Doyle-Davidson (Club African Day wines) arranged a generous sponsorship of some excellent reds and whites courtesy of Eugene Kinghorn of Saxenburg wine estate. The presenters (see below) all agreed to help launch the book, the invitations went out and those who accepted arrived.


Lia met and registered the guests at the door. Josh and Rowena’s house started filling up. Josh gathered everyone around for the inputs which Oscar O’Ryan, when approached at the very last moment, kindly agreed to video:

  • Penny Busetto read an introduction to the book: ‘Entering the Void’, written by Paul Ashton who couldn’t attend
  • Ken Barris offered a crit of the book
  • Josh tended the apologies of Louis de Villiers, who had been a reader during the editing phase, and who couldn’t attend
  • Joshua Mentz, a reader during the editing phase, gave his take on the book
  • Matthew Mentz, a reader during the editing phase, gave his take on the book
  • Llewellyn Alberts, quoted in chapter eight of the book, played four of his compositions

Oscar’s footage has been edited and the Afrikaans translated into English and uploaded to YouTube. Additionally each speech was transcribed and summarised. To access the videos, transcriptions and summaries please click here.

Below are pics of their presentations (to view the full-sized image click on any image and use the arrow keys left or right. To escape click ‘x’ top left or hit your ‘Esc’ key):

Each presentation built on its predecessor. In the audience: a sense of solemnity and of care and love were apparent see below (to view the full-sized image click on any image and use the arrow keys left or right. To escape click ‘x’ top left or hit your ‘Esc’ key):

After the presentations Malcolm plied everyone (our Muslim brethren, Ighsaan and Redewan, and our teetotallers excluded!!!) with wine, Rowena passed around the snacks and helped Sasha invoice copies of the book. I signed.

Below are pics of some of those present  (to view the full-sized image click on any image and use the arrow keys left or right. To escape click ‘x’ top left or hit your ‘Esc’ key):


The book was very much a team effort. I have already introduced the readers above (Fred, Josh, Louis, Matt) who were merciless during the editing stage (you can find Matt’s contact details below) . Who also worked hard during this phase was Stefanie Swanepoel (you can find her contact details below) who served as editor and proofreader. Its professional feel are all thanks to Doret Ferreira (contact details below), while Dustan Franks helped create the supporting website (details below).

I’ve already mentioned how the evening would not have been as huge a success that it was without such a beautiful venue (Rowena and Joshua), launch manager (Sasha), reception (Lia), Oscar agreeing at the very last moment to capture video footage of the proceedings (find his contact details below), a warm yet crisp and firm anchor man (Josh), a strong team of presenters (Penny, Ken, Josh, Matt and Llewellyn), something I would never have thought of: a sound system (Llewellyn – find his contact details below), volunteer photographers (Oscar, Ken, and Tony Carr who went all retro, non-digital, shooting with film), a wine part-sponsorship organised by Malcolm (to order wine see his contact details below) to bring down costs.

‘Enter’ has now officially been launched thus confirming that I am blessed to be related to and friends of what must be the some of the most interesting, generous, warm, loving and kindest people in this world, each of whom I thank humbly for kindness and support in what for me was an extremely difficult birth.

Stop press

Enter has gone on to win a South African Independent Publishing Award in the philosophy category. My thanks to Ken who alerted me to the award by putting me in contact with Darryl Earl David of UKN (University of KwaZulu-Natal) who manages the awards. Darryl’s contact details are below if you want to be put on his festival mailing list or have an indie-book in the wings.

Supporting one another

I believe we should support one another in the same way I was supported and so below I’ve listed the contact details of those who helped me – in case you ever need a related service:

  • Anything requiring handwork, skill and/or creativity (metalwork, woodwork, electronics, roofing): Llewellyn Alberts | Salsa Sound, salsasound@gmail.com or 076 848 9560
  • Boutique website design: Rowena Quinan | Precision IT consulting
  • Dance and the creative arts: Louise Coetzer and Oscar O’Ryan | Darkroom Contemporary, louise@darkroomcontemporary.com & oscar@darkroomcontemporary.com
  • Dance and the creative arts (performance and creative arts as tools for healing and transformation): Jennifer van Papendorp | Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy – papendorp@telkomsa.net, 083 55 66 054
  • Editing and proofreading: Stefanie Swanepoel | stefanieswanepoel@yahoo.co.uk
  • Fine wines (large carefully selected range, reasonably priced and delivered to your door): Malcolm Doyle-Davidson | African Day Wine Club, malcolm@clubafricanday.com or 082 363 9361
  • Graphic design (illustrator and publication design, including brand identity and information graphics): Doret Ferreira | dotted line design – doret@dottedlinedesign.co.za
  • Music: Llewellyn Alberts | salsasound@gmail.com or 076 848 9560
  • Photography: Oscar O’Ryan | Oscar O’Ryan or Darkroom Contemporary  – oscar@darkroomcontemporary.com
  • Research (sustainable development & food systems) & Programme Evaluation: Sasha Lagrange-Mentz | sasha.lagrange@gmail.com
  • Sound: Llewellyn Alberts | Salsa Sound – salsasound@gmail.com or 076 848 9560
  • South African Independent Publishing Awards and literary festivals: Darryl Earl David: | davidd@ukzn.ac.za
  • Sustainable livelihoods (agroecology as in autonomous and ecological household and farming systems): Matthew Mentz NicheUnity
  • Translation English-French and French-English: Sasha Lagrange-Mentz | sasha.lagrange@gmail.com
  • Videography: Oscar O’Ryan | Oscar O’Ryan or oscar@darkroomcontemporary.com
  • WordPress/website design (freelance developer with more than 10 years experience in web development & online marketing. Focuses on high quality web development solutions and specialises in front end development, WordPress development and performance optimisation): Dustan Franks | WordPress Ninja