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2016 Puku Story Festival to focus on decolonising the literary landscape (Grahamstown, 18 – 21 February)

Chasing The Tails of My Father’s CattleThe Ugly DucklingSindiwe Magona - Climbing HigherFrom Robben Island to BishopscourtTo My Children's Children
Haai Zoleka!Umcelo Neentsomi Zase-AfrikaHave You Seen Zandile?Love ChildOur Story MagicStories of Africa

 
The Puku Story Festival will take place in Grahamstown from 18 – 21 February this year.

This year the festival will aim to take forward current debates about decolonising the literary landscape, inspired by Walter Rubusana’s book Zemk’iinkomo Magwalandini, an isiXhosa phrase with a literal meaning close to “The cattle are being stolen, you cowards!”, but the metaphoric meaning “preserve your heritage”.

This year, the Puku Story Festival has chosen to honour Sindiwe Magona, legendary writer, poet, dramatist, storyteller, actress and motivational speaker. A festival highlight will be daily performances of the play Mother to Mother, adapted from Magona’s book of the same name.

In addition, the National English Literary Museum (NELM) will partner with Grocott’s Mail to organise the book launch of Magona’s latest book Chasing the Tails of my Father’s Cattle.

Other events to look forward to are the annual book exhibition, which will be curated by NELM again this year, a poetry writing workshop in isiXhosa, led by Hleze Kunju, and the Iimbongi workshop led by the Rhodes University Department of African Language Studies.

Legendary storyteller Gcina Mhlophe will present a workshop on creative writing for children.

On Saturday, 20 February – International Mother Language Day – Magona will present a keynote address at the launch of a special catalogue on her work.

View the Puku Story Festival programme:

More information from the Puku Story Festival:

nullZemk’iinkomo Magwalandini!

The Puku Story Festival that will take place from 18 – 21 February 2016 will invoke Dr Walter Rubusana’s clarion call “Zemk’iinkomo Magwalandini” to take forward current debates about decolonising the literary landscape. This theme encourages us to interrogate the status of African literature today and to draw attention to the urgent need to develop and promote it for the benefit of current and future generations.

With this theme in mind, the Puku Story Festival has chosen to honour Dr Sindiwe Magona, one of this continent’s most prolific writers in both English and her mother tongue, isiXhosa. Her body of work covers all genres – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, novel, memoir, biography and children’s literature.

A very wise man said: “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour” (Mark 6:1-6). Is this true of Dr Sindiwe Magona? Internationally acclaimed, with books translated into many languages, is she sufficiently appreciated in her own linguistic community? Are her books available in the schools and libraries of the Eastern Cape, the province of her birth? Do we appreciate our local writers? And if not, what can we do about it? These are the questions that will be interrogated by writers, storytellers, poets and praise singers at the Puku Story Festival.

This tribute to Dr Magona will take the form of author conversations, a book exhibition, poetry and storytelling sessions, a theatre production, workshops and a church service.

A highlight of the festival will be daily performances of the play Mother to Mother. The play, was adapted from Sindiwe Magona’s book of the same name by the award-winning actress Thembi Mtshali-Jones, celebrated director Janice Honeyman and the author herself. The poignant and powerful play has been a worldwide success. Thembi Mtshali-Jones performances at the Puku Story Festival are significant because it will be the first time the play is performed in isiXhosa before Eastern Cape audiences. The high school students, who make up the bulk of the audiences, will benefit from seeing the theatre adaptation of one of their English setbooks. Post-performance discussions by the actress and the author will give the young people insights into the presentation of a story in a different platform and a different language.

As has been the case last year, the programme has been carefully crafted to cater for different audiences – children of all ages, parents, teachers, librarians, writers and publishers, literacy and reading promotion organisations, language, literacy and heritage activists, academics, storytellers, media and the general public.

The book exhibition will again be curated by the National English Literary Museum (NELM). Workshops continue to form an integral part of the programme. NELM will also partner with Grocott’s Mail to organise the book launch of Dr Magona’s latest book Chasing the Tails of my Father’s Cattle.

By popular demand last year’s workshops will be repeated – poetry writing in isiXhosa by Hleze Kunju and the Iimbongi workshop by Rhodes University Department of African Language Studies. In addition SABC Head of Children’s Content Dr Nokuthula Msimang and Senior Producer at Ochre Productions Nomvuyo Mzamane will present a workshop on writing for children across multiple platforms. The ever-popular Gcina Mhlophe will present a workshop on creative writing for children. Early childhood and foundation phase teachers will be the main target group for these workshops.

The influence of headline sponsor REDISA (Recycling and Development Initiative of South Africa) will be evident in the environmental focus of the festival. Through a partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland and REDISA, Puku will be organising a series of workshops that will bring together environmental activists, writers, publishers to generate literature to increase environmental consciousness among children and their educators. The first of these workshops will be held at the Puku Story Festival and will focus on environmental content in isiXhosa.

Successful elements of the previous festival – tours of the Eastern Star gallery, visits to the optometrist for eye-screening, storytelling and games – will be repeated, as will the International Mother Language Day celebration. This will take place on Saturday 20 February and will feature a keynote address by Sindiwe Magona and the launch of a special catalogue on her work.

Puku will continue the tradition of closing the Festival with a church service at St Philip’s Church in Fingo township.

Partnerships with the National Arts Festival, Rhodes University, the Nelson Mandela Institute of Rural Development and Education at Fort Hare, the Fingo Festival and a host of education and literacy organisations have seen the Puku Story Festival grow from the inaugural edition in September 2013 to an annual event every February. The 2015 Puku Story Festival earned a BASA award for its main sponsor, REDISA.

The Festival aims to spark children’s interest in storytelling and reading in isiXhosa, to provide a platform for collaboration and communication between producers and consumers of literature for children and teenagers, to enable publisher and writers to exhibit their product and to increase availability of isiXhosa books to materially deprived and marginalised communities.

Past sponsors of the Puku Story Festival include REDISA, Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy Fund, National Arts Council, Business and Arts South Africa, Convergence Partners, the Motsepe Foundation, Thebe Investments, SASOL, African General Equity group and South Africa Partners.

Puku Story Festival isiXhosa programme:

2016 Puku Story Festival isiXhosa programme


 

 
Puku Story Festival English programme:

2016 Puku Story Festival English programme


 

Book details

 

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