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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Johannesburg Collectable Book Faire (7 April)


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One year anniversary of Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma (20 March)

Via The Book Lounge

It has been a year since the release of this highly-anticipated debut collection from one of the country’s most acclaimed young voices, marking a massive shift in South African poetry. Reprinted five times in 2017, Collective Amnesia is now in it’s seventh printing and shows no sign of slowing down.

Koleka Putuma’s exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history in Collective Amnesia is fearless and unwavering. Her incendiary poems demand justice, insist on visibility and offer healing. Collective Amnesia is a powerful appraisal, reminder and revelation of all that has been forgotten and ignored, both in South African society, and within ourselves.

Koleka has written an engaging account of her experiences since the publication of the book. For insight into her journey, read the blog post here.

Join us as we celebrate the anniversary of this remarkable collection. There will be readings by Koleka as well as a signing. There will also be limited Collective Amnesia merchandise for sale.
Event Details

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Provoking thoughts, great inspirations and heated discussions at the opening night of the 21st Time of the Writer Festival

By Marlyn Ntsele

Attendees at the 21st Time of the Writer Opening Night. ©Charles Dlamini.

Literature lovers gathered at the opening night of the 21st Time of the Writer Festival which took place on Monday 12 March 2018 in Elisabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu Natal. To give all guests a warm Durban welcome maskandi guitarist and vocalist Mphendukelwa Mkhize provided the musical opening.

Prof Stephen M. Mutula, acting DVC & Head of College of Humanities, had the honour of opening the festival with a speech in which he emphasised the importance of the festival in bringing together leading African intellectuals and cultural practitioners and placing them in public events and engagements with local communities. Following this Miss Tebogo Msizi from eThekwini Municipality, one of the partners of the festival, emphasised the important role Time of the Writer has played within acquiring the title of “City of Literature” by UNESCO in 2017.

After the speeches, host Chipo Zhou, acting director of the Centre of Creative Arts that organises the event, opened the stage for the participating writers to present themselves and offer the audience a taste on their perspective on this year’s theme: “changing the narrative”.

The Zambian Jennipher Zulu shared her experience of writing her first book with the audience: “I didn’t really sit down to write a book, I was just putting down my issues.” She will be launching her book It’s Hard to keep a Secret on Saturday morning 17 March at Ike’s book shop.

Lesego Rampolokeng introduced himself the only way he knows how to, with a thought-provoking four minute poem.

Lindiwe Mabuza shared that she was encouraged by Can Themba to write, but she only took his advice years later when in 1977 she went to Lusaka to work with the ANC women authors and they published a book titled Malibongwe.

Lindiwe Mabuza. ©Charles Dlamini

Another Zambian author on the program, Luka Mwango, shared that he thinks stories are the metaphor of life: “We live in two worlds, in the material world and the world in our head.”

American MK Asante broke out in rap when he shared: “Take two sets of notes, the one to pass the test and the truth.”

Mohale Mashigo shared with the audience that she never use to recognise herself in the stories she used to read when she was younger: “I did not know how distant my life was to the people in the books, until I read The Colour Purple.”

Patrick Bond mentioned the importance of polital-economical critique.

Children’s author Refilwe Moahloli emphasised the importance of magic, she feels anything is possible in the world of literature.

Rapper and PHD student at Oxford, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh (author of Democracy & Delusion) also decided to break out in rap, before telling the audience: “Nobody claps when I quote from the book, but they do when I rap….”

Themba Qwabe started writing many years ago around 1994 when he first met his former lecturer Mr. Hlengwa, who forced him to write. He shared his thoughts on language in literature: “I do not know why I am called an African author if I write in English, but an isiZulu author when I write in an African language.”

Unathi Slasha shared his feeling that there is nothing of interest in this country and encouraged the audience to “engage with the text”.

Yewande Omotoso got the audience thinking with the following line: “In order to change the narrative, we need to know what the dominant is.” She also questioned how we can make a gift of something we stole.

Lastly, Durban based Kirsten Miller shared that she feels that we are all humans and the political is always personal.

All in all the audience experienced a great mix of inspiring authors and challenging opening speeches. It gave everyone something to look forward to during this coming week: provoking thoughts, great inspirations and heated discussions.

On Tuesday 13 March, the authors went out on their respective field trips, Themba Qwabe brought a visit to Phambili High School where he met a group of aspiring learners and addressed them about literature.

“The learners were very interested in learning more about writing, I adviced their coordinator to form a reading writing club at the school, so the learners to follow their aspirations,” says Qwabe.

Another group of authors, MK Asante, Lindiwe Mabuza, Refiloe Moahloli and Yewande Omotoso, visited the Tongaat Central Library for a series of workshops and panel discussions. “It was absolutely beautiful, I really enjoyed it. There was a group of high school kids. It was a very interactive sessions, as much as we were sharing with the kids, they were sharing with us, which was really beautiful,” says Refiloe Moahloli about the session.

Additionally Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Luka Mwango visited learners at Mangosuthu University of Technology and Patrick Bond addresses learners at Worker’s College.

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Woordfees 2018 has kicked off!

Woordfees 2018 is in full swing!

For the past few days the quaint university town of Stellenbosch has played host to artists, musicians, performers and – of course – authors from across the country.

If you’re in the western cape, be sure to head to this dorpie before Saturday, 10 March for the opportunity to hear and see your favourite local writers in action.

Past events include discussions on translations, poetry slams, and philosophy cafes. Future events to look forward to include discussions with Tim du Plessis and Thuli Madonsela, Redi Tlhabi and Adriaan Basson, and a whole array of authors (including Fred Khumalo, Alexandra Fuller, and Achmat Dangor) on writing history.

Click here for upcoming events!

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Woordfees-gesprek: belangrike nuwe boek oor die invloed van Griekse en Romeinse idees in Suid-Afrika

South Africa, Greece, RomeVyf akademici van die Departement Antieke Studie by US gaan by die Woordfees op 7 Maart om 15h30 in die Thom-teater Seminaarkamer ʼn gesprek oor dié boek (uit die Cambridge University Press-stal) voer.

Dit gaan nie net oor die SA Grondwet, empire of argitektuur nie: haas elke denkbare aspek van ons hedendaagse lewe en kennisstrukture kan na die antieke wêreld teruggevoer het. Die subtitel van die boek, South Africa, Greece, Rome is juis Classical Confrontations: die botsende en kontensieuse word hierin toegelig, maar daar sal ook vertel word oor hoe ʼn gemene kennis van die antieke tot versoening kan lei (en gelei het).

Die redakteur van die boek se inleiding beskryf hoe Codesa-samesprekeings tussen die NP en die ANC in 1990 by een geleenheid baie gespanne geraak het, tot Dr Gerrit Viljoen en Chris Hani tydens ʼn teepouse oor hul gemeenskaplike kennis van en liefde vir die antieke Griekse tragedie begin gesels het. Dit het tot ʼn meer gemoedelike benadering by hierdie uiteenlopende deelnemers aan die gesprek gelei. By ʼn ander geleentheid is die opvoering van ʼn Griekse tragedie gekombineer met die opvoer van grepe uit vertellings voor die Waarheids- en Versoeningskommissie. Die dramatiese raamwerk het die besondere lyding van mense tot die universele begrip van leed verhef.

Die vyf lede van die Departement Antieke van US gaan ʼn tweetalige gesprek hou, al is die publikasie in Engels ter wille van die internasionale teikensmark.

ʼn Komplimentêre eksemplaar van die boek sal by die gespreksgeleentheid aan die Rektor van US, Prof Wim de Villiers, oorhandig word. Sy suster Fran was dosent in Latyn en het tragies jonk gesterf. Die Dekaan van Lettere, Prof Tony Leysens sal ook ʼn eksemplaar ontvang.

ʼn Spesiale slapband-Afrika-uitgawe sal by die Lapa Boeketent te koop aangebied word, teen ongeveer ʼn vyfde van die prys van die hardeband uitgawe.

ʼn Voorsmakie…


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28 Days of Language Activism 2018: Launch of Foundation Phase CAPS Linked Bilingual Dictionaries

The South African language National Lexicography Units, National Language Boards, Provincial Language Committees and their mother body the Pan South African Language Board, take great pleasure in inviting you to two launches of ten new indigenous language – English Foundation Phase CAPS linked bilingual illustrated Dictionaries at:

Foyer of the Department of Basic Education off – Sol Plaatjie House, 222 Struben Street, Pretoria on the 27th February from 10h30 to 14h00 – the penultimate event in PanSALB’s 28 Days of Language Activism Campaign in 2018. Please RSVP to:

Take this opportunity to meet with the Editors in Chief to find out about their work in supporting our indigenous languages by developing material that will improve literacy in them and English.

Exclusive Books Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria on the 27th February at 17h30 for 18h00 – the penultimate event in PanSALB’s 28 Days of Language Activism Campaign in 2018.
Please RSVP to:

The National Lexicography Units are Government structures Constitutionally and Legislatively mandated to develop dictionaries and other material which will “elevate the status and advance the use of our indigenous languages”. We are further obligated to ensure that “no language is disadvantaged over any other”.

The publication of these dictionaries converts the first part of Government’s obligations into practical action which supports the Department of Basic Education, schools, teachers and parents, to improve the quality of literacy teaching and learning among both Home Language and First Additional language learners at Grades R to 3. Dictionary use, rather than their development, will help Government Departments to achieve their Constitutional obligation to our languages. We must all now act to ensure that these dictionaries are made available to schools.

Regular dictionary use by young learners will improve their vocabulary and spelling while developing basic reference skills which will aid indigenous language mother tongue speakers to improve their English in preparation for the transfer to English as Language of Learning and Teaching at Grade 4. Speakers of other languages will also benefit by having the support of these dictionaries in learning indigenous languages ultimately creating a more multilingual society.

These are the first dictionaries developed for the Foundation Phase by agencies of Government for Government and are an important addition to our current range of higher level monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in all indigenous languages.

If you would like to know more about our range official dictionaries e-mail

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Tsitsi Dangarembga to deliver Mapungbubwe Annual Lecture at UJ (20 March)


Nervous Conditions

Book details


The Book of Not

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Artist Bursaries available for the SU Woordfees 2018

For artists, the Stellenbosch University Woordfees is more than excellent entertainment and food for thought. It is an experience where creative sparks fly – between art and audience, between concepts and ideas, and often between artists, generations, languages and cultures too.

The Woordfees festival programme offers a rich variety of inspiration for writers, theatre and film makers, actors and for classical as well as contemporary musicians. Artists, however, are not always able to afford festival attendance or to take in all the shows that pique their interest.

With its new Artist Bursaries initiative, the Woordfees offers five artists the opportunity to recharge their creative batteries and to fully experience the festival this year. All the Woordfees expects from bursary holders, is to share their festival experiences and their opinions on the shows they attended in a journal.

An Artist Bursary includes:
- R5 000 for travel and accommodation, to be used at the bursary holder’s discretion
- two meals per day in the VIP area for a maximum of five days
- free attendance of all productions/shows in the relevant genre, i.e. the genre in which the bursary holder is a practicing artist

In order to be considered for a bursary, applicants need to submit the following:
- between 300 and 500 words on why they will benefit from attending the 2018 SU Woordfees
- a short CV of the applicant’s artistic career with two references

Send applications to Danie Marais at by the 12th of February 2018.

Please note: No late applications will be considered and no correspondence regarding bursary decisions will be entered into. Only artists who are in no way involved with the SU Woordfees 2018, may apply for an Artist Bursary.

For further information, contact Danie Marais at

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Abantu Book Festival 2017 is here!

Today marks day one of the annual Abantu Book Festival!

Abantu Book Festival has become an annual pilgrimage for black writers and readers held in Soweto to celebrate the rich and diverse literary heritage emerging from the African continent. The second edition is planned for 7-10 December 2017.

While the book remains the central medium of the festival, we have poetry and musical performances, writing and publishing workshops, panel discussions and in-conversations, as well as film-screening woven into the mix. The best poets, novelists, playwrights, biographers, literary scholars, musicians, actors, activists, thinkers, and readers from as far as can be imagined, take over the historic location of Soweto and make it a literary village.

The day events are held at the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, and the night sessions at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani. Entry is free for day events, and at night tickets cost R20.00 only. The designated bookseller has a fine selection of titles by black writers on sale for the duration of the festival.

This is the space we’ve been yearning for. Let there be healing.

Click here for the 2017 programme.

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Join Julie Mentor and her team at Embrace for a day dedicated to storytelling and reading as a family

Two sets of chubby legs sit on either side of mine. Sticky fingers tap at the page in front of us, ready to turn at the right time. I sniff the sweet mix of dried sunblock and apples and a day full of playtime. Raising toddlers means that there are very few moments of ‘quiet and calm’ in our home. Our boys prefer to be roaring dinosaurs exploring the tops of my furniture to doing activities that require them to sit still.

The current single exception? Story time. “Would you like me to read you a story?” I ask, and off they run to their bookshelf to choose which adventures we will go on for the evening.

We settle in our favourite story-time spot, my eldest on my right and my youngest on my left, and I begin. “Wise old man, won’t you help me please? My house is a squash and a … SKWARK!” I exclaim with a glint of mischief in my eyes that I believe would get Julia Donaldson’s approval. This sends them into a fit of giggles and exuberant head-shaking – every time!

“No, Mommy. It’s a squash and a SQUEEZE!” They both yell, wrapping their arms around me in demonstration. “Oh is it really?” I ask, squeezing them back.

There are times where I miss my babies. My growing boys are, rightly, more selective with their affection. They seldom nap in my arms. They are too busy enjoying their growing independence. I get it, I really do, but oh how grateful I am for story time. Our bodies hug each other, our heads bend in and my boys are happy to just be. We create our own little world and our own rhythm and I’ve come to treasure this space in the bustle of our daily lives.

As a working mom, the burden of guilt is constant. I do not have endless time to spend taking in the wonder of my precious boys. I have to find creative ways to be in their world. Reading together sparks endless and often surprising conversations. Story time can be so much more than the story. It can be tickles and songs and squeals.

Story time is not only for the kids. I find myself drawn to the baritone lilts in my husband’s voice as he brings the book characters to life. We are both amused and amazed by our three-year-old’s ability to recall and recreate his version of his favourite tales. More questions, more belly laughs, more interpretations. Our family comes together around books. They fill our home, our car, our conversations and our imaginations.

You can join Julie Mentor and her team at Embrace at the Kids at the Centre event which takes place on Saturday 18 November at the Company’s Garden in Cape Town from 10am – 2pm. Together with Nal’ibali and a host of partners, the event will celebrate all children and focus on fun interaction through a variety of activities including a dedicated space for sharing the love of storytelling and reading as a family.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit:

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