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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Creative writing workshop with Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (25-30 January 2019)

The Talking Table is hosting a creative writing workshop presented by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen! The workshop will take place from 25-30 January in the eastern Free State village of Rosendal.

Facilitator: Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (novelist and head of creative writing at Wits)

Dates: 25-30 January 2019

Venue: DeTuinen country lodge in Rosendal, Eastern Free State

Progamme: A practical, playful, hands-on approach. Full programme at www.thetalkingtable.com

Fees: R13 600 per single person and R12 200 pp sharing. Included accommodation, breakfast and a long-table meal daily and programme fee.

To book: Write to info@thetalkingtable.com before 31 December 2018.

Bronwyn Law-Viljoen is Associate Professor and Head of Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand, editor and co-founder of Fourthwall Books, and former editor of Art South Africa magazine.

She has a PhD in Literature from New York University and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Her first novel, The Printmaker, was published in 2016 (Umuzi) and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Award.

The Talking Table is a creative hub operated by two South Africans on the Greek island of Lesbos.

It hosts workshop in writing, painting, photography, philosophy, business ethics and more. Frederik de Jager, former Publishing Director at Penguin Books and Douw Steyn, former CEO of media companies in Naspers, accommodate, cook and create a sympathetic space for participating guests.

Rosendal will be their second workshop in South Africa.

Rosendal is a beautiful eastern Free State hamlet in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, three and a half hours’ drive from Johannesburg.

The Printmaker

Book details
The Printmaker by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen
Book homepage
EAN: 9781415209127
Find this book with BOOK Finder!


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Win a Nal’ibali mini-library fully stocked with storybooks in different South African languages!

Reading is the apex of educational escapism; reading is fun and informative; reading creates thinkers and dreamers. Slotsom: reading rocks! (Bibliophile shot by Daniel Born.)

 
Nal’ibali, the nationwide reading-for-enjoyment campaign which aims to spark children’s potential through reading and storytelling, is supporting caregivers in kick-starting their children’s 2019 school year by giving away 20 mini-libraries fully stocked with storybooks in different South African languages.

Research shows that children who read for pleasure, do better across all school subjects, including maths.

However, to keep children reading, it’s helpful to understand what motivates them to read.

According to American researchers, Kathryn Edmunds and Kathryn Bauserman, the following factors influence children’s reading behaviours.

• Children are more likely to read a book they chose themselves

• Children enjoy books that match their personal interests

• Children are more likely to choose books that have exciting covers, great illustrations and action-packed plots, as well as books that are funny or scary

• What they could learn from reading a book was important to them

• Their interest in reading was sparked and encouraged by their family members (especially mothers), teachers and friends

• Children were often excited to read books they had heard about from friends

• Children enjoyed being read to by family members and teachers, even if they could already read

• Once they’d caught the reading bug, children continued to motivate themselves to read!

Nal’ibali mini libraries contain a carefully curated selection of books designed to expose children to a range of literacy and illustration styles.

Every library is bilingual in a bid to support a culture a multilingualism, and to help children build a strong foundation in their other tongue as well as English.

“Providing families and classrooms with their own mini libraries is just one of the ways we are nurturing a culture of reading in South Africa. Nal’ibali stories can also be accessed directly from its website, in its regular reading-for-enjoyment supplement or heard on the radio,” explains Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director.

To stand a chance to win one of 20 mini-libraries, send a short motivation on how you plan to enjoy your mini-library with the children in your life to info@nalibali.org by 21 December 2018.

Entrants must also include their name, physical address and contact number. Winners will be notified during the week of 7th January 2019.

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children’s stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Louis Botha is depicted warts-and-all in this biography, writes William Saunderson-Meyer

Published in the Sunday Times

Louis Botha: A Man Apart *****
Richard Steyn
Jonathan Ball Publishers, R260

It’s a cliché that we must take lessons from the past. There are at least two problems with this.

The first is hubris. Each generation feels that is unnecessary, since it is clearly wiser and more competent than the previous one. Until, of course, the passage of time proves it wrong.

The second is a growing, priggish moralism that demands right-thinking and right-speaking. Swathes of history are ignored, especially in SA, simply because the protagonists don’t fit into contemporary mores.

Richard Steyn seems to have a particular contrarian interest in the political giants who have fallen foul of such dismissive revisionism. This is his third biography, following upon his well-received works on Jan Smuts, then the friendship between Smuts and Churchill.

But Steyn is no hagiographer.

In enviably clear and unadorned prose his is a warts-and-all depiction, especially as regards the casual racism and assumed superiority of the white man.

While always sensitive to historical context, he examines in detail the failures and blind spots of Botha, including his “mixture of respectful paternalism towards any individual with whom he came into contact … and a disbelief that blacks as a group should enjoy the same political rights as whites”. It was an attitude that culminated, under his premiership, in the pernicious Native Land Act of 1913.

Following the Anglo-Boer War, it was Botha’s first priority to heal the deep divisions between Afrikaans- and English-speaking whites, as well as between the vanquished Boers and the victorious British.

His determination to achieve this took him along a remarkable, painful path: taking the former Boer republics into a union with the British colonies of the Cape and Natal; taking the Union into World War 1 on the side of the British, against the Germans who had nominally supported Boer independence; suppressing with force of arms the resulting Afrikaner rebellion; and conquering German South-West Africa.

Steyn makes the point a number of times that during the Anglo-Boer War those who called most stridently for war were those who most rapidly melted away when they got their wish. Whereas men like Botha, who had opposed the war, were the ones who were left to prosecute it.

Botha, the most brilliant of the Boer generals, paid a high personal cost for a war he never wanted. His health was shattered by the privations of those gruelling years. The family lost their farm and his brother was killed.

But what perhaps wounded him most grievously was the long, slow process of estrangement from fellow Afrikaners, who felt he betrayed them by allying SA to the Empire.

Reconciliation is never universally popular and there are always those who flourish in exacerbating divisions, rather than minimising them. As we are beginning to see with the increasingly strident repudiation of Nelson Mandela as “sell-out”. @TheJaundicedEye

Book details


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Stories and smiles aplenty at Nal’ibali’s book handover to the Thuma Mina Hillbrow Book Club

By Mila de Villiers

Bliss is perusing a bookshelf… (Shot for the shot, Daniel Born!)

 
The Thuma Mina Hillbrow Book Club, an exceptional book club created for orphanages in and around Johannesburg, was recently gifted books in English, Zulu and Sesotho by the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali.

The handover of the donations was celebrated at Killarney Mall’s Exclusive Books on a sunny Saturday morning with Thuma Mina Book Club organisers, Nal’ibali team members, media and the buoyant bookworms in attendance.

The group of animated bibliophiles were also offered the luxury of selecting any two books to add to their growing libraries, thanks to a fundraiser organised by the Thuma Mina Book Club.

(Colouring-in books seemed to be a hit and Nomalizo Xabana, marketing manager for the book club, had to encourage more than one youngster to please “pick another storybook”…)

Nal’ibali’s Bongile Mtolo (and storyteller par excellence) treated the riveted audience to a reading of two stories from Nal’ibali’s story collection: Sisande’s Gift tells the tale of Sisande, an orphaned giraffe who’s gifted a book after the passing of her mother and The Rainbird – a fairy tale about hope, magic, courage and a fantastical avian.

Bongile Mtolo working his magic. Pic by Daniel Born.

 
Bongile interacted with the crowd during the reading of both stories, asking questions such as which gifts they’d like to receive for Christmas (a confident “iPhone 8!” was met with mirth from the group), and what they would name a giraffe if they were to own one (“Owen” was quite a surprising answer…)

Youngsters do tend to get a bit kriewelrig after having to sit for a prolonged period of time but Bongile kept the vibe alive by leading two lively renditions of the Nal’ibali hand-clap – because no, one doesn’t clap “like you’re in church” after being read to, he quipped.

All together now: “One, two, three!” [clap, clap, clap] / “One, two, three!” [clap, clap clap] aaand [Ululate!]

To paraphrase the Von Trapp siblings, the time to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen and goodbye is inevitable and the merriment concluded with a donation from The Sowetan of R80 000 to Nal’ibali, presented to the organisation by Sowetan editor, S’thembiso Msomi.

Now that’s what one calls a contribution to a nation’s literary future.

A beaming Bongile Mtolo, Thuma Mina members and S’thembiso Msomi, as snapped by Daniel Born.

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Hierdie skrywers het die US Woordfees Kortverhaalbundel 2019 gehaal

Via die US Woordfees

Die skrywers van die verhale wat in die US Woordfeesbundel vir 2019 opgeneem gaan word, is tydens die fees se programbekendstelling op Vrydagaand 16 November bekend gemaak.

Vyf-en-twintig verhale is uit 323 inskrywings gekies. Dit sal gepubliseer word in ’n bundel getiteld Jonk, wat by die US Woordfees van 1-10 Maart 2019 te koop sal wees. Die kortverhaalbundel se titel is dieselfde as die feestema.

Suzette Kotzé-Myburgh, die sameroeper van die beoordelaarspaneel, sê die groei van hierdie projek is rede tot vreugde:

“Sedert die eerste Woordfeesbundel in 2016 gepubliseer is, gaan hierdie projek van krag tot krag!

“Die aantal inskrywings het gegroei van die oorspronklike 99 tot ’n verstommende 323 vanjaar. Hierdie belangstelling is deels te danke aan die gulhartige borgskap van Du Toitskloof Wyne, wat prysgeld van R5 000 aan elke skrywer besorg. Daarbenewens sal die algehele wenner, wat in Maart 2019 aangekondig word, ’n volle R30 000 ontvang.

“’n Verdere prys word geborg deur kykNET, wat een van die verhale in ’n kortfilm sal omskep wat in Augustus 2019 by die Silwerskermfees te sien sal wees.

Soos die vorige jare bied 2018 se inskrywings ’n mengsel van gevestigde en nuwe skrywers, hoewel die reeds gepubliseerde skrywers vanjaar as wenners oorheers. Die verhale dek ’n wye verskeidenheid temas, met die grondkwessie wat uitstaan as onderwerp.”

Saartjie Botha, US Woordfeesdirekteur, sê:

“Dit is fantasties om te sien hoeveel onbekende én gevestigde skrywers deur hierdie projek aangemoedig word om nuwe werk te skep.”

Ed Beukes, woordvoerder van Du Toitskloof Wyne, is opgewonde oor dié betekenisvolle projek en die groeiende storievuur:

“Die jaarlikse groei van inskrywings wys ons het elkeen ’n storie om te vertel. Die Woordfeesbundel is soos ’n groot kampvuur wat elke jaar die platform skep vir nog ’n paar skrywers om uit die donker uit hul eie waardevolle stukkie hout op die vuur te kom gooi en dit maak nie saak wie jy is nie – jou storie tel.”

Die lys van skrywers wat in die 2019 Woordfees Kortverhaalbundel opgeneem word, in alfabetiese volgorde, is:

1. Anne Ahllers
2. Emma Bekker
3. François Bloemhof
4. Anri Botha
5. Magda Brink
6. MS Burger
7. Wilken Calitz
8. Juliana Coetzer
9. Frans Fourie
10. Merle Grace
11. Enrique Grobbelaar
12. Hendie Grobbelaar
13. Kobus Grobler
14. Stefanie Hefer
15. Marlize Hobbs
16. Nico Nel
17. Clari Niemand
18. Nadine Petrick
19. Jan Schaafsma
20. Deborah Steinmair
21. Gerda Taljaard
22. Derick van der Walt
23. Marinda van Zyl
24. Madeleen Welman
25. Jelleke Wierenga


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Book Bites: 18 November

Published in the Sunday Times

The Break LineThe Break Line ***
James Brabazon, Penguin Books, R229

“Legally sane psychopath” Max McLean is suave and armed. He is such an asset to the espionage ecosystem that he’s a member of the elite intelligence operation referred to as The Unknown. But to err is human and when McLean cocks up an assassination assignment, he’s given one last task to prove himself. [Insert docket with TOP SECRET printed in big, fat, red letters here.] The gist of the mission is to travel to Sierra Leone to finish an operation which a former colleague of his – “the bravest man I know” – was unable to complete; so traumatised by what he witnessed that he’s been institutionalised. It’s a thrilling read and Brabazon revels in his depictions of the atrocities McLean happens upon (spoiler: it’s pretty sif), but the military references and lingo went straight over this peacenik’s head. Mila de Villiers @mila_se_kind

The Baghdad ClockThe Baghdad Clock ****
Shahad Al Rawi, translated by Luke Leafgren, One World, R285

Imagine living under constant threat of disappearing. Set against a backdrop of war and despair, the story starts in 1991 when two girls form a lasting friendship in a bomb shelter in Baghdad. As they grow up through two wars and unrelenting sanctions, we see the disintegration of their neighbourhood through their eyes and in their dreams. Nadia and the unnamed narrator try their best to go to school, apply for university, write scented love letters and live their lives, but it’s not easy when your foundation is crumbling away. Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, The Baghdad Clock is a deeply personal story that aims to capture and preserve the history of a neighbourhood. Anna Stroud @Annawriter_

Book details


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13-year-old Praises Banda has been announced as the winner of Nal’ibali’s 2018 Story Bosso contest!

Via Nal’ibali

Praises Banda, a 13-year-old Grade 7 pupil from Leboho Primary School in Limpopo, has been announced as 2018′s Story Bosso winner!

 
Story Bosso is a multilingual storytelling contest designed to provide aspiring storytellers with an opportunity to showcase their talent and to promote storytelling in all official South African languages. It’s an initiative of South Africa’s national-reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali.

The theme for this year’s talent search was ‘South African Heroes’. By remembering and telling the stories of our heroes, the campaign aimed to inspire greatness in all South African children.

Says Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali Managing Director:

“Heroes guide us about how to live our lives; they give us hope and motivate us to overcome challenges. We were blown away by young Praises Banda from Ga-Kibi, Dankie Village, in Limpopo, as her story, skillfully told in her home language Sepedi, did exactly that.”

Told with both sadness and passion, Banda’s story is about her personal hero, Kholofelo Sasebola, who put an end to the bullying she endured at school.

“The sadness in Praises’ voice is palpable. You can tell the bullying was traumatic, but, at the same time, you can hear her passion for celebrating the deed of her hero. Her command of Sepedi is commendable. Though the story is told in simple sentences, Praises uses the language playfully, and the story is easy to understand,” comments Lorato Trok, Story Bosso judge and children’s story development expert.

Storytelling is an important part of South African heritage and plays a key role in children’s literacy development by encouraging the use of imagination, curiosity, and empathy.

More than 50 special storytelling events were held across the country throughout September to allow members of the public to practice and build their storytelling skills before entering the contest.

Banda’s story was selected from over two thousand entries and, as this year’s Story Bosso, she will be receiving R5 000, a book hamper, and R500 worth of airtime.

A further five prizes will be awarded to provincial winners. Thabiso Khoeli from the Free State; Sibongile Mofokeng from Gauteng; Afika Cwecwe from the Eastern Cape; Mandisa Madlala from KwaZulu-Natal and Mbalentle Mangete from the Western Cape will each receive R1 000, a book hamper as well as R250 of airtime.

“Stories need to be valued for the critical contribution they play in the development of young minds. They help build neural circuits in our brains, particularly in young brains, that ultimately enable sophisticated thinking and reasoning,” says Jacobsohn.

“We know that well told stories – where a word may be a snarl, a shout, a whisper, or a cry – can be a colourful trail of chocolate Smarties that lead children to books! Those bonding moments of sharing stories with children help to root the seeds of a culture of reading into South African homes. We are proud of all of our winners this year for showing us what good storytelling can be,” concludes Jacobsohn.

To listen to the winning stories, or to find out more about Story Bosso and the Nal’ibali campaign, visit the Nal’ibali website on www.nalibali.org.


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“Poetry has a unique way of humanising the players in a political story” – a Q&A with slam poet and performer Siphokazi Jonas

Nal’ibali Column 29: Term 4, 2018

Sunday World 4 November 2018, Daily Dispatch 5 November 2018, Herald 8 November 2018

By Carla Lever

Slam poet par excellence, Siphokazi Jonas

 
Your poetry engages very deliberately with political and personal questions of identity. What kinds of ideas are you most passionate about spreading through it?

It’s all about the importance of autonomy in telling your story. I’m really interested in writing about and staging narratives which are not seen regularly, particularly about the lives of black women.

Do you think that there’s a space for poetry to reach people politically where newspaper reports or debate can’t? How can we all use or be open to that space?

Absolutely – poetry has a unique way of humanising the players in a political story. There is room for publishing poetry in newspapers and other media which could widen the scope of who has access to our work.

We come from a long history of protest poetry – literature, storytelling, theatre and so on. But now, it feels like there is a generational shift: a group of passionate young people who are ready to make their own political points outside of the traditionally political works of the past. Does this feel to you like a good time to be a young poet?

This is a fantastic time to be a poet! The shifts happen as politics and concerns change. Poetry gives us a platform not only to wrestle with past and present but also to engage with an imagined future.

Sometimes, no matter how familiar we are with a work, we can still read something and have a strong emotional reaction to it. Can you give us a couple of lines of your own poetry that still hit home for you?

Sure. Here’s an extract from my poem Making Bread:
Every December, in exchange for Tupperware full of roosterkoek
Tried over coals, I present uMama with English poems
To match the decadence of the season.
(English, with its heavy hand of sugar, corrodes my vernacular,
English poems do not let me forget that the bowl I work in is borrowed)
.

It’s always a challenge to get work out into the public, particularly as a poet. In 2016 you released some of your poetry in a very unusual format: a DVD. Can you tell us a little about why you did that and how it’s been received?

The DVD was to capture the verve and fire of spoken word which often disappears once you leave the stage. Although the work was received well, we didn’t quite account for the move away from physical DVDs and CDs – the best platforms for distribution are now online.

You’ve had some great successes in big slam poetry competitions. What has been the most exciting experience for you?

Slam is quiet a competitive format of performance and poses a challenge to the poet because of all the rules and time constraints placed on a performance. My favourite thing is how the slams tend to feel like collaborations instead of competitions.

I first encountered your work when you performed with the ‘Rioters in Session’ poetry collective. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a number of their performances, though I’m not officially part of their collective. In their own words, Rioters in Session was “organized [as] an intuitive community for POC poetry womxn to share their work in a soft and safe space with a gentle audience”.

Why is it important for poets, storytellers, performers to have spaces to share their work and for people to be able to share and discuss it together? What does sharing stories do for communities of people?

We have an incredible history of storytelling and poetry in this country which has been integral as a way of archiving history, holding communities together, holding leaders accountable, protesting injustice, etc. I believe that we are seeing the same in the contemporary moment.

How can we encourage young people to get involved with poetry and storytelling? Are there resources or organisations you could direct them to?

The best way is to read poetry and also watch material online, follow poetry houses on social media such as Hear My Voice, Word and Sound, Poetry Africa, Poet in a Suit, Inzync Poetry, Grounding Sessions, Current State of Poetry, Words in My Mouth Poetry Slam. If there are no existing book clubs or poetry groups, start them right where you are!

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: www.nalibali.org.


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Magical, inspirational, life-affirming – notes on the 12th Book Dash, held in Johannesburg

By Anna Stroud

Photographer Urvesh Rama was there from start to finish, capturing all the action. Visit Book Dash on Facebook for more images.

 
Energy crackled in the air – the kind that makes every hair on your body jig, from your nose to your toes.

It’s a powerful sensation watching nine teams brainstorm, craft and chisel away to create nine beautiful children’s books in less than 12 hours. And that’s exactly what happened on Saturday, 27 October, as volunteers drove into the heart of Johannesburg to participate in the 12th edition of Book Dash.

The Streetlight Schools in Jeppestown was the perfect home for the Book Dash crew. The schools started in October 2013 in a small store-room in Bjala Square and their aim is to create globally competitive schools in the most underserved areas in South Africa.

In 2016, they launched the flagship Streetlight Schools: Jeppe Park where we hung our hats for the day. Judging from the drawings on the wall and the wholesome menu on the blackboard, it’s a nice, caring place to learn.

The nine teams of three – writer, illustrator and designer, plus one editor for two teams – experienced that care first hand. The school’s support staff kept us fed, hydrated and happy as we worked our way to the finish line.

“Everything we do today is a gift to the world,” said Book Dash founder Arthur Attwell at the start of the day, while his six-year-old son (and unofficial Book Dash cheerleader) beamed at us from across the room.

Book Dash originated in 2014 from the founders’ belief that each child should own 100 books by the age of five. The books are available for free under the Creative Commons Attribution licence and in all 11 official South African languages.

The Book Dash model has been replicated by various groups in and outside South Africa, and the Android app recently hit just over 100 000 downloads worldwide!

This 12th edition was made possible by the Otto Foundation Trust, which allows Book Dash to print and distribute the books.

One of the reasons why I volunteered as a Book Dash editor is the feeling of positivity and goodwill that permeates the room.

Throughout the day, the love spreads from writer to editor, designer to illustrator, facilitator to support staff, barista to photographer to videographer, and back again, like a never-ending cycle of good vibes. (Yes, we had our own barista!)

In the morning, all the writers and editors gathered in the library to read their stories aloud and to give each other feedback. I’ve never experienced such an affirming group of people, who gave each other advice on how to make their stories better and built each other up every step of the way.

It wasn’t an easy feat.

As the day progressed, illustrators’ hands started to cramp, designers started to see double, writers and editors went back and fro with coffee, snacks and kind words to motivate them to the finish line.

Then the final stretch: proofreading for wayward punctuation, frowning at fonts with their own free will, and watching the clock count down to the final minutes.

And then – sweet release – the work was done and we could bask in each other’s glory.

The teams took to the stage and the writers read their stories aloud to roaring applause. The final book caused all the tired creatives to collapse in fits of laughter: somewhere in the night, a car backfired just as one writer read the line: “What’s that noise behind the tree?”

The books will be available soon – but here’s a sneak preview of the magical titles that came to life during the day:

• I don’t want to go to sleep!
• The Great Cake Contest
• The very tired lioness
• Dance, Mihlali!
• Let’s have an inside day!
• Mali’s Friend
• Auntie Boi’s Gift
• Lions are always brave
• What’s at the park?

To experience some of the magic, follow the hashtag #BookDash for live coverage on the day or visit their website to find out how you can get involved.


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“It’s vital that children growing up in harsh environments can imagine worlds beyond those harsh realities” – a Q&A with speculative fiction author, Mandisi Nkomo

Nal’bali Column 28: Term 4, 2018

By Carla Lever

Mandisi Nkomo

 
What’s the place of speculative fiction – a broader term than science fiction that covers everything from superheroes to fantasy – in Africa right now?

It’s a big scene, just somewhat underground! Apart from certain big names that have managed to break into the pop culture hive mind, there’s a ridiculous amount of African Spec Fic around if you’re willing to dig. I can’t even keep up.

You have said that your writing is influenced by pop tech – highly visual, graphic forms of storytelling in videogames, comic books, anime and so on. What kind of feeling does this give your work?

At first it was more about creating a strong sense of the kind of mood that often comes with a lot of audio-visual platforms, or even taking the weird fiction path where plot takes a backseat in favour of cinematography, music, themes and surrealism. It’s taken a bit of a new turn recently though. Now I’m working on something where I’m building a whole story world around gameplay ideas, like ammo drops.

Another really interesting thing about your work is how it draws from real, often underrepresented, African histories. So, for instance, you’ve made references to the Namibian border war, the TRC, corruption. How can speculative fiction help us to understand or re-process our own worlds?

Most speculative fiction is about understanding or re-processing our own worlds. Authors just choose how much real life influence they want to give readers as clues to what they’re actually discussing in their work. George Orwell’s Animal Farm for example, was set in an almost childlike fantasy world of talking animals, but was actually an way to talk about very serious world issues.

Afrofuturism is very trendy worldwide right now, particularly with the success of Black Panther. But imagining an African knowledge system that has power and commands global respect is something that many are trying to do with the decolonisation project. Have you found there are links that writers are able to make where business people and politicians often can’t?

Definitely! Business people and politicians are not necessarily taught to push creativity and imagination when problem-solving.

Do you think that being able to imagine worlds differently is a skill that we should encourage all our children to develop through reading more?

I really do. It assists with problem-solving and increases your ability to think outside certain norms or embedded cultures. From a South African perspective, it’s vital that children growing up in harsh environments can imagine worlds beyond those harsh realities.

What’s the best way to keep up to date with your latest writing?

I keep my website up to date whenever I get published, and post updates regularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ve also started a Patreon page, where I plan to self-publish writing exclusives for paying patrons.

https://thedarkcow.com/
• Facebook: @darkcowproductions
• Instagram: @mandisithepolymath
• Twitter: @mandisinkomo
https://www.patreon.com/thedarkcow

What online resources are out there for fans of African speculative fiction who might not have access to published books?

The African Speculative Fiction Society is an excellent source. They maintain a list of African Speculative Fiction from novels to works readily available online: http://www.africansfs.com/resources/published

Why is telling – and reading – our own stories in Africa so important?

Well, for one, history tends to be written by the victors, but now we have this little thing called the internet which is making it harder to erase underrepresented voices. And, as you mentioned, with the rise in popularity of things like Black Panther, we have to make an effort to not get written out of the narrative by those with more money and influence.

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: www.nalibali.org.


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