Open Book Festival has been committed to driving a love of books and reading amongst learners since its inception. Fundamental to this has been the Open Book School Library Project which has seen us put libraries into Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School, Parkhurst Primary and Westridge High School. The experience is one that has been hugely rewarding but which has also come with its own challenges.
As with all aspects of Open Book, we are constantly looking for ways to do things better and it is with this in mind that we reworked the library project to come up with something that doesn’t overwhelm, doesn’t require additional staff or space and which can be kept up to date with relatively little money. Welcome to Open Box! These mini mobile libraries are placed in classrooms, allowing teachers and learners access to the resource through the day.
St Mary’s Primary School
Located in the Cape Town CBD, St Mary’s Primary was ideally suited to be our pilot for the Open Box Project. Teachers showed huge interest in having access to books through the day in their classrooms, the school is within walking distance of the Book Lounge (which is closely associated with Open Book Festival) and learners at the school come predominantly from disenfranchised communities.
2015 – 2017:
2015 saw us piloting the Open Box project and we are delighted with how it worked. In total we placed 3 boxes at St Mary’s Primary and they are now in daily use in the Grade R, 1 and 2 classrooms. In 2016, we placed an additional 3 boxes in the Grade 3, 4 and 5 classrooms and in 2017, we placed boxes in the Grade 6 and 7 classrooms. The boxes include books, games, materials for activities and other resources that are relevant to both teachers and learners. Tied to the boxes, were the events we ran there through the year, from readings and activities through to author visits.
We include at least 5 books per learner in each box. We meet with teachers ahead of purchasing so that they can outline the kinds of books that will best suit them, both in terms of their curricula and challenges faced by their learners. Those conversations enable us to stock each box with titles most relevant to both learners and teachers. The titles include a mix of fiction and non-fiction titles as well as books in different languages and aimed at different reading ages.
While we have completed the box handovers at St Mary’s, our relationship with them will continue and where possible we will organise events for learners. The focus of Open Box though will shift and we identified Siyazingisa Primary School in Gugulethu as the school we are working with for the next few years. The school is part of the same circuit as St Mary’s (Circuit 2).
The principal is Mrs Nonkonyana. She has been based at the school for over 20 years and is excited to be working with us on this. There are 3 Grade R classes and those will be our starting point. We met with the principal and teachers at the end of 2017 to discuss what books would be most relevant to their classrooms and we will be working on getting those together in the coming months. There are roughly 35 learners in each class and we will be aiming for a 5:1 ratio of books to learners. Ideally the majority of those books will be in isiXhosa.
The proposed dates for the handovers are:
23 April 2018: 3 boxes handed over with partial supply of books to each box
7 June 2018: Partial supply of books to each box
31 July 2018: Final supply of books to each box
The dates listed above may change. Each of the handovers will be linked to storytelling
"Can racism and intimacy co-exist in post-apartheid South Africa?" asks Jonathan Jansen in Making Love in a War Zone
‘My father-in-law did not show up for the wedding. My future wife had to leave her family home the moment we asked permission to ‘go out’ together, a tradition in those days. There were certain members of the family whom she visited on her own; my presence was not welcomed. I was a confident human being and a proud black man, but those things stick when it comes to flesh and blood.’
– Jonathan Jansen
Can racism and intimacy co-exist? Can love and friendship form and flourish across South Africa’s imposed colour lines?
Who better to engage on the subject of hazardous liaisons than the students Jonathan Jansen served over seven years as Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State.
The context is the University campus in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the Mississippi of South Africa. Rural, agricultural, insular, religious and conservative, this is not a place for breaking out.
But over the years, Jansen observed shifts in campus life and noticed more and more openly interracial friendships and couples, and he began having conversations with these students with burning questions in mind.
Ten interracial couples tell their stories of love and friendship in their own words, with no social theories imposed on their meanings, but instead a focus on how these students experience the world of interracial relationships, and how flawed, outdated laws and customs set limits on human relationships, and the long shadow they cast on learning, living and loving on university campuses to this day.
Jonathan Jansen is Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Stellenbosch, after serving for many years as the Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State. Jansen has a formidable reputation for transformation and a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. He holds an impressive collection of degrees and awards including the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Making Love in a War Zone: Interracial loving and learning after apartheid by Jonathan Jansen
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Announcing the Gerald Kraak Award shortlist The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) and the Other Foundation are thrilled to announce the judges’ selection that will make up the resultant anthology that will be published by Jacana Media in 2018.
“We are really proud of this selection. It represents some excellent writing and thinking, and reflects the diversity of experiences across the continent. It also mirrors many of the themes that continue to dominate the lives of queer people and of African women: depression, harassment, violence, love and joy. There is a fierceness in many of the pieces we selected – a fight-back but also a quirky and authentic take on the world that manages somehow not to be defined by the larger often horribly oppressive contexts in which they were written.” – Sisonke Msimang
In alphabetical order by surname, here are the shortlisted authors and entries:
‘Facing the Mediterranean’ by Isaac Otidi Amuke (journalism, Kenya)
‘Full Moon’ by Jayne Bauling (fiction, South Africa)
‘Sailing with the Argonauts’ by Efemia Chela (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Princess’ by Carl Collison (photography, South Africa)
‘Africa’s Future Has no Space for Stupid Black Men’ by Pwaangulongii Dauod (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Scene of the Crime’ by Pierre de Vos and Jaco Barnard-Naude (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘The Shea Prince’ by Chike Frankie Edozien (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘The Man at the Bridge’ by Kiprop Kimutai (fiction, Kenya)
‘Site Visits’ by Welcome Lishivha (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Portrait of a Girl at the Border Wall’, ‘6 Errant Thoughts on Being a Refugee’ and ‘Notes on Black Death and Elegy’ by Sarah Lubala (poetry, South Africa)
‘Human Settlements’ by Tshepiso Mabula (photography, South Africa)
‘Borrowed by the Wind’ by David Medalie (fiction, South Africa)
‘Your Kink’ by Tifanny Mugo and Siphumemeze Khundayi (photography, Kenya and South Africa)
‘Drowning’, ‘In Jail’ and ‘Things That Will Get You Beaten in a Black Home’ by Thandokuhle Mngqibisa (photography and poetry, South Africa)
‘XXYX Africa: More Invisible’ by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (fiction, Tanzania)
‘We Are Queer, We Are Here’ by Chibuihe Obi (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Reclamation’ by Hapuya Ononime (poetry, Nigeria)
The winner, who receives a cash prize of R25 000, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2018, hosted by the Other Foundation and attended by the winning author. A special mention will be made and an invitation extended to authors who have been identified by the judges as the most commended and will also be revealed during the award ceremony. In addition, the judging panel and project partners will be attending the event.
JUDGES FOR THE GERALD KRAAK AWARD
Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country, a memoir of exile and home, and a writer and storyteller whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and a range of other international publications, stays with us for the second round of the award as head judge and series editor.
She works at the Centre for Stories as head of training where she works on projects for museums, arts organisations and other public interest cultural institutions. Before turning to writing on a fulltime basis, Msimang worked for the United Nations, focusing on gender and human rights. She also served as the executive director of the offices of the Open Society Foundation in Southern Africa until 2013. She has held a range of fellowships including at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she was a Ruth First Fellow.
Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda, joins us again for the second round.
Her research interests include Gender, Law & Sexuality, Women in Politics and Feminist Jurisprudence. Prof. Tamale has published extensively in these and other areas, and has served as a visiting professor in several academic institutions globally and on several international human rights boards.
She was the first female dean at the School of Law at Makerere. Prof. Tamale holds a Bachelor of Law from Makerere University, a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota.
This year we are joined by Mark Gevisser, one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists. His new book, The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers, will be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (US) and Jonathan Ball (SA) in 2018. His other books include Lost and Found in Johannesburg, shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for World Literature (2014), and Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, which won the Alan Paton Prize in 2008. In 1994, he co-edited the path-breaking Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa with Edwin Cameron. His journalism has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, The Guardian, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Public Culture, Foreign Policy and Art in America, as well as all of South Africa’s major publications. As a curator, he has worked on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, and is responsible for ‘Jo’burg Tracks: Sexuality in the City’ (Constitution Hill and MuseumAfrica); his documentary film, The Man Who Drove With Mandela won the Teddy Documentary Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999. He lives in Cape Town.
This project is made possible in partnership with the Other Foundation: www.theotherfoundation.org.
Compiled by TOW
Fifteen authors from across Africa and the world are coming to Durban during this year’s 21st Time of the Writer International Festival that is set to take place from 12 – 17 March 2018. The writers convene under this year’s theme of “Changing the Narrative” and will engage with this notion as it relates to their work and the direction in which literature is moving towards in this context.
Announcing this year’s line-up, the Acting-Director of the CCA, Ms. Chipo Zhou said:
We are very excited to be hosting Time of the Writer yet again and celebrating the diverse voices that make up our African literary continent. The CCA is grateful for the support from our various stakeholders, without which this festival would not be possible. In an ever changing global village, the backing of the literary giants in attendance this year, is most humbling, 21 years on. We look forward to an intellectually engaging event that will entertain and challenge our creativity.
Program and Ticket Sales
This 21st edition of Time of the Writer will consist of a day program that is hosted in four community libraries (Austerville, Westville, Chesterville Extension and Tongaat), art centres and schools around eThekwini where workshops and panel discussions will take place. In the evening panel discussions will be hosted at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard College. The full program will be released on the social media channels of the festival. Tickets for the evening program are available on Computicket, however the day program is free of charge.
Theme: Changing the Narrative
Ms. Chipo Zhou, Acting-Director of festival organiser CCA, said: “Nelson Mandela once said: “The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture.” A very sad statement which to a great extent, even now, speaks the reality that is our education system in Africa. A new generation of scholars is on the rise, demanding recognition of the African intellect and its contribution to literature, an “African Renaissance” if you will. We cannot rewrite history, but we can question and maybe alter it. And most definitely, we will write the future. In the words of Kakwe Kasoma, it is time to correct this colonial hangover. As we celebrate Mandela’s centenary year, it is our hope that we can reflect fairly on this history and begin a new chapter as we own our stories and change the narrative.”
Meeting established and upcoming writers
Fifteen writers will participate during Time of the Writer 2018:
- Award winning creative author, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, from Nigeria;
- Experimental author, Jennipher M. Zulu, from Zambia;
- Dynamic author, Kafula Mwila, from Zambia;
- Poet, performance master and author of 12 books, Lesego Rampolokeng, from Johannesburg, South Africa;
- Gritty and intense author, Luka Mwango, from Zambia;
- Author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and distinguished professor, MK Asante, from the USA;
- Best-selling author, Refiloe Moahloli, from Mthatha, South Africa;
- Outspoken political commentator, scholar and musician, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, from Johannesburg, South Africa;
- isiZulu, short story and children’s author, Themba Qwabe from Durban, South Africa;
- Unathi Slasha who reimagines and subverts Nguni folklore to write the unlanguaged world that is South Africa today, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa;
- Award winning novelist and short story writer, Yewande Omotoso, born in Barbados, raised in Nigeria and based Cape Town, South Africa;
- Novelist, journalist, poet and academic, Alain Mabanckou, born in Congo, based in France;
- Professor of political economy, Patrick Bond, from Johannesburg, South Africa, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland;
- Author, politician, diplomat, poet, academic, journalist, and cultural activist Lindiwe Mabuza from Newcastle, South Africa
- Author of the University of Johannesburg Debut Fiction Prize winning novel The Yearning, Mohale Mashigo, from Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Six days of literature, books, panel discussions and workshops
Time of the Writer starts on Monday evening 12 March at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with an opening night that introduces all participating writers of the festival.
Key elements of the festival are the other evenings at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre that highlight some of the participants and engages them in a panel discussion.
As part of the day programs the writers will be visiting various art centres and community libraries, which include The George Campbell Museum, Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi and Luthuli Museum in Groutville for various panel discussions and workshops.
This year’s festival offers a special focus on children’s literature, which will see a storytelling session on Saturday 17 March and panel discussions around that during the week facilitated by Dr Gcina Mhlophe. On Saturday 17 March Dr Lindiwe Mabuza will be launching two children’s books.
High school learners are encouraged to submit their short stories for the annual short story competition held in conjunction with Time of the Writer Festival. The competition aims to encourage creative expression in young people while functioning as a springboard for the future writers of South Africa. With the festival’s long standing commitment toward nurturing a culture of reading and writing, this competition has received a wide appeal that continues to grow with each edition of the festival. Winners will be awarded with cash prices, book vouchers and festival tickets.
Meet the writers and get your books signed
Adams Book Shop will host a pop-up bookshop at the foyer of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with new and older work of the participating authors. Many of the participating writers will be available to sign books.
Various book launches will take place during the festival, details will be announced closer to the festival.
Time of the Writer is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the 21st Time of the Writer is made possible by support from eThekwini Municipality, National Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and Alliance Française Durban. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the School of Arts, College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Christiaan Barnard is ’n naam wat almal dadelik herken. Ná die geskiedkundige eerste hartoorplanting, 50 jaar gelde, was sy naam op almal se lippe en in al die media. Sy navorsing lei tot tegnieke wat steeds wêreldwyd gebruik word en sy roem verseker dat hy ŉ permanente plek in geskiedenisboeke het.
Wat minder bekend is, is die rol wat sy navorsingspan in die lewe (en internasionale aansien) van die hartchirurg gespeel het. Daar was dokters en tegnici wat nooit erkenning gekry het vir hul werk nie en daar was verpleegsters en susters van wie net die pasiënte geweet het. En daar was Winston Wicomb, die Volkswagen-werktuigkundige wat uit die bloute aangestel is om beheer van Barnard se navorsingslaboratorium oor te neem.
Winston, die jonger en donkerder broer van die meer bekende Randall, se lewensverhaal lees soos ’n moderne sprokie. As kind moes hy telkens agter sy ma se laaikas wegkruip as iemand aan hul deur geklop het. Terwyl die res van die gesin die apartheidsinspekteurs kon flous, was die arme Winston baie duidelik nie ‘suiwer blank’ nie. Die familie se pogings om die twee seuns as ‘wit’ geklassifiseer te kry, het veroorsaak dat beide Winston en Randall se geboortedatums aangepas was. En al het Winston uiteindelik op papier ‘blanke’ status verkry, het sy voorkoms enige hoop op vaste werk gekortwiek.
Amos van der Merwe beskryf Winston se jeug in Vital Remains, the Story of the Coloured Boy behind the Wardrobe. Die verhaal herinner die leser wel aan die werklikhede van apartheid, maar is deurspek met humor en deernis. Vital Remains is ’n eerlike weergawe van ’n gekleurde seun se ervarings in die 60’s en 70’s, sonder om die storielyn met politiek te besoedel.
Winston se verhaal is uitsonderlik. Hy herleef sy kinderjare en sy vroeë drome om mediese geskiedenis te maak. Hy vertel van sy pogings om universiteitstoelating te kry en die ironie daarvan dat hy, as sogenaamde nie-blanke, diensplig moes doen. Geld en werk was altyd ’n probleem en derhalwe verkoop hy ensiklopedieë, werk in ’n klerewinkel, word betaalmeester op die hawe en oes oë in die lykshuis. Hy word uiteindelik toegelaat om in te skryf vir ’n BSc-kursus by UCT, maar selfs met hierdie graad bly hy werkloos weens sy velkleur. Noodgedwonge moet hy terugval op sy ou stokperdjie: Om Volkswagens in sy agterplaas te diens en herstel.
Terwyl hy pamflette op die universiteitskampus uitdeel om hierdie dienste te adverteer, merk hy die goue Mercedes langs die pad staan. Die lenige figuur van Chris Barnard langs die voertuig is ’n prentjie van moedeloosheid en Winston gryp die kans aan om die hartman te hulp te snel. ’n Week later is hy in bevel van Barnard se navorsingslaboratorium en dis hier waar Winston uiteindelik mediese geskiedenis maak. Hy ontwerp en bou ’n apparaat om harte mee te vervoer – maar gaan dit werk? Dit is egter nie waar hierdie ongelooflike storie eindig nie.
Vital Remains is ’n storie van hoop, liefde en deursettingsvermoë. Dit vertel van toeval, rebellie, onwaarskynlike gebeure en onlogiese gevolge – soos dit in almal se lewens soms gebeur. Feite is voorwaar vreemder as fiksie! Dis ’n verhaal om te koester as ’n kosbare stukkie geskiedenis, maar ook as ’n aanmoediging vir gewone mense om bo politiek uit te styg en in hulself te glo.
Die Woordfees is dus trots om Winston en die skrywer van Vital Remains kans te gee om met Hanlie Retief oor die boek te gesels by Die Boeketent, om 15h30 op 6 Maart 2018. Winston, wat sy navorsing in die VSA voortgesit het en sodoende ’n bekende in internasionale wetenskaplike kringe geword het, reis spesiaal van Seattle om die geleentheid by te woon.
Vital Remains word uitgegee deur Naledi en is beskikbaar by www.naledi.online.
- Vital Remains: The Story of the Coloured Boy Behind the Wardrobe by Amos van der Merwe
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