Alert! The inaugural Rutanang Book Fair is happening in Tlokwe, North West Province from the 25 to 27 April this year, featuring an exciting bookish line-up of guests and events.
The theme for the Rutanang Book Fair is “Decolonising Literature”, and it coincides with the 100-year anniversary of Sol Plaatje’s revolutionary Native Life in South Africa. Author and Sol Plaatje scholar Sabata-Mpho Mokae will deliver a keynote address in celebration of Plaatje.
The programme, compiled by Red Dune Projects, features writing masterclasses, motivational talks at schools, poetry recitals and discussions.
Unathi Magubeni, an Eastern Cape-based writer, sangoma and trainee herbalist who left the corporate world in 2009, will be launching his debut novel, Nwelezelanga: The Star Child, on 26 April at Phina’s B&B in Ikageng township.
Long Story Short will be present at the festival, with a special reading by award-winning theatre and film actor Presley Chweneyagae of Sabata-Mpho Mokae’s Setswana novel Ga Ke Modisa, which won an M-Net Literary Awards in 2013.
“We are thrilled to be part of the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair – what Red Dune Projects is doing speaks to the very core of what we do, making our stories accessible to our communities,” Long Story Short producer Kgauhelo Dube says.
“We are also very excited as the talented performer Presley Chweneyagae will be reading the first Setswana story in the Long Story Short series!”
Confirmed participants include:
The Tlokwe Heritage Foundation (The History of Tlokwe)
Award-winning actor Presley Chweneyagae
Writer Willy Maphosa
Author Unathi Magubeni
Poet Kgafela oa Magogodi
Author Sabata-Mpho Mokae
Writer Mpho Matsitle (Book launch: Celibacy and Other Cute Little Things)
Writer and newspaper columnist Pinky Khoabane
Writer and political commentator Andile Mngxitama
Tlokwe-based novelist Kholofelo Maenetsha
Literacy campaigner and Long Story Short producer Kgauhelo Dube
Creative writer Mbe Mbhele (Book launch: Crazy Father and Other Stories)
Author Christine Coates
Read more from the Rutanang Book Fair:
Tlokwe leans in on the “decolonising literature” debate at its inaugural Rutanang Book Fair
The South African literature landscape is undergoing an exciting renaissance. There have been spirited debates around “decolonising the literary landscape”, which saw prominent authors and literacy activists such as Zakes Mda, Thando Mgqolozana, Karabo Kgoleng and Eusebius McKaiser leaning in. The general consensus has been that it’s not that black South Africans don’t read – it’s that the publishing value chain has not invested in understanding the reading behaviours of South Africa’s majority.
There’s been a growth in innovative, people-centric reading programmes targeting different age groups, but most of these activities happen primarily in the major cities. Tlokwe-based media and events company Red Dune Projects will introduce Tlokwe’s first book fair called Rutanang Book Fair. Rutanang Book Fair will run from the 25th to the 27th April and will feature an exciting mix of events in different venues throughout Tlokwe – there will be something for everyone! Red Dune Projects has curated a comprehensive programme featuring writing masterclasses, motivational talks in schools, poetry recitals and different discussions featuring some of today’s literary thought-leaders.
“Tlokwe is an academic town. It’s home to the North West University’s main campus and boasts an assortment of other prestigious learning institutions. We are a reading community – the issue is access to bookstores, the social culture of sharing books and interaction with publishers and writers,” explains project coordinator Tseko Nkhane.
The theme for the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair is “Decolonising Literature” and will coincide with the 100 year anniversary of Sol T Plaatje’s revolutionary book, Native Life in South Africa. Author and Sol Plaatje scholar Sabata-Mpho Mokae will deliver a keynote address in celebration of Sol T Plaatje – the politician, the linguist and the writer.
“Our experience of book fairs and festivals has pushed us to think outside the box when we were conceptualising Rutanang Book Fair. This is an event for the people – we engaged with learners, teachers, parents, the hip hop/poetry community, cultural workers, academics and even church leaders to make sure that we reach every sub-culture within Tlokwe,” Tseko emphasises.
Some of the events will take place in places such as taverns, churches and B&Bs in the township. Writer Vuyo Seripe will be reading her latest short story and engaging the audience in a discussion about South African literary landscape in the black community. The organisers are very passionate about growing the love of books within Tlokwe – they believe that in the future, attending a book reading will be as hip as attending a music concert.
The organisers received an overwhelmingly positive response from writers who were interested in launching their books as part of the programme. BlackBird Books’s newest talent Unathi Magubeni will be launching his debut novel Nwelezelanga: The Star Child on 26 April at Phina’s B&B in Ikageng township.
The children’s programme will feature different activities in local schools, libraries and a daily storytelling session hosted by the Potchefstroom Library at the main venue, Madiba Banquet Hall. Jozi-based children’s writer Buhle Ngaba will also hold fun and interactive storytelling workshops based on her experiences leading up to her realisation of her extraordinary non-fairytale children’s book, The Girl Without a Sound.
“The Girl Without a Sound was born out of defiance and as a response to the fairytales we were told as little girls. Stories about white princesses with blue eyes, flowing locks of hair and an overwhelming awareness of their beauty. More than that, I want it to be a healing balm for all who read it,” Buhle explains.
The digital storytelling project #longstorySHORT has joined forces with the team and will feature award-winning theatre and film actor Presley Chweneyagae reading from Sabata-Mpho Mokae’s Setswana novel Ga Ke Modisa.
“We are thrilled to be part of the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair – what Red Dune Projects is doing speaks to the very core of what we do – making our stories accessible to our communities. We are very excited, as the a talented performer as Presley Chweneyagae will be reading the first Setswana story in the series!” says producer of #longstorySHORT, Kgauhelo Dube.
Rutanang Book Fair will run from 25 to 27 April, 2016 in various venues around Tlokwe. The main venue for the event is the Madiba Banquet Hall with fringe activities happening at schools, churches, taverns and B&Bs in Ikageng.
The Promosa and Sarafina Libraries will be used for panel discussions and workshops.
The Rutanang Book Fair is funded by the National Department of Arts in partnership with:
Twitter handle: @RutanangTlokwe
For event information please contact
Red Dune Projects
For press interviews please contact
Kajeno Media: 0715621858/ firstname.lastname@example.org