Festivals South Africa

Decolonising literature at Rutanang Book Fair 2016

Decolonising literature is the order of the day in South Africa and this is the theme of the Rutanang Book Fair 2016 next week, 25-27th April, in Tlokwe.

There promises to be a large number of events at the book fair, organized by Tlokwe-based media and events company Red Dune, geared towards this theme next week. Some of these include a comprehensive programme featuring writing masterclasses, talks in schools, poetry recitals and different discussions featuring some of today’s literary thought-leaders.

The fair comes at a unique time for South Africa and its literature. For one, it coincides with the 100 year anniversary of Sol T Plaatje’s revolutionary book, Native Life in South Africa. For those of you who haven’t read the book, and I count myself in that group, you can read a review by The Literature Man here. Plaatje is also the author of one of the first published African novels in English (Mhudi published in 1930). To celebrate this auspicious occasion, author and Sol Plaatje scholar Sabata-Mpho Mokae will deliver a keynote address in celebration of Sol T Plaatje – the politician, the linguist and writer.

Apart from this there will be events happening all around town in places like taverns, churches and some B&B’s in the township. The organizers 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. Here are a few highlights you don’t want to miss;

  • Creative 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.
  • BlackBird Books’ newest talent Unathi Magubeni will be launching his debut novel, Nwelezelanga: The Star Child on the 26th April at Phina’s B&B in Ikageng township.
  • Children’s writer Buhle Ngaba will also hold fun and interactive storytelling workshops based on her experiences leading up to her realization of her extraordinary non-fairytale children’s book,The Girl Without A Sound.
  • The digital storytelling project #longstorySHORT will feature award-winning theatre and film actor Presley Chweneyagae (who the world knows as the ‘starring’ from Oscar-winning movie Tsotsi) reading from Sabata-Mpho Mokae’s Setswana novel Ga Ke Modisa.

We here at will keep you posted on what is happening in Tlokwe as we shall be there for part of the festival.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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