Time of the Writer 2019 delegatesTime of the Writer 2019 delegates

A snapshot of the Niq Mhlongo curated Time of the Writer 2019.

The Time of the Writer 2019, curated by South African author Niq Mhlongo, took place in Durban, South Africa from March 13-16, 2019.

The Time of the Writer literary festival has hosted some of the most iconic names in African and world literature in Durban, South Africa. The festival on the South African coast, organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, would be running for the 22nd year in 2019. It took place in libraries and other venues in and around Durban.

Niq Mhlongo
Niq Mhlongo

Tuesday, March 12.

Before the festival kicked off proper there was a panel at the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal entitled “Who is an activist?” The panel featured Lwandile Bhengu and Niq Mhlongo with moderation from Nonkululeko Hlongwane-Mhlongo.

Wednesday, March 13.

The festival kicked off with an opening ceremony which had all the invited writers at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Introducing themselves to the Durban audience were Angela Makholwa, Bhekisisa Mncube, Cyril James, Dudu Busani-Dube, Lerato Mogoatlhe, Mandla KaNozulu, Niq Mhlongo, Rosie Motene, Shalo Mbatha, Sifiso Mzobe, Sihle Mthembu, Siya Khumalo, Slungile Mavundla and Sue Nyathi.

Thursday, March 14.

With the opening night done and dusted, the festival could go into overdrive. In the daytime, the Inchanga Library was where activities were focused starting with a workshop on writing for children by Sifiso Mzobe. Also at this venue was the panel “Tracing One’s Identity” that had Rosie Motene, Bhekisisa Mncube, and Siya Khumalo moderated by Angela Makholwa. Another panel was “Our culture, Our language, Our history” which had Shalo Mbatha and Mandla KaNozulu moderated by Dudu Busani-Dube.


In the evening, all roads led to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre where Sifiso Mzobe, Sihle Mthembu, and Slungile Mavundla were moderated by Sue Nyathi at the panel “Knocking That Story Out of Our Heads.” Siya Khumalo moderated the panel “Why is access to books still a struggle in South Africa and how can these barriers be changed” with Lerato Mogoatlhe, Cyril James, and Dudu Busani-Dube.

Friday, March 15.

The daytime venue for Friday was the Inanda Library starting with a writing workshop conducted by festival curator Niq Mhlongo. The audience of all ages then enjoyed the Cedric Cissing moderated “Living A Vagabond Life” that had Sifiso Mzobe, Lerato Mogoatlhe, and Niq Mhlongo speaking. Lerato Mogoatlhe also moderated “Bringing Our Stories to Life” with panellists Angela Makholwa, Cyril James, and Sihle Mthembu.

Angela Makholwa
Angela Makholwa

The Grosvenor Library was the evening destination with Sihle Mthembu kicking off proceedings moderating the Siya Khumalo, Bhekisisa Mncube, and Sue Nyathi panel “How it begun and how it has changed.” Another panel that evening was “The Many Hats of A South African Writer” featuring Niq Mhlongo, Mandla KaNozulu, and Angela Makholwa moderated by Sifizo Mzobe.

Saturday, March 16,

Just like last year, several book launches happened with KZNSA Gallery being the designated venue. The titles that were launched with their writers were Vagabond: Wandering Through Africa on Faith by Lerato Mogoatlhe, Shadow Chasers/ Abazingeli Bezithunzi series by Sifizo Mzobe, and Ukupila Kamnandi Ukuphila Ngokuqonda by Umlungizi KaMbulazi.

Lerato Mogoatlhe
Lerato Mogoatlhe

Apart from the book launches there was also the panel “Is it self-publishing or finding a publisher” which had Bhekisisa Mncube moderating Dudu Busani-Dube, Slungile Mavundla, Kholeka Mabeta, Ryan Love, and Cedric Sissing.

Saturday didn’t just have stuff for adults as the Funda Nathi Children Program had a storytelling session. This included readings of The Key to The Secret Door of Dinosaurs by Khwezi Mthetwa and Shadow Chasers/ Abazingeli Bezithunzi series by Sifizo Mzobe.

Here are more images from the festival courtesy of the festival organisers.

Sifiso Mzobe
Sifiso Mzobe
Dudu Busani-Dube
Dudu Busani-Dube
Rosie Motene
Rosie Motene
Learner gets a certificate from Niq Mhlongo
Learner gets a certificate from festival curator Niq Mhlongo

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