Africa Book and Design Festival

The first Africa Book and Design Festival is set to run at the University of Pretoria, South Africa from November 11 – 13, 2021. The festival theme is “connecting the past, present, and future of African storytelling.”

The new Africa Book and Design Festival is looking to celebrate African excellence in Literature & Design and encourages intra-African cultural exchange by connecting African authors and book designers under one roof whilst connecting their works to Africa’s growing consumer market. Its goal is to demonstrate the value of reading and design thinking to Africa’s younger generations with one of the key messages being that ‘If you don’t read, make sure your children do’ because books open the mind in ways that no other medium can.

Nonhlanhla Matshazi, Festival Director for Africa Book & Design Festival says,’

“Africa is abundant in creative talent and at the base of creativity is literature and design. Not only do books tell our authentic African stories, they are the documentation of our told and untold history, – the guides that inspire the future. Design is at the root of all creativity – the very first story tellers were designers, telling our stories through images. At Africa Book & Design Festival, we believe books and design are key resources to documenting and informing African culture. Connecting Africans to and through these resources, empowers us all with the tools to build the Africa we want.”

On the programme that takes place at University of Pretoria’s Future Campus are among others Mandla Langa, Dudu Busani-Dube, Sue Nyathi, Fred Khumalo, Jamil F Khan, and Lethabo Huma. The keynote address will be made by Barbara Masekela.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the launch will be a hybrid event of physical (limited capacity) and virtual experiences. Content will be unpacked in small settings to allow attendees to stream discussions and presentations from various authors on the festival website, YouTube and other social platforms, with a virtual exhibition experience that will allow book sellers to showcase and sell African works that are a must have in your personal library.

The festival is supported by South Africa’s Department of Sports, Arts & Culture: Literacy Department with the intention to expanding the literary conversation to Africa’s young audience.

The announcement comes as the Department makes evident its commitment to re-igniting the arts and cultural sector which took a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic

“Covid-19 has forced the world to think local and for the most part, local means one’s country. But for Africans it is important that we continue to engage at a continental and global level. Not only to enable our authors to continue to access a larger consumer base but for all of us to connect to our shared African history, our shared culture and our shared goal – to continue to create new narratives for and about our people,” Lisa Combrink, Head: Literacy, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Other supporters of the festival are Trace TV and Showmax.

To take part in the festival, please click here for the program.