Covid-19: Hargeysa Book Fair cancelled, Abantu Book Fair seeks donations

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to affect the African literary calendar, Hargeysa International Book Fair 2020 has been cancelled while Abantu Book Fair 2020 seeks your donations.

Hargeysa International Book Fair 2020 cancelled.

The Hargeysa International Book Fair, the biggest literary festival on the horn of Africa, which was to run from July 20-25, was cancelled on June 26, 2020. The festival organisers the Redsea Cultural Foundation took the unprecedented step as a result of the worldwide crises caused by Covid-19. It is a remarkable step for a festival that has been hosted in Hargeisa, Somaliland since 2008. The plan is to now host the Africa 40 and 40 Webinar series which deals with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here is the full statement from the organisation;

The Hargeysa International Book Fair is a flag ship of art and cultural celebration in the Horn of Africa from Somaliland. It has been there for 12 years without interruption until this year due to the world wide crises of Covid-19 that has shifted the world from the way we knew to a new normal of physical distancing as we would like to refer it than the Social Distancing. Hence, the Board of the Redsea Cultural Foundation in consultation with Executive Leadership of Hargeysa Cultural Centre, would like to inform its wide audience the cancellation of the Hargeysa International Book Fair 2020 which was scheduled from July20-25th 2020. It is very sad and disappointing situation but we value the safety and health of our friends that is central to the decision.

Nevertheless, to uphold the spirit of the book fair and to keep on bringing the world closer as we do with the book fair, the centre has created an alternative platform that is in line with the new normal that assures the celebration of knowledge production, sharing and cooperation in its new webinar series called Africa 40 and 40 Webinar series. The webinar for now is dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in all life aspects of communities in Africa but it is intended as a platform for continuous engagement by upholding the spirit of the book fair which is bringing the world closer and placing Somaliland in the world of active engagement.

Abantu Book Festival 2020 seeks donations.

The Abantu Book Festival hosted annually in Soweto, South Africa has become one of the most recognisable names on the African literary circuit since its first edition in 2016. The festival has opted a wait-and-see approach hoping that perhaps by the time it runs in December the worst of Covid-19 will be behind us.

In a statement shared on August 7, they acknowledge the pandemic forcing cultural activity to either be postponed or cancelled or to move online. While these options are open to the organisers, they have taken the role of the festival as a healing space to heart and are still hoping for the event to happen.

Apart from its healing role, the festival offers employment to dozens of individuals many of them native to Soweto. A cancellation would be devastating to the local community and has informed organisers to make their annual callout for donations.

For details on making a donation and ensuring the Soweto community doesn’t suffer the worst of festival cancellation, check the below tweet.

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