The Time of the Writer 2016 started on March 14th, 2016 in Durban with writers from around the continent converging on the South Africa seaside city. The festival with the theme “Decolonising the book” ended on March 19th this year.
The festival which is the longest running in Africa’s most Southernmost country started slowly with activities like an interview by its co-curator Thando Mgqolozana on SABC news. It was followed by a flurry of activities in the city with writers shuttling around different venues in the city.
There were the traditional events where writers would go to their usual panel sessions moderated by their peers and those in the know get to buy books and take selfies with writers to their hearts delight. Also featuring were the ever popular school visits where students could interact with real honest to goodness writers like looked a lot like them. That would probably be useful in either inspiring the next generation of writers as well as the next raft of writers.
The unique thing this year was that the writers went to what South Africans refer to as townships. Here at local libraries, those who weren’t in schools but were interested in books and writers got an opportunity to meet the best in South African and African writing. They were met with a lot of enthusiasm as this isn’t exactly an everyday occurrence either in South Africa or elsewhere across the continent. We really need to start seeing a lot more of these kinds of initiative in other festivals so that we can see our writing heroes.
Here are the photos of day one from our friends going about their business down in Durban. Some of these photos were sourced from the Time of the Writer Facebook page and were taken David Preston. Others were taken by friends of the festival that we had access to.