The Rutanang Kasi Book Festival 2020, themed ‘In The Words Of Our Ancestors’, will be hosted virtually from September 25-27, 2020.
In 2016, the Rutanang Book Fair opened in the South African town of Tlokwe with a blast. Guests who attended were treated to an amazing series of events with some of the more well-known names in the Southern African literary scene and beyond featuring. Such a great time was had that I listed it as the “best new literary festival” in my end of year honours. In 2017, the festival organisers did something that was unprecedented at the time as they ran their whole program online. There was a 2018 edition that happened physically after disruptions forced a postponement.
The 2020 edition of this innovative festival is nearly upon us. It took a break in 2019 and like Gandalf The Grey who came back as Gandalf the White, this event is now called the Rutanang Kasi Book Festival or #Rutanang2020 for short. It is aimed at promoting the culture of reading in urban, township communities where literature does not reach or is not popular. It is managed and coordinated by Red Dune Projects supported by Geko Publishing, Sol Plaatje University, North-West University, and sponsored by CNA.
“There has not been a time – in the history of South Africa – when black Africans are producing and consuming so much literature. Such literature requires celebration and further entrenchment in and among black African urban societies” said Tseko Nkhane, Festival Director of Rutanang.
The festival will feature over 50 authors, 20 poets, and 26 panels, including publishing and short story Setswana master classes. It is one of the few festivals that focus on the promotion of African language literature in Africa. The panellists will deliberate on topical discussions such as “Literature for those who do not count: Khilovedu & Khoikhoi literature in the spotlight”, “Shumela Venda! The growth and award-winning streak of TshiVenda literature” and “Inqumbo yeminyanya paved the way, but where is isiXhosa literature now?”
Some of the guests of #Rutanang2020 will be Setswana author Kabelo Kgatea, Khoikhoi activist Denver Toroga, Nandi Manentsa, lecturer Mathe Ntshekhe, lecturer Siza Nkosi, poet and author Thabiso Lakajoe, award-winning Tshivenda author Khalirendwe Nekhavambe, Tumelo Moleleki, performance poet Sabelo Soko,Thabiso Mofokeng, publisher Lorraine Sithole, award-winning author Tshifhiwa Mukwevho, Mogale Sedibe, award-winning Setswana author and lecturer Sabata Mpho Mokae, translator and author of Setswana Lorato Trok, Khauhelo Dube, academic and intellectual Shole Shole, Masego Kwenamore, Tuelo Gabonewe, Lesego Motlhankane, Mcedisi Thambe, Mofolo scholar Limakatso Pepenene, Mpush Ntabenii, Gilbert Motsaathebe, Martin Koboekae, and Tumelo Motaung.
For more information on getting in on the action in South Africa, please click here for more information. It’s online and it’s free so you can access it wherever you are.