Zakes Mda

The headline act for the South African Book Fair 2017 set to happen from September 8-10 is legendary author Zakes Mda. The festival theme is the “Writing Revolution.”

The South African Book Fair 2017 will be happening at Museum Africa in Johannesburg. The South African Book Fair, now owned by the South African Book Development Council, has been incorporated into the annual National Book Week, which has always happens first full week of September.

The theme this year will be ‘writing revolution’ which is often discussed in South Africa and raises many questions. African philosophers and writers will be debating the state of the world, Africa and South Africa, and where we all are in relation to justice and equality. The book fair will try and encourage a pan-African debate on the role of writing in a democratic society, as the politics of democracy influence the South African book industry and have an effect on the local and African book markets.

Sunday Times Literary Award 2017 winner Prof Zakes Mda, who is also the Fair’s guest of honour, concluded his widely shared keynote address at the awards with these lines: “Now a new order exists in South Africa. Like all regimes before it the new dispensation is narrating the past from its own perspective, recreating and reshaping it to palliate the very present it continues to mismanage with impunity, erasing the contribution of some from the annals of history, and lionising the current crooks, the harvesters of matundu ya uhuru, the fruits of freedom. The truth of fiction can give context to and shed new insights on the stories unearthed by your investigative reporting. It gives them longevity and digestibility. Fiction is even more essential in this age when shamelessness and impunity among the ruling elite and ‘corruption fatigue’ in the populace are leading South Africa to perdition.”

There will be a guest list of other writers apart from the headliner of course. Ayobami Adebayo who is currently the hottest new writer from Nigeria with her novel Stay With Me which has gotten nominations for prize’s like the Bailey’s will be there. There will be others from the rest of the continent like Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, the founder of Cassava Republic Press, Lola Shoneyin, founder of the ground-breaking Ake Arts & Book Festival and Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ the co-founder of the Cornell-Kiswahili Prize.

There will be South African writers as well, it is a South African festival after all, like Athambile Masola, Loyiso Mkize, and many more who will be confirmed as the dates come closer.