The Zimbabwe International Book Fair has had better times. It was started in 1983 with the support of a new country led by Robert Mugabe and became the go to festival in the Eastern and Southern part of the continent.
The Zimbabwean crisis of the noughties that saw the country suffer some of the worst inflation any society has ever seen on record affected the festival in a very real way. Add to that Zimbabwe, once the blue eyed boy of the west, becoming a pariah state with sanctions led the US and Britain it was a very difficult time for the once premier book fair. The exhibitors who loved ZIBF started moving to other festivals in the region with Open Book in Cape Town, South Africa being the biggest beneficiary.
This years book fair, the 32nd of the series, happened from 27 July – 1 August and it would start with a two day Indaba Conference on 27 and 28 July followed by the fair proper. The theme was Growing the Knowledge Economy through Research, Writing, Publishing and Reading. It was attended by many including Isabel Bandason.
This years festival was the first to happen after the passing of the legendary Zimbabwe man of the letter Chenjerai Hove the winner of the everything that could be won who was mourned universally. There were sessions where the books of the late legend were read by folks like Memory Chirere.
Also on the cards was a writers workshop which were run by several experts including Farai Mungoshi.
Here are a few images from the conference courtesy of our friends at the Writers International Network Zimbabwe. You can also check out their current newsletter which offers valuable insight on what happened in Harare on late July/ early August.