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Programme announced for the 19th Time of the Writer (14 – 19 March)



The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) has announced the lineup and programme for the Time of the Writer festival, as well as new partnerships for its 19th edition.

10 writers from South Africa and Africa will meet for a week of stimulating literary dialogue and exchange of ideas. Audiences will be able to engage with award-winning writers, from a variety of political and social contexts, on the creative and technical processes and perspectives which shape their writing. Evening readings and discussions will take place at 7 PM at eKhaya Multi Arts Centre (KwaMashu), Ohlange High School (Inanda), Umkhumbane Hall (Cato Manor), Umlazi Cinema and Clermont Hall.

This years panel discussions couples authors whose writings share semiotic marrow and are loosely titled after books and papers that echo their literary sentiment.

The evening panels are:

The Madness of History – Tuesday 15th March (eKhaya Multi Arts Centre – KwaMashu)

Ashwin Desai and Mishka Hoosen will have a conversation on the importance of retrospective meditations on self, historical figures and the family.

Why Must a Black Writer Write About Blackness? – Wednesday 16th March (Ohlange High School)

In this Dany Laferrière inspired panel discussion Panashe Chigamudzi and Eusebius McKaiser share their experiences as writers who write without curiosity’s gaze.

They Write What They Like – Thursday 17th March (Umkhumbane Hall – Cato Manor)

Crossing the borders from short stories to novellas to poetry to essays, writer Niq Mhlongo gives insight into his unique take on the world across genres and mediums.

Tuning In … – Friday 18th March (Umlazi Cinema)

Writing for listeners is an art that requires its own stage, a stage of which Christa Biyela and Mandla Ndlovu are accomplished masters. These two audio drama maestros open their lyrical vaults and with it the history and depth of the Zulu audio drama.

The Alchemy of Fiction – Saturday 19th March (Clermont Hall)

How pliable is truth? Can one measure the elasticity of the human imagination and if pushed, would one ever erase the self from one’s own story? In this panel, musician turned author Nakhane Touré and Nikhil Singh discuss the roles fantasy, biography and imagination play in the erection of the worlds they create.

Conversations that Matter

As part of the festival’s focus on decolonising South African literature the festival will gather leading voices from every facet of literature in the areas of writing, editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and promotion (including events), to interrogate the central question of how to go about decolonising literature in South Africa, from writing to readership.

Conversations that Matter is a daytime programme of roundtable discussions, led by experts across the various fields of literature, that provides a space for people to share and contribute towards this vital topic of decolonisation within literature.

The following topics will be under discussion during the day from 11 AM:

Conversations That Matter: The Book & Knowledge Production – Tuesday 15th March 2016 (KwaMashu Library)

Writers Niq Mhlongo, Panashe Chigamudzi, TO Molefe, Percy Zvomuya, Nakanjani Sibiya and poet Mputlane wa Bofelo meet to expose the landmines that await writers who render text that challenges literary traditions and their inherent exclusion of certain voices.

Conversations That Matter: The Book & GateKeepers – Wednesday 16th March 2016 (Ohlange Library)

To probe the accessibility of literary institutions and the tribulations of those tasked with creating that access, this conversation culls from the experiences of both publishers and distributors. Has the South African literary landscape shifted to accommodate previously poorly documented and valued contributions? Which attitudes delay decolonising access? To open the discussion are Prof. Sihawu Ngubane, Thabiso Mahlape, Kholeka Mabeta, Duduzile Mabaso, Mandla Matyumza, Siphiwo Mahala.

Conversations That Matter: The Book & Readership – Thursday 17th March 2016 (UmKhumbane Hall – Cato Manor)

To explore questions on readership often posed to booksellers, librarians and festival organisers are Cedric Sissing (Adams Books), Benjamin Trisk (Exclusive Books), Fortescue Helepi (African Flavour Books), Sinenhlanhla Buthelezi (Goethe Library), Tebogo Mzizi (eThekwini Municipality Libraries), Mignon Hardie (FunDza Literacy Trust), Frankie Murrey (Open Book Festival), Dr. Maria Van Driel (Jozi Book Fair) and Jennifer Platt (Sunday Times). This conversation draws on the challenges of pricing, public expectations and historical misconceptions on reading cultures in South Africa.

Conversations That Matter: The Book & Language – Friday 18th March (Umlazi Library)

An interrogation of the notion of linguistic hierarchies in print media, literature and academic institutions requires contributions from academics and cultural producers whose careers are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of marginalized languages. This conversation will be initiated by Eric Ngcobo, Dr. Mpho Monareng, Dr. Gugu Mazibuko, Dr. Pamella Maseko, Prof. Nobuhle Hlongwa and Wangui Wa Goro.

Conversations That Matter: The Book & Intersectionality – Saturday 19th March 2016 (Qashane Library)

As a result of recent shifts in the quality of contributions produced outside the academy, the topic of Intersectionality has relocated academics and social commentators alike. The youth are proving to be the aorta of the argument and keeping pulse with contemporary readings on Intersectionality demands the voices of those who bravely tackle this pertinent and inflammatory subject. To open the discussion are Eusebuis McKaiser, Milisuthando Bongela, Nakhane Touré, Lindokuhle Nkosi, Mputlane Wa Bofelo, Mbali Matandela and Zethu Matebeni.

Event information

The 19th edition of the festival is presented in partnership with various organisations including the eThekwini Municipality Libraries department whose involvement supports the community engagement programme of the festival by hosting Conversations that Matter in public libraries.

All events are FREE to library or student cardholders. For members of the public without either card, a nominal fee of R20 will be requested at the box office from one hour before the event. The eThekwini Municipal Libraries along with The Centre for Creative Arts will be on hand at each venue in order to aid those without library cards to sign up for one on the spot, all that it requires is a valid ID document and proof of residence.

For more details about this years’ Time of the Writer, visit the or call 031 260 2506.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University KwaZulu-Natal), the 19th Time of the Writer is supported by eThekwini Municipality, the National Department of Arts and Culture Alliance Française de Durban. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

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19th Poetry Africa Festival to Host Insightful Workshops at Rivertown Beerhall

19th Poetry Africa - Participants Announced

The 19th Poetry Africa Festival will be offering three insightful workshops which will be taking place on the 17th October at the Beerhall gallery from 10: 00 to 13:00. The workshops form part of a teeming line up of festivities to finalise the week-long festival which begins on Monday, October 12.

The workshops include:

  • Advancing Poetry through Events – Organisers of Poetry events in Durban and South Africa (Thabiso Mohare, Vus’umuzi Phakathi and Mxolisi Mtshali) will be speaking about the impact of a growing literary society
  • Making Durban a liveable City – Through Arts Development – Representatives from the eThekwini Parks and Recreation (Themba Mchunu) and National Arts Council (Andrew Nkadimeng) will host a session promoting available programs for the development and preservation of literature in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Finding your Voice – Poetry Africa participants (Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, Nii Parkes and Aryan Kaganof) facilitate a session on finding your creative voice.

All workshops are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the festival finale at Rivertown cost R70 (pre-sale or R80 at the door) and can be purchased from Computicket.

For more information go to or like the PoetryAfrica Facebook page or follow @PoetryAfrica on Twitter.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible by support from the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and the Goethe Institute. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.
Poetry Africa Details

Workshop Details

  • Date: Saturday, 17 October 2015
  • Time: 10 AM – 1 PM
  • Venue: Rivertown Beer Hall
    102 Florence Nzama St (formerly Prince Alfred St)
    Durban | Map
  • Speakers: (Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, Nii Parkes, Aryan Kaganof, Thabiso Mohare, Vus’umuzi Phakathi and Mxolisi Mtshali, Themba Mchunu, Andrew Nkadimeng
  • Cost: Free


* * * * * * * *

Have a look at some of the books by participants of the 19th Poetry Africa festival:

Piggy Boy's BluesTail of the Blue BirdIn a Ribbon of RhythmA Half Century ThingAdults OnlyWenaRunning


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19th Poetry Africa Festival – Participants Announced

19th Poetry Africa - Participants Announced
Piggy Boy's BluesTail of the Blue BirdIn a Ribbon of RhythmA Half Century ThingAdults OnlyWenaRunning

A select group of poets from South Africa and around the world will gather together in Durban from 12 – 17 October, showcasing the face of spoken word and storytelling at the 19th Poetry Africa Festival.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, Poetry Africa provides a space for intercultural exchange and dialogue by hosting an extensive community outreach programme with poetry readings, performances and workshops in community centres, campuses and also participate in a programme of visits to schools across Durban to share ideas about poetry.

Evening poetry readings and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (Howard College) UKZN. The festival finale will take place on October 17 at the Rivertown Beer Hall in Durban’s CBD, with a closing performance by soulful singer Nakhane Touré, whose debut novel Piggy Boy’s Blues has just been released.

This year’s festival features 24 poets:

UK-based Kat Francois, is a comedienne, playwright, actress, performer, host, schools and youth facilitator and a well‐known performance poet both in her country and globally. Lebohang “Nova” Masango, is a Swedish-born writer, poet, activist, feminist and speaker, and UK-based Ghanaian performance poet, writer and sociocultural commentator Nii Parkes.

From South Africa comes the celebrated and prolific poet and actress Lebo Mashile, who, was named one of the Top 100 Africans by New African magazine; Lesego Rampolokeng, the renowned hard-hitting South African writer, playwright and performance poet who has a new collection out now; Aryan Kaganof, a filmmaker, novelist, poet and fine artist, who refers to himself as a project of African Noise Foundation and who had a short story recently featured in Adults Only; Ntsiki Mazwai, the outspoken and incendiary poet, writer and musician; and Thabiso ‘Afurakan’ Mohare, one of the pioneers of the modern South African spoken word scene.

KZN-based poets include Africa Dlamini, a slam/spoken word poet who lives in Howick; Durban’s Celiswa Majali, whose novel Imbali yentombazanana is used by schools at grade 10 level in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces. Also from Durban are Khanyi Shusha, a diviner, performance art poet, stylist, designer, facilitator, brown consciousness activist, feminist and writer; Kwazi Ndlangisa, a South African award-winning performance poet, vocalist, creative writer and art activist; Matt Vend, who is well-known across South Africa for his poetically-driven songwriting, unique rhythmic guitar playing and engaging live performances; Nokulunga Dladla, a passionate recording poetry artist and a storyteller as well as an educator in the Pinetown District; Nosipho Magcaba, a former “prelude poet” at the festival, who returns this year to the main programme; Tshebeletso Mohale also a former “prelude poet” at Poetry Africa 2014 who lives and works in Durban; Thando Fuze, who has twice been nominated for Best Female Performing Poet at the Original Material Awards; and Vus’umuzi Phakathi, an award winning South African poet, writer, performer, facilitator and producer.

Other featured poets include Icebound Makhele, a spoken word performer, writer, cultural activist and events coordinator from Bloemfontein; Makhosazana Xaba, the author of two poetry collections and a feminist activist with experience in women’s health, philanthropy and the anti-apartheid struggle; Mbali Vilakazi, the award-winning South African poet, performer, curator and speaker, who has a dynamic style and collaborative experimental approach; Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, a poet, writer and storyteller from a small village of Upper Indwana in Cala in the former Transkei; Mutle Mothibe, who has spent the last 15 years honing his skills a writer and performer and is also an accomplished workshop facilitator who regularly engages both learners and educators; and Limpopo-born Vonani Bila, a poet and musician who has written eight storybooks for newly literate adult readers in Sepedi, Xitsonga and English, and who recently launched a new collection, Bilakhulu!

Tickets for the evening sessions, which take place at 7 PM at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, are R40 (students/pensioners: R25 at the door) and can be purchased at Computicket or one hour before the performance begins at the box office. Tickets for the festival finale at Rivertown cost R70 (pre-sale or R80 at the door) and can be purchased from Computicket.

For more information go to, like the Facebook page PoetryAfrica or follow on Twitter @PoetryAfrica.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible by support from the eThekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and the Goethe Institut. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

Event Details


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2015 Time of the Writer Programme Revealed

2015 Time of the Writer Programme Revealed

Alert! The programme for the 2015 Time of the Writer Festival has been released.

The festival takes place in Durban from 16 and 21 March.

The 18th Time of the Writer Festival will kick off on Monday, 16 March at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, with a musical performance by Thuli and Chillie, hosted by Tiny Mungwe.

This will be followed by a tribute to André Brink, who passed away recently, and the festival opening address, which will be delivered by Professor Cheryl Potgieter of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Other themes that feature during the week’s events are crime writing, storytelling, memoir and fiction, writing from the margins, and female narratives.

The lineup for this year’s festival includes NoViolet Bulawayo, Carol Campbell, Imraan Coovadia, ZP Dala, Ousmane Diarra, Dilman Dila, Jacob Dlamini, Ekow Duker, Craig Higginson, Mandla Langa, Thando Mgqolozana, Kirsten Miller, MJ Mngadi, Nthikeng Mohlele, Given Mukwevho, Futhi Ntshingila, Sue Nyathi, Charlotte Otter, Margaret von Klemperer, Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

Subscribe to this list on Twitter to follow tweets by 2015 TOTW authors:

Have a look at the full programme:

2015 Time of the Writer Festival Programme by Books LIVE


Books by guests of Time of the Writer:

We Need New NamesEsther's House’n Huis vir EsterTales of the Metric SystemnullA Killing in the Sun
AskariWhite WahalaThe Texture of ShadowsUnimportanceSister MoonKusemhlabeni Lapha
Rusty BellThe Violent Gestures of LifeDo Not Go GentleThe PolygamistBalthasar's GiftJust a Dead ManNothing Left to Steal


Book details

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Sterling Line-up Announced for the 2015 Time of the Writer Festival

The lineup for the 18th Time of the Writer Festival has been announced, including the who’s who of South African literature.

Presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and made possible by support from the Department of Arts and Culture, the City of Durban, the French Institute (IFAS) and the Goethe Institute, the 18th edition of the festival will take place in Durban between 16 and 21 March.

The lineup for the 2015 Time of the Writer:

NoViolet Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Carol Campbell, South Africa

Imraan Coovadia, South Africa

ZP Dala, South Africa

Ousmane Diarra, Mali

Dilman Dila, Uganda

Jacob Dlamini, South Africa

Ekow Duker, South Africa

Craig Higginson, South Africa

Mandla Langa, South Africa

Thando Mgqolozana, South Africa

Kirsten Miller, South Africa

MJ Mngadi, South Africa

Nthikeng Mohlele, South Africa

Given Mukwevho, South Africa

Futhi Ntshingila, South Africa

Sue Nyathi, Zimbabwe

Charlotte Otter, South Africa

Margaret Von Klemperer, South Africa

Mzilikazi wa Afrika, South Africa

The theme for this year’s festival, Writing For Our Lives, calls attention to the urgent continuing struggle of all writers in speaking truth and bearing witness to the times through their words. Globally writers are combatting censorship when the truth is too hard to swallow, challenging the reader’s perspective and sparking a passion for literature in our youth.

During this activity-rich week, audiences can expect to engage with a multitude of award-winning writers, from a wide range of political and social contexts, on the creative and technical processes and perspectives which shape their writing.

Evening readings and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (Howard College Campus) while wide reaching free day programmes are spread across Durban and the surrounding areas as part of the festival’s ongoing efforts to promote and nurture a culture of creative expression through reading and writing. This includes school visits, a publishing forum and a range of seminars and workshops.

Ticket information

Ticket cost R25 for the evening sessions and R10 for students on presentation of a student card. Workshops, seminars and book launches are free of charge. Book through Computicket Tel: 0861 915 8000 or 011 340 8000 or online at or at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from 6 PM.

For more information contact the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal by phone on +27 31 260 2506/1816 or email

We Need New NamesEsther's House’n Huis vir EsterTales of the Metric SystemnullA Killing in the Sun
AskariWhite WahalaThe Texture of ShadowsUnimportanceSister MoonKusemhlabeni Lapha
Rusty BellThe Violent Gestures of LifeDo Not Go GentleThe PolygamistBalthasar's GiftJust a Dead ManNothing Left to Steal

Book details

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Lineup for the 2014 Time of the Writer Festival

Programme for the 17th Time of The Writer Festival Announced

The programme for the 17th Time of The Writer: International Festival of Writers has been announced.

The week-long showcase, which takes place from 17-22 March at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, is set to provoke, inform and inspire, abd brings some of the world’s finest novelists, authors and storytellers to Durban, from as far afield as India, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Togo, and Guinea.

30th CandleSouth Africa's Suspended RevolutionA Nation in CrisisUntitledWay Back HomeMaid in SA

20 writers will be gathering for a week of literary dialogue, exchange of ideas and stimulating discussion under the theme Freeing Our Imagination, in solidarity with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina’s clarion call for Africans to use their creativity to imagine and create a continent free of the existential burdens of colonialism.

The opening night, March 17, will feature all participating writers making brief presentations at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, and will be dedicated to the late, great South African thinker, academic and prolific writer Professor Mbulelo Mzamane, a past participant of Time of the Writer, who Nelson Mandela described as a “visionary leader, [and] one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals.”

Prof Mzamane passed away on 15 February, having made his mark through writing and scholarship including The Children of Soweto, Children of Paradise, The Children of the Diaspora and Other Stories of Exile and Where There is No Vision the People Will Perish: Reflections on the African Renaissance.

The rest of the week’s evening presentations will be panel discussions with writers talking about their writing and the issues dealt with in their work.

New Voices from India

The first panel discussion of the festival on Tuesday, 18 March will focus on writing from the sub-continent, featuring Indian authors Satyagit Sarna and Prajwal Parajuly.

Sarna is an author and lawyer based in New Delhi. His debut novel Angels Share, described as a love story, a political commentary, and coming-of-age novel, was published in 2012 by Harper Collins. He will be joined by Parajuly, whose books The Gurkha’s Daughter: Stories and Land Where I Flee have been lauded in international press. This panel discussion will be facilitated by author, Shubnum Khan.

Mzansi Women Voices

The second panel of the evening features South African writers Angela Makhlowa and Praba Moodley.

Returning to Time of the Writer after her debut in 2007, Makhlowa is an author and public relations consultant. She became the first black female crime author with her debut novel Red Ink. She has since published a drama novel, The 30th Candle, and will be releasing her third later this year.

Moodley published her first novel, The Heart Knows No Colour, in 2003, which was followed by two more novels, A Scent So Sweet (2006) and Follow Your Heart, the sequel to her debut. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Elle and Oprah Magazine.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by author Shafinaaz Hassim.

Writing the Policy Debate

Wednesday’, 19 March, kicks off with a panel discussion featuring Professors Adam Habib and Paulus Zulu.

As one of the country’s most recognisable political analysts and vice chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Habib has long been considered one of South Africa’s most astute experts in the areas of transformation, democracy and development. He holds qualifications in Political Science from the University of Natal and Wits. He earned his masters and doctoral qualifications from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His latest work is South Africa’s Suspended Revolution.

Zulu is author and director of Human Sciences Research Council. A noted writer, academic and community leader, Zulu holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has published extensively in the fields of politics and sociology both nationally and internationally. His latest book is entitled A Nation In Crisis: An Appeal for Morality.

The discussion will be facilitated by Ben Fogel.

Writing in Francophone Africa: Trends and Issues.

The second panel discussion of the night will look trends in Francophone literature with a discussion by authors Sami Tchak (Togo) and Tierno Monénembo (Guinea).

Tchak studied philosophy before obtaining his PhD at the Sorbonne University in 1993. He won the Grand Prix of Black African Literature for his entire body of work in 2004. He has published Femme infidèle (1988), Place des Fêtes, (2001), Hermina (2003), La fête des masques, (2004), Le paradis des chiots, (2006) and Filles de Mexico (2008).

Monénembo was born in Guinea but lived in exile in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal before settling in France and Cuba. He has published nine novels and a stage play since 1983. He won the 2008 Prix Renaudot, a French award given to the author of an outstanding original novel, for The King of Kahel.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by Dr Bernard de Meyer of the UKZN French department and is presented in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa.

Writing the Historical Moment

Thursday night’s activities open with the panel discussion looking at key historical moments shaping the current South African political landscape. The panel will take the form of an in-depth interview featuring activist, researcher and political economist Professor Patrick Bond.

Bond is an academic whose research draws from work with NGOs in urban communities as well as global justice movements in several countries. He is currently the director of the Centre for Civil Society at UKZN and is involved in research on economic justice, geopolitics, climate, energy and water.

The discussion will be facilitated by Xolani Benedict Dube.

Chronicling The Contemporary African Story

Time of The Writer has a strong history of spotlighting young talented writers dealing with contemporary topics. The festival aims to create an even greater focus on stories from the younger generation and this is highlighted in the second panel of the night.

Chronicling The Contemporary African Story brings together two South African authors, Kgebetli Moele and Niq Mhlongo.

Moele’s debut novel, Room 207, was published in 2006 by Kwela Books and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book (Africa) in 2007. It was the joint-winner of the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English fiction as well as joint-winner of the University of Johannesburg Prize for Creative Writing in the debut category. His second novel, The Book of the Dead, received the South African Literary Award in 2010. He released his third novel, Untitled, in 2013.

Mhlongo is a Soweto-born journalist and author who has presented his work at key African cultural events, including the Caine Prize Workshop, and was a 2008 International Writing Program fellow at the University of Iowa. His debut novel Dog Eat Dog, released in 2004, has been translated into Spanish. He has since published two more novels, After Tears (2007) and the highly praised Way Back Home in 2013.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by Duduzile Mabaso.

Storytelling Programme

Understanding the rich history that storytelling carries on the continent, The Time of The Writer festival is excited to present a storytelling programme, in collaboration with the Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust, taking place on Friday, 21 March.

The event will feature Nomsa Mdlalose and Mshai Mwangola in a panel discussion looking at the art of storytelling.

Mdlalose, who holds a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University, has years of experience in the artform and is the managing director of Kwesukela Storytelling Academy. Through her work at the Academy, she promotes the ancestral oral tradition as a heritage of sophistication, wisdom and philosophy.

Nairobi native Mwangola is talented performance scholar, storyteller, and oraturist. She has performed, conducted performance workshops, researched and worked with and for diverse performance ensembles and individuals across four continents in a career spanning over 25 years. She is the chairperson of the Governing Council of the Kenya Cultural Centre.

The panel will be facilitated by Dr Gcina Mhlophe.

From The Mouth of Babes

The second panel of the night will focus on youth literature, featuring Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana) and Khulekani Magubane (South Africa).

Kubuitsile is a writer living in Botswana who has published three children’s books, two detective novellas and three collections of short stories for children, co-written with two other Motswana writers.

She has published three romance novels with Sapphire Press, Kwaito Love, Can He Be The One?, and Mr Not Quite Good Enough. Kubuitsile was the 2007 winner of the BTA/ Anglo Platinum Short Story Contest and the recipient of the Botswana Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Orange Botswerere Award for Creative Writing in the same year. In 2009 she won the USA’s Baobab Literary Prize in the junior category and in 2010 in the senior category. She was on the shortlist for the 2011 Caine Prize.

Magubane is a journalist and author. At the age of 23 he has published more than 18 books. Although he is a children’s author his work deals with important issues such as class, race and religion.

Saneliswe Ntuli will facilitate the panel discussion.

Children’s Storytelling Matinee

In addition, Time of The Writer and the Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust will host a special matinee for children, to be held at the UKZN Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Saturday, 22 March, from 2.00 PM to 4.30 PM. The matinee will feature Mdlalose and Mwangola, who will be joined by Gogo MaBhengu and Lwazi Thwala.

New African Women Writers Rising

The final day of the festival features a discussion focused on the stories and work being produced by young female writers from Africa.

On the panel are prolific authors Hawa Jande Golakai (Liberia) and Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria).

Born in Liberia, Golaka moved around extensively with her family due to political and economic unrest. She has lived in Togo, Ghana and Zimbabwe, before arriving in Cape Town as a student in 2003. She trained and worked as a medical researcher in immunology, and her first novel, The Lazarus Effect, is a gripping fictional drama set in Cape Town.

Onuzo is a young author whose debut novel The Spider’s King Daughter has received critical acclaim. She has been shortlisted for this year’s Commonwealth Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize, as well as longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize in the same year.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by writer Sandile Ngidi.

Finding the South African Funny Bone

This discussion features Sarah Britten and Zukiswa Wanner.

Britten is a former journalist, artist and author from Johannesburg. She has been published extensively, wrote her Master’s research report on South African humour (with a focus on Madam & Eve) and has a doctorate in Applied English Language Studies. She has published three novels focusing on the colourful and unique art of South African insults, The Art of the South African Insult, McBride of Frankenmanto: The Return of the South African Insult, and More South African Insults.

Wanner is a journalist, author and blogger whose work includes The Madams: A Wildly Provocative Novel (2007), Behind Every Successful Man (2008) and Men of the South (2010). Her latest work is Maid in SA: 30 Ways to Leave Your Madam (2013). She is a founding member of ReadSA, an initiative encouraging South Africans to read local books.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by writer and radio personality Ndumiso Ngcobo.

Seminars and Workshops

In addition to the nightly panel discussions at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, the festival’s Community Outreach Programme features a broad range of activities during the day, including seminars and workshops aiming to promote a culture of reading, writing and creative expression. The festival will also conduct visits to schools, and present a prison writing programme. Book launches take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre’s Wellington Tavern deck prior to the evening shows, from 6:45 PM.

Tickets are R25 for the evening sessions, R10 for students, and can be purchased through Computicket or at the door one hour before the event. Workshops and seminars are free.

For more details about the Time of the Writer, visit the Centre for Creative Arts website at or call 031 260 2506

The 17th Time of the Writer Festival supported by the City of Durban, the French Institute of South Africa, and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture. It is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts, which is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the deputy vice chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

Book details

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Time of the Writer 2013: Steinberg and Desai on “Writing the Other”, Hassim and Molope on “Writing Gender”

Jonny Steinberg Ashwin Desai

Little LiberiaReading RevolutionNon-fiction authors Jonny Steinberg and Ashwin Desai, were quizzed on “Writing the Other” by facilitator Federico Settler at Saturday’s session at the 16th annual Time of the Writer International Writers Festival.

Steinberg, most recently the author of Little Liberia: An African Odyssey in New York, is attached to the Centre for African Studies in Oxford, and winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Literature, was asked how his work differs from that of fiction writers. Steinberg answered that he “can’t get into somebody else’s head”, but that he has to write from what he knows. He added that he “wouldn’t presume to give voice to the other,” but instead gets to know his interviewee very well, and “writes about that relationship”.

Ashwin Desai, political commentator, explained that writing about interviews conducted in the place he calls home, Durban, was difficult in that “one can’t escape one’s own biography”. He said in his book, Reading Revolution: Shakespeare on Robben Island, he wanted to talk about what happens when the “Calibans come to power” (referring to Shakespeare’s The Tempest), noting that they often end up acting as “Prosperos”.

Steinberg explained that when he tries to understand the people he writes about, he asks himself “how they feel about their own death”. He explained that his forthcoming book, to be published early in 2014, focuses on a Somali man who led a “deracinated life in Somali, until he saved enough money to hitch-hike to SA, where he now runs a spaza shop in Blikkiesdorp”. He noted that this man insisted on all the interviews he gave Steinberg being held in Steinberg’s car, so that he could see “tsotsis” coming, if there were any, “in a way, trying to escape his own murder”. This gave a sense of the xenophobic conditions under which he had to live, as opposed to Steinberg’s relative safety as a white man.

At question time, a member of the audience asked Steinberg about Little Liberia, querying why there was a “muting of gender” in the text. Steinberg replied that he tends to sink more into the lives of the men he interviews, “perhaps because of projection and the ability to imagine myself in their shoes”. He said however, that “one day I hope to write intimately about a woman”. He said it was important for a writer not to speak over a reader’s head, but to “trust your reader to be able to work out what you show him/her, which must be the guts of it, the story”. He noted how one of his Liberian protagonists found it very traumatic to have sex with his wife for the first time, because she had undergone female circumcision. He then became virulently opposed to it. His wife however, supported the practice, and insisted on her daughters being circumcised too. “Swooping down on cultural practices from the outside doesn’t work,” said Steinberg, “it has to happen from the inside and outside at the same time”.

Desai slated the rhetoric of post-colonial academics who analyse subaltern writing against the dominant discourse, saying it “doesn’t get you closer to the magic”. He said that interviewing people
for his book on Robben Island “humbled” him, although it didn’t stop him from being critical. He noted that “research is a messy business”.

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Onion TearsSoPhiaThis Book Betrays my BrotherA curiously vulnerable second session focused on “Writing Gender Violence”. The tone was hesitant and yet determined.

Shubnum Khan, author of Onion Tears, said she believed domestic violence’s power comes from “its secrecy and shame”, and welcomed the opportunity to move the discussion from beyond the private confines of the home, to a more public sphere. Shafinaaz Hassim read from her recently published book Sophia, a novel about domestic violence, followed by Kagiso Molope who read from her novel about rape, called This Book Betrays my Brother. Hassim said she chooses to write about violence because she’s a sociologist researching the issue, but wants to unpack these stories “not scientifically, but for a broader audience”. Molope said she grew up in a violent township where she witnessed many attacks on women, and always “wanted to write about the role of the witness. Do you speak out? Make excuses for the men?”

Khan asked the authors to comment on why victims who endure trauma often are further victimised. Hassim said she believes this comes from a “pseudo self-righteous culture of denialism”, where “it has become acceptable to blame the victim for her abuse,” so that she can then be “punished / disciplined / fixed”. Molope said in her book the brother accused of rape rejects his sister when she tries to talk to him about what has happened: and then he excludes her from his community, revealing that her challenge has become a threat for an entire group, not just an individual.

Khan mentioned several high-profile rape/assault cases that have appeared in the media lately, for instance, the rape and murder of Anene Booysen in the Cape, and the shooting of Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Hassim said that it is reassuring that there is a renewed consciousness around gender violence, because it is important that civil society fights back. Molope said, from what she has gathered from talking to township people, women in SA are “under siege”, they feel that there is a civil war against them and children.

An audience member asked Hassim whether she believes fiction can be a form of self-help. She said she lent Sophia to someone in an abusive marriage, who chose not to leave. Hassim said perhaps it was too early to see her action as a failed attempt. A man from the audience asked the authors whether they thought a man could write about gender-based violence. Molope said she believed one needs to include “many perspectives”. Another question focused on whether violence can have emancipatory possibilities. Molope said we can’t dictate how victims respond to violence, while Hassim mentioned a movie she saw about an Indian woman who burned her abusive husband to death in a house fire. Molope said it is always a victim’s choice to react in a certain way, but “you owe it yourself to just be you”.

Centre for Creative Arts co-ordinator, Tinso Mungwe, then wrapped up the festival with a vote of thanks for the organisers, funders, and authors.

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Time of the Writer: Qap’s Mngadi’s Second Cartoon Compilation, Impilo eMzansi, Launched (Plus: TOW Gallery)

Qaps Mngadi

Impilo eMzansiZuma's Road to VictorySpecial to the CCA blog by Ben Williams

I arrived at the Time of the Writer last Friday to attend the festival’s final two days – and more or less walked straight into the person of Qap’s Mngadi at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre’s Wellington Tavern Deck. He was busy, with Adam Books’ Cedric Sissing, setting up for his book launch.

“Which book,” I asked?

“My second book of cartoons,” said Qap’s (as he insisted I call him, seeing as I can pronounce the “q”).

I asked to take a look. Impilo eMzansi: Life in South Africa comprises cartoons published in “Echo”, a supplement of The Witness, and Isolezwe, a Zulu-language newspaper, both published in KZN.

It wouldn’t be right to describe Qap’s as the “Zulu Zapiro” – he is his own cartoonist – but the book that I plucked out of his hands reminded me very much of the latter’s annuals, in that it brought months of SA history instantly back to life. Just a few flips and you’re back inside South Africa’s 2010, that cauldron of strikes, scandals and the FIFA World Cup. English captions beneath the Zulu speech bubbles point you to the cartoons’ emotive content, after which getting a read on the drawings is a cinch for any non-Zulu speaker who is yet literate in pen and ink.

At his launch, Qap’s lamented the fact that there are very few black political cartoonists of his stature: his travels have shown him that there is certainly a hunger for work like his, in languages other than English, in all parts of South Africa. Like all cartoonists worth their salt, he leads sacred cows directly to the altar, including, when necessary, eminent persons from his province. As for Jacob Zuma, however, the direction that Qap’s sympathies lie may be inferred from the title of his first collection, Zuma’s Road to Victory.

The cartoonist mentioned that he will be taking both books to this year’s London Book Fair. BOOK SA hopes dearly that he’ll have no cause to draw pictures of any angry volcanoes and wishes him best of luck at Earls Court!

Qaps MngadiQaps MngadiImpilo eMzansi

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Meanwhile, here are the pick of the snaps that I took during my two days at the fest:

Ellen Banda-Aaku, Petina Gappah, Zukiswa Wanner and OndjakiEllen Banda-AakuOndjakiKarabo Kgoleng, Biyi Bandele and Marie DarrieussecqSarah FrostSifiso Mzobe & FriendsMichael ChapmanNjabulo NdebeleCaryl Phillips and Biyi BandeleAzad Essa

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Waving Not Drowning: Writing and the Psyche at the 2011 Time of the Writer

Chiz Boys

Standing in for Amanda Patterson, who was called away from Durban, session chair Petina Gappah asked French writer Marie Darrieussecq and Angolan writer Ondjaki why they choose to write novels. Why that form in particular? Darieussecq answered that she likes the novel because it “opens windows, but does not close them, remaining fundamentally ambiguous”. Ondjaki said he chose it because it was a literary, rather than just a documentary, form. He explained that sometimes his short stories grow into novels.

An Elegy for EasterlyPig TalesThe WhistlerMoving onto the theme of the session, “Painting the Psyche”, Gappah asked the writers about their experiences with psychotherapy. Darrieussecq is a trained psychoanalyst. She said she saw three therapists before she wrote Pig Tales, which “saved my life, and my books”. She said it enabled her to “get rid of family rubbish, and ‘navel gazing’”, and to realise that “other people do exist”. She said for her writing three hours a day is good enough, as she has a husband and three children to see to, and that consulting her patients “cures” her too – in that she has to be there for them, and forget about herself for a while. Ondjaki was more reticent, saying of his experience of therapy, that it had been “very hard”.

Gappah steered the conversation around to the writer’s feelings about intertextuality. Ondjaki said quoting from other authors was “like having dinner with good friends, being in fine company in a tender, not pretentious way”. He explained that the way in which he inserted these quotations in his books was a “balance, a secret game”.

Darrieusecq said that quoting writers she likes was a way of thanking them. She said when she feels depressed, looking at her library of favourite books cheers her up: “they are there, and I love them”.

On the matter of translation, Ondjaki said that countries like Angola and Mozambique need to develop successful language strategies. He asked why they don’t have their own institutes to promote writing in Portuguese. Darrieusecq explained that she is Basque, but writes in French because she can reach a broader audience. Her work is, however, translated into Basque.

Someone from the floor asked the writers about magical realism in their work. Ondjaki said that Angolan reality is filled with magic anyway, so writing about it does not constitute a separate genre. Darieussecq noted that although she was comfortable with her texts being put under the magic realism flag, she did not like genre writer Gabriel García Márquez, who once said French was soon going to be a dead language, a statement with which she vehemently disagreed.

Ondjaki ended the session poetically, explaining that when he writes about his childhood, he “misses it”. He said for him it was at times like drowning, similar to the experience of psychotherapy, and that on those days he cries a lot, but nevertheless manages to write.

Zuma's BastardSahar ElmougyAfter the interval, blogger Azad Essa and Egyptian writer Sahar el Mougy grappled with issues of Muslim identity, guided enthusiastically by Chris van Wyk. Essa, who writes for Al Jazeera in Doha, said that web journalism has led to boundaries becoming blurred, as commentators become participants. Of the recent revolution in Egypt he said when the protesters suffered, so did the journalists. He explained that when social media intersects with mainstream media, new and important stories get told.

El-Mougy, asked to comment on the influence of feminism in her work, said the Egyptian dictatorship had been patriarchal, and that feminist work would only thrive under a democracy. She said she writes to challenge norms, because she sees so many Egyptian women internalising patriarchal discourse, and oppressing their sons and their daughters. Essa read an intriguing piece on women wearing the burqua, from his book Zuma’s Bastard.

Essa said about satire that he thought humour makes things manageable, although there were some things that should not be made fun of, for instance, the Israel-Palestine conflict. He said it was too soon to tell if his satirical approach had succeeded in making the local and global Muslim communities he targeted interrogate their attitudes more deeply.

Simon Manda, Maude SaundersAziz Hassim, Shruti Bhikha, Brian ErikssonIkbal Moosa, Yusuf Moosa, Evrahin EssaMichael Foster, Jill Rayner and Bruce Nxumalo

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Writers on Racism and Sexism at the 2011 Time of the Writer

Andrew Oken, Anthony Ojowe, Mike Mwale, Petina Gappah and Ethel Chingu

Special to the CCA blog by Sarah Frost

An Elegy for EasterlyThe first half of Wednesday night’s Time of the Writer Evening Session was ably chaired by Sarah Nuttall, who asked probing questions that got Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe) and Ellen Banda-Aaku (Zambia) talking in constructive ways. When asked about how she foregrounds character in her short stories, Gappah responded that her collection An Elegy for an Easterly is currently being translated into Tswana, Venda and Shona and that the stories have been given characters’ names as titles. She said for her focusing on character is a way of writing ‘big’ short stories.

Responding to Nuttall’s question of how she writes about ‘the ordinary’, while bringing in the element of the ‘spectacular,’ Gappah explained that she had tried to write ‘the Great Zim novel’ but that it didn’t work. She prefers to tell ordinary stories as a way into the extraordinary. She noted how useful ‘eavesdropping’ is for her, in order to gather new material.

Ellen Banda-Aaku spoke of growing up in Lusaka in Zambia, and of how when Zimbabwean military squads came in and bombed freedom fighters’ houses there, she and her siblings still had to dress and go to school – she reminded the audience that in the midst of political turmoil, ordinary life must go on, emphasising that literature must reflect this.

Nuttall noted that both writers’ texts evince an “ascerbic, even caustic, wit”. Gappah recognises that “the world is a very strange place,” and tries to capture that in her writing. In contrast, Banda-Aaku said she was not even aware that she wrote in such a way.

Gappah is at present unable to write about Zimbabwe. She wrote An Elegy for an Easterly while working as a trade lawyer in Switzerland. She noted that distance gives perspective. She is currently writing a book that she says has “nothing to do with Zimbabwe”. Banda-Aaku said the literary culture in Zambia is quite stagnant. She said a fresh mindset was needed at all education levels. She called for a stronger feminist approach towards writing in order to change patriarchal attitudes.

On the topic of Feminism, Nuttall asked Gappah why she so admires Michelle Obama. Her response was that “she’s a brilliant, stylish woman”. More soberingly, and possibly more substantially, Ellen Banda-Aaku reminded us that Michelle Obama has the benefit of a platform that many equally capable black women do not have. The two writers embraced before Nuttall thanked them for their contributions to what was a fruitful discussion.

Sally Howes, Kerry Cullinan and Sarah Nuttall

Fine Lines from the BoxJohannesburgThe tone was somewhat more elevated after the interval as Karabo Kgoleng invited esteemed academics Professors Njabulo Ndebele and Achille Mbembe to talk about “literature as a country’s conscience”. Ndebele make the solid point that he is “tired of racism”, referring, more specifically, to the furore at the University of the Orange Free State. He argued that the OFS occurrence was not an issue of racism, but one of “how to raise kids to behave properly”.

Kgoleng then asked Ndebele and Mbembe their opinions on a quote from Che Guevara that states “Revolution is inspired by love”. Ndebele said that, for him, love was “a dangerous word, in that it can be both trite, and profound”. He said one should care first for the citizens of one’s country, rather than the political party one belongs to. He called for a system of electoral representation, rather than party representation “so that we can choose excellent leaders”.

Mbembe said he believed the role of the arts is “to testify to that which is emerging, pointing to possibilities of what might be, premised on love and an ethics of care – the belief that each life counts and must be protected against premature unjustified death”. He said we have to learn to close the gap between life and text, and that listening was an important tool for doing this.

Questions from audience members followed the discussion, responding to Kgoleng’s plea to “tweet it, but on the mike”.

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