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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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

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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.

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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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Image courtesy Sahar el Mougy

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