The home of South African literary greats like Sol T Plaatje and Ingrid Jonker, Kimberley will host it’s first ever book fair this weekend.
The inaugural Kimberley Book Fair will host a 2-day programme aligned with the global Banned Books Week.
Confirmed guests include formidable publishers Rose Francis of African Perspectives and Duduzile Mabaso of Black Letter Media, poetry royalty Mak Manaka, Poet Flow and Lesego Rampolokeng, Sol Plaatje scholar and award-winning writer Sabata Mpho Mokae, Sesotho writer Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, Sarah Godsell to name a few.
“We have decided to support the inaugural Kimberley Book Fair because of the impact it will have, not only on the arts and culture scene in the city, but also because of the positive benefits it will have on the economic development for that specific industry as well as the significant impact it will have on tourism in the Sol Plaatje Municipality, locally, as well as the rest of the province.” says Sello Matsie, Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson.
“From a tourism perspective, the Kimberley Book Fair presents a unique opportunity for lovers of stories to travel to our beautiful province to enjoy literature, the rich history and soak in some local culture – this province is really a hidden gem!” adds Northern Cape Tourism GM Peter Mckuchane; GM: Business, Tourism and Events.
Banned Books Week is an international campaign based in the USA, that mobilises libraries and public events around the issues of censorship and freedom of expression in literature. The Kimberley Book Fair will highlight these issues from an African perspective rooted in South Africa’s history of censorship.
Besides giving exposure to Northern Cape creative professionals and the unique heritage of the Northern Cape, KBF will serve as a vital mouthpiece for authors who are being silenced elsewhere.
“Our objective is to give suppressed voices and authors who have been banned in parts of the world, a platform for expression. In this day of “freedom of expression”, you’d be surprised how many writers and thinkers are still suppressed, whether by governments or by subtle erasure in the media and society. ” says publisher and organizer Ricky Groenewald.
Acclaimed author, Abdullah al Wesali from Saudi Arabia, will be the keynote speaker. Fiction writer Wesali’s 2009 book “One Foot of Thickness” was banned in his home country.
Kimberley residents are urged to attend the Kimberley Book Fair to mingle with writers and participate in some exciting discussions around igniting the culture of reading in the community. Local poets will have the platform to perform their poetry and collaborate with poets from other parts of the country. Aspirant writers in need of publishing and writing advice have been catered for through a series of creative writing workshops that will take place on the 30th September at Sol Plaatje University.
“We are grateful to the many sponsors who bought into our vision of stimulating literary culture in the Northern Cape – we anticipate that will be the beginning of exciting things in Kimberley! We’d like to inspire residents to start book clubs, have lively discussions about stories and hopefully, nurture the next generation of writers!” Concludes Groenewald.
The Kimberley Book Fair is hosted by the Earth Art Writers Guild at the Sol Plaatje University from September 30 until October 1.
images sourced from the Kimberley Book Fair Facebook page. *image by Flo Mokale.