Constitution Hill to reverberate with controversial topics at 2019 South African Book Fair

The programme is filled with rich content for all ages and interests - get your tickets ASAP!

26 July 2019 - 13:03 By South African Book Fair
Inaugurated in 2017, the South African Book Fair aims to locate books and reading in the everyday lives of South Africans through a fair that has relevance for all citizens, is accessible and engages audiences who ordinarily do not form part of mainstream book-industry events.
Inaugurated in 2017, the South African Book Fair aims to locate books and reading in the everyday lives of South Africans through a fair that has relevance for all citizens, is accessible and engages audiences who ordinarily do not form part of mainstream book-industry events.
Image: SA Book Fair

The 2019 South African Book Fair programme uses newly released books, accomplished and debut authors, and expert facilitators to stimulate riveting and controversial discussions on topical issues facing the country and the continent – and tell #OURSTORIES.

The fair is a three-day national industry platform to exhibit and showcase the book industry and its ancillary services, in a way that is reflective and representative of South African and African literary culture. 

Fittingly, this year sees the debates take place at Constitution Hill, home of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, which this week stimulated spirited discussion countrywide following a judgment that brings into sharp focus the role of independent state institutions in SA.

Among the highlights of the carefully curated programme is Rebels, Rage and Revolution (Sunday, 10am). This panel discussion will see Wandile Ngcaweni and Sarah Mokwebo, the editors of a collection of essays by the students behind the Fees Must Fall movement, debate its meaning with the then-chancellor of Wits University, Adam Habib, and Oxford scholar Rekgotsofetse Chikane, who have both published books on the subject.

Another unmissable session is Black Tax and its Discontents (Sunday, 2.30pm). The ubiquitous Niq Mhlongo, superstar writer Dudu Busani Dube and publisher-at-large Phehello Mofokeng will take a close look at how history keeps a whole generation in debt.

Visitors to the fair can also expect riveting dialogue in Africa Reimagined (Saturday, 4pm), in which a new generation of political scholars and activists will discuss the reimagining of African identity, the myths of the rainbow nation and the truth about democracy. Rekgotsofetse Chikane, Gaongalelwe Tiro and Hlumelo Biko will be among those participating.

Other highlights include Land of Our Ancestors (Saturday, 1pm), in which Botlhale Tema will relate the history of her family and their struggle for co-ownership of Pilanesberg National Park, their ancestral home. She will be joined by Prof Ben Cousins, who has written extensively on land policy and how it can alleviate poverty.

Lawfare - The Fight for Justice in SA, Then and Now (Sunday, 10am) is an important session for those with an interest in the intersection between law and human rights. Class-action human rights lawyer Charles Abrahams and international legal expert Michelle le Roux, the co-author of Lawfare: Judging Politics in South Africa, will discuss how courtrooms sit at the forefront of the fight for justice. They will be joined by retired bishop and revered activist Peter Storey in a session that takes place in close proximity to the Constitutional Court, currently the site of “lawfare” that affects every citizen of the country.

These are just some of the many highlights of a programme featuring more than 100 authors, poets, storytellers and facilitators across nearly 30 panel discussions, debates and more.

Quick facts about the South African Book Fair 2019:

  • The South African Book Fair takes place from September 6 to 8 2019 at Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

  • The programme is based on #OURSTORIES that distinctively showcase the power of books and reading to nurture positive growth and transformation in South Africa. A mix of activities, exhibitions, performances, panel discussions and sessions come together with great food, coffee and entertainment for the whole family.

  • The South African Book Fair is hosted by the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), in association with the Fibre, Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) Seta.

Tickets are available via Webtickets. 


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