New talent joins established voices at SA Book Fair 2019

From debut authors to seasoned scribes - SABF 2019 delivers it all

26 August 2019 - 12:14
By South African Book Fair
Inaugurated in 2017, the South African Book Fair aims to locate books and reading in the daily 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. Inaugurated in 2017, the South African Book Fair aims to locate books and reading in the daily 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.

The 2019 South African Book Fair sees a diverse spread of emerging talent joining established voices for a three-day programme of events brimming with things to do for everyone from pre-schoolers to the most dedicated book lovers.

This commitment to showcasing debut talent brings together an ever-growing group of authors who are not only talented in their respective genres, but for which Pan-African discourse is of paramount importance. This deeply enriches what the fair is offering.

The reclamation of our voices has revolutionised the way we tell #OURSTORIES, the thread for SA Book Fair 2019.

This year’s programme showcases what is possible if we are courageous enough to lead the change, and the fair’s newer authors will have visitors moving from one session to the next in anticipation of riveting and relevant engagements.

The fair opens with three powerful new female voices. Letshego Zulu lost her husband, racing driver Gugu Zulu, on Mount Kilimanjaro. Gabi Lowe is the author of Get Me To 21, which recounts her daughter Jenna's dream to live to the age of 21. Ndileka Mandela is the eldest granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, a role that came with a lifetime of challenges and expectations.

With reclamation comes repatriation and Phehello Mofokeng, Lorato Trok and Tuelo Gabonewe will be paying homage, in a conversation led by Sabata-Mpho Mokae, to their love of Setswana and rehoming the classics. 

Dr Gcina Mhlophe will lead the debut poetry talent featured on a very special tour of Constitution Hill on Saturday. From the austere halls of the women's jail to the Anglo-Boer war era fort, the stark concrete of the men's jail, where many apartheid activists were incarcerated, and the symbolic architecture of the modern Constitutional Court, where the battle for freedom continues, the tour includes moving performances by Tshepo Molefe and Fumane Ntlhabane along the way.

In celebrating The International Year Of Mother Tongue, Mhlophe leads a discussion on multilingualism while Zanele Ndlovu and Lebohang Masango, to name a few, will be showcasing much loved ancient folktales serenaded by indigenous musical instruments. The ever-popular Melusi Tshabalala is also back,  this time offering isiZulu for beginners.

Rekgotsofetse Chikane and Lerato Mogoatlhe will share their insights on Africa at her finest.

The archive of #OURSTORIES is important. In pursuit of this, Melinda Ferguson will offer a writing workshop, and we reimagine a new Africa with Rekgotsofetse Chikane, Hlumelo Biko and Gaongalelwe Tiro.

The influence of kwaito music on the youth of the 1990s, and its ripple effects on today’s youth, will be unpacked by Sihle Mthembu in a conversation with Carsten Rasch and Steven Sidley through a tell-all session.

In true African fashion, a celebration without sharing a plate is not a celebration, and the 2019 fair includes plenty of culinary excellence. Mogau Seshoene, of the beloved “Lazy Makoti”, will celebrate her birthday with the public in a live demonstration, while Lebo and Tebo Ndala will share their love of food through stories about their cooking. Lesego Semenya, affectionately known as @LesDaChef, will take us on a snob-free food journey through his debut cookbook, Dijo.

Pictures worth 1,000 words: Mogau Kekana makes his debut at the fair in a carefully curated segment just for illustrators, and a first of its kind in book fairs across South Africa. Showcasing their works alongside Kekana will be Toby Newsome and Nathi Ngubane. South Africa’s rock stars of the Khwezi series, Clyde Beech and Loyiso Mkize, will be featured in this installation.

#FeesMustFall is still the reality many students. Wandile Ngcaweni, Sarah Mokwebo and Rekgotsofetse Chikane, together with Adam Habib, will bring views from both students and administrators to the fore.

Law and order are the stability which all nations require. The fight for justice in South Africa, then and now, will be explored by Peter Storey, Charles Abrahams and Michelle le Roux, with Tembeka Ngcukaitobi leading the pack.

What is black tax? Join Niq Mhlongo and his fellow panellists as they unpack this phenomenon and its cultural spiritual and ancestral implications.

Our own voices that have taken the continent by storm and sharing pieces of their reality with the glare on patriarchy, gendering, dispossession and migritude, will be Eva Mazza, Jackie Phamotse, Keletso Mopai, Kelly–Eve Koopman, Makanaka Mavengere–Munsaka, Jolyn Phillips and Remy Ngamije.

A nation which doesn’t introspect is not a winning nation. Lesego Tlhabi, AKA Coconut Kels, will be sharing the stage with Sihle Khumalo, not only poking holes at this rainbow nation but highlighting the factors which still make South Africa “a good story to tell”.

Zanele Dlamini, Dudu Busani–Dube and Stacey Fru are familiar staples on the South African Book Fair platform. This time, they will be making their debut as facilitators at the specially curated schools’ programme, motivating and inspiring the learners to not only do their bes,t but be their best too. Alongside them will be Jessica Powers of This Thing Called The Future, Sello Mahapeletsa, Vovo Ndubele of Miracle Girl, Xolisa Guzula of Halala Winner and Sifiso Mzobe of the isiZulu translation of Shadow Chasers.

What is with sex? A lot - and Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng will take us through the importance of destigmatisation of sex and women’s bodies through her frank approach to taboos.

No book fair should ever end without celebrating its people. The Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Cafe boasts seasoned poets and unveils a growing crop of young poets whose words are not only piercing but are an indication of a global society whose first point of call is preservation of humanity.

#HearMyVoice is unleashing a spirited crop of African and international debut talent at the fair, including Sabelo Soko, Upile Chisala, Vangile Gantsho, Quarz Roodt, Elisabeth Asbrink, Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta, Lee Mokobe, Fumane Tlhabane and Tshepo Molefe. They are also bringing the mesmerising Jamaican – Canadian d’bi young, who will not only share the stage South African and continental talent, but will also be launching her new collection of poetry at the fair. All these will keep you satiated in rhyme and verse.

Tickets can be purchased via WebTickets