Storytelling and poetry powerful drawcards at 2019 South African Book Fair

29 August 2019 - 12:32 By South African Book Fair
Established in 2017, the SA Book Fair aims to bring books and reading into 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.
Established in 2017, the SA Book Fair aims to bring books and reading into 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

In keeping with its vision to be South Africa’s most inclusive book fair, the South African Book Fair is jam-packed with compelling storytelling and poetry offerings for visitors from all walks of life, and of all ages.

As part of its plentiful events for younger readers, this year’s fair hosts Zulu storyteller Zanele Ndlovu who brings ancient tales to life with the strings of her indigenous music instruments. Titled Umakhwenyana, this celebration of our heritage for children of all ages has two performances in the Magic Tent on Saturday, September 7.

Another highlight is Refiloe Moahloli reading from her latest children's book, Yes Yanga! in English, isiXhosa and isiZulu on both Saturday (4pm) and Sunday (11.30am). Activist and poet, Gcina Mhlope’s Stories of Africa is also an unmissable multilingual storytelling session that deepens our understanding of history, and encourages children to read.

Those who like their science delivered in an entertaining way will not want to miss Dance of the Dung Beetles (Saturday), which has been a sell-out success at several other festivals. This riveting show sees scientist Marcus Lunn and writer Helen Lunn bring to life the mysterious lives of dung beetles through 3000 years of history and mythology.

Poetry comes movingly into focus on Saturday when fair visitors are invited to join Mhlope in an exploration of Constitution Hill and its harrowing history – from the austere halls of the Women's Jail to the Anglo-Boer War era fort, the stark concrete of the Men's Jail and the symbolic architecture of the modern Constitutional Court, where the battle for freedom continues. The tour features moving performances by South African poets along the way, turning this into an unmissable event for visitors who want to explore the nexus between history and poetry with one of the country’s foremost storytellers.

The centrepiece of South African Book Fair’s poetry offerings is Hear My Voice – a performance poetry evening on Saturday (6pm) dedicated to the legendary Keorapetse Kgositsile. Southern African stars Vangi Gantsho, Lee Mokobe, Upile Chisala and Sabelo Soko team up with international sensation d'bi.young for an unforgettable experience.

As of 2018, the SABF has celebrated the life of the late Professor Kgositsile – affectionately known as Bra Willie – with a mix of multigenerational and multilingual voices. In 2019, the poetry café continues to honour this celebrated arts intellectual by presenting a feast for lovers of the spoken word.

These are just some of the storytelling and poetry offerings at the fair that are bringing #OURSTORIES to life and inspiring a reading revolution for all South Africans. For more details go to https://www.southafricanbookfair.co.za.


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