Jozi’s an­ti­dote to all-white fests

CityPress - - Voices - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­press.co.za

In the de­bate around the white­ness of book fes­ti­vals, here is the an­ti­dote: a book fair geared at chil­dren’s literature, lit­er­acy and sto­ry­telling with an ac­cent on black com­mu­ni­ties, ed­u­ca­tion­al­ists and pupils. It also in­cor­po­rates theatre and film fes­ti­vals, jazz con­certs and broad-rang­ing so­ciopo­lit­i­cal de­bates. There’s a whole lot on of­fer next week­end at Wits. Here are just a few of the high­lights that you shouldn’t miss out on: A round ta­ble dis­cus­sion on the cri­sis in our schools. Fri­day at 3pm. Pan­el­lists who are try­ing to find a way for­ward for South African ed­u­ca­tion in­clude Salim Vally, Bulelwa Ndo­dana and Mug­wena Maluleke.

There’s a de­li­cious must-see sto­ry­telling fes­ti­val on Satur­day and Sun­day morn­ings at 9.30am in the Chil­dren’s Tent. Take the kids along to fall in love with South African sto­ry­telling, cour­tesy of Gcina Mh­lope, one of the head­lin­ers of the fair, along with Faith Busika, Bev­erly Ben­ton, Joan Rankin, Zuk­iswa Wan­ner, Hamil­ton Wende and Re­viva Schu­macher.

Meet Penny & Puffy. Satur­day at 10am. Years ago, Zakes Mda and Mpapa Mokhoane wrote a chil­dren’s book called Penny & Puffy. Now they’ve handed the book rights to the fair, which has even cre­ated Penny and Puffy mas­cots. The kids will be en­thralled by a read­ing of the book, which is be­ing re­pub­lished.

Other chil­dren’s events and read­ing de­bates and dis­cus­sions not to miss in­clude:

Read­ing and the State of Li­braries in SA, with Busi Dlamini and Sally Cur­rin, is on Satur­day at 11.50am.

Cuba: Lit­er­acy and Chil­dren’s Literature, Lessons for SA is pre­sented by a head­line guest at this year’s fes­ti­val, En­rique Pérez Diaz, on Satur­day at 1pm. The Cuban au­thor, pub­lisher and chil­dren’s book­store founder is a ge­nius when it comes to kids and read­ing.

Iconic poet Don Mat­tera will be com­mem­o­rat­ing the life of Stephen Bantu Biko on Satur­day at noon.

South Africa’s poet lau­re­ate, Ke­o­rapetse Kgosit­sile, will join play­wright, nov­el­ist and pain­ter Zakes Mda for a dis­cus­sion called Grow­ing an In­dige­nous South African Cul­ture on Sun­day at 3pm.

Mda will also be dis­cussing his jolt­ing rape novel, Rachel’s Blue, on Sun­day at noon. Don’t miss the ir­re­press­ible nov­el­ist Zuk­iswa Wan­ner dis­cussing her African adap­ta­tion of a clas­sic fairy tale for kids, Re­filwe, also on Sun­day at noon, in a dif­fer­ent ses­sion to Mda, and Struan Dou­glas on The Story of Jazz on Sun­day at 2pm. Po­lit­i­cal de­bate abounds at the fair this year. Look out for: Media in SA: Who Owns and Con­trols it? Join Jane Dun­can, Lumko Mtimde and Tawana Kupe for a chat on Satur­day at 12pm.

The Colour of Our Fu­ture: Does Colour or “Race” Mat­ter? One of South Africa’s eter­nal con­ver­sa­tions will be steered by Xolela Mangcu, Joel Net­shitenze and Adam Habib on Satur­day at 4pm.

Young Fe­male Writ­ers and their Chal­lenges is the topic be­ing de­bated by au­thors Futhi Nt­shingila and Zuk­iswa Wan­ner on Sun­day at 1pm.

Phi­los­o­phy for Teens is a great way to en­gage young in­tel­lects, pre­sented by Theresa Giorgza from the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment at Wits Univer­sity. It’s on Sun­day at 10am. The Jozi Book Fair is on from Fri­day, Septem­ber 11, to Sun­day, Septem­ber

13, at the Science Sta­dium, West Cam­pus, Wits Univer­sity, Braam­fontein. The sched­ule is sub­ject to change. Visit joz­i­book­fair.org.za for up­dated info

PHOTO: ADRIAN STEIRN / 21 ICONS

HEADY STUFF Gcina Mh­lope is a head­liner at the Jozi Book Fair

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