Pow­er­ful per­son­al­i­ties for Abantu

Top au­thor to open book fest

Sowetan - - News - By Em­manuel Tjiya

Ac­claimed Nige­rian au­thor Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie will head­line the 3rd an­nual Abantu Book Fes­ti­val in Soweto fresh from her vi­ral con­ver­sa­tion with for­mer US first lady Michelle Obama at the week­end.

The 41-year-old that has writ­ten nov­els such as Pur­ple Hibis­cus, Half of a Yel­low Sun and Amer­i­canah will make her ap­pear­ance this af­ter­noon as the fes­ti­val kicks into high gear at the Eyethu Lifestyle Cen­tre in Mo­folo Cen­tral.

Her one-hour panel dis­cus­sion with gen­der ac­tivist and award-win­ning au­thor Pumla Di­neo Gqola will take place be­tween 1 and 2pm.

The fes­ti­val kicked off last night in style at Soweto Theatre in Jab­u­lani and will run un­til Sun­day with a mu­sic concert. Per­for­mance poet Lebo Mashile last night was the host with an ad­dress by Dr Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and mu­si­cal per­for­mance by Zuko Col­lec­tive. Since its in­cep­tion on 2016 the fes­ti­val has quickly es­tab­lished it­self a plat­form that pro­motes black lit­er­ary artists in Africa.

“The Abuntu Book Fes­ti­val has be­come a cul­tural gath­er­ing for its par­tic­i­pants, cu­rated in the town­ship of Soweto with the pur­pose of show­cas­ing Africa’s tal­ented lit­er­ary artists across var­i­ous gen­res,” founder and di­rec­tor Thando Mgqolozana ex­plained.

“It pro­vides a plat­form to cap­ture and cel­e­brate the art of lit­er­a­ture, and is fast be­com­ing an event high­light for African writ­ers and those read­ers who value this form of artis­tic ex­pres­sion and the power of the writ­ten word.”

Al­though the fes­ti­val’s core fo­cus is on nov­els, it also caters for po­etry per­for­mances, mu­si­cal acts and film screenings.

There are also work­shops and panel dis­cus­sions on writ­ing and pub­lish­ing.

The line-up this year in­cludes Kag­iso Le­sego Mo­lope, Helon Ha­bila, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Noz­izwe Jele, Fred Khu­malo, Jolyn Phillips and Le­bo­hang Masango.

En­try at Eyethu Lifestyle Cen­tre is free, while evening sched­ules at Soweto Theatre cost R20 per pro­gramme.

/ YUI MOK/PA IM­AGES VIA GETTY

Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie, right, will be in Soweto to­day af­ter be­ing with Michelle Obama in Lon­don for the for­mer US first lady’s mem­oir ‘Be­com­ing Michelle’.

Lebo Mashile

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