Kimberley, home to South African literary greats like Sol T Plaatje and Ingrid Jonker, seeks to rekindle its place in the history of South African literature by hosting an annual Book Fair aligned with the global Banned Books Week. Boasting an impressive 2-day programme, the fair’s organizers have secured an eclectic list of literary movers and shakers to mark the occasion. Confirmed guests include formidable publishers Rose Francis and Duduzile Mabaso, poetry royalty Mak Manaka, Poet Flow and Lesego Rampolokeng, Sol Plaatje scholar and award-winning writer Sabata Mpho Mokae, Sesotho writer Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, Sarah Godsell to name a few.
Hosted by the Earth Art Writers Guild, Kimberley Book Fair will take place at the Sol Plaatje University from September 30 until October 1. It is a first for the city and the province and should become an anticipated fixture on the South African literary landscape as it becomes more diverse and representative.
“We have decided to support the inaugural Kimberley Book Fair because of the impact it will have, not only on the arts and culture scene in the city, but also because of the positive benefits it will have on the economic development for that specific industry as well as the significant impact it will have on tourism in the Sol Plaatje Municipality, locally, as well as the rest of the province.” says Sello Matsie, Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson.
“From a tourism perspective, the Kimberley Book Fair presents a unique opportunity for lovers of stories to travel to our beautiful province to enjoy literature, the rich history and soak in some local culture – this province is really a hidden gem!” adds Northern Cape Tourism GM Peter Mckuchane; GM: Business, Tourism and Events.
Banned Books Week is an international campaign based in the USA, that mobilises libraries and public events around the issues of censorship and freedom of expression in literature. The Kimberley Book Fair will highlight these issues from an African perspective rooted in South Africa’s history of censorship.
Besides giving exposure to Northern Cape creative professionals and the unique heritage of the Northern Cape, KBF will serve as a vital mouthpiece for authors who are being silenced elsewhere.
Acclaimed author, Abdullah al Wesali from Saudi Arabia, will be the keynote speaker. Fiction writer Wesali’s 2009 book “One Foot of Thickness” was banned in his home country.
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