My Class Newsletter Online


The countdown to the 8th annual Jozi Book Fair (1-4 September) has begun! In the run up to annual event at Wits University, we will produce a weekly My Class newsletter to give people a glimpse of the programme and to keep them updated on the preparations for the upcoming book fair.

The much-anticipated programme has been revealed and it promises exciting debate, thought-provoking discussions, and memorable poetry, theatre performances and screenings. We will be profiling these various events, and the authors, illustrators, artists, panelists, exhibitors and so on who will be hosting these events.

In this edition, we will give a brief overview of the Programme, the Theme this year (‘Youth Rising’), Hosts and Exhibitors, the Format of the Fair, the Schools’ and Children’s Project, Poetry Forums and Youth Rising in Jazz. We welcome all members of the public to the Fair!

Yours In Solidarity,

Maria Van Driel, Director of the JBF

JBF 2016 Programme Revealed: An Overview and Highlights

There will be a broad, interesting and diverse range of events at this year’s Fair. Exhibitor stalls will be set up, where publishers, NGOs and authors will be selling their books and other related material. Below is a brief overview of the programme, and highlights guaranteed to excite the public.


• 8th Jozi Book Fair: 1-4 September 2016

• School’s Programme: 1-2 September 2016, 08:00 – 14:00

• Children’s programme: 3-4 September 2015, 09 – 14:00

• Spelling Bee: 3 September 2016, 08:30 – 14:00

• JBF Reception: 2 September 2016, 18:30 – By Invitation Only

• Detailed Programme on za

• Inquiries: 011 336 9190 /

This year’s Guests of the Fair

This year’s Guests of the Fair are Carol Mashigo (aka Mohale Mashigo), and Kemang wa Lehulere. Mashigo recently published her first novel, The Yearning, to both a critical and popular reception. Wa Lehulere was a co-founder of the Gugulective in 2006, an artistled collective based in Cape Town. He won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Fine Arts in 2015.

The JBF Patrons

The Patrons of the JBF are author, playwright, composer and painter Zakes Mda, poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile, poet and writer James Matthews and Luli Callinicos, author and historian. The Patrons will be present at the JBF this year, and involved in a number of events. JBF will be republishing and launching the work of Kgositsile and Matthews in a series of books titled ‘Pass On the Word’.

Roundtable discussions

JBF Roundtables are public debate and discussion based events on topical issues in South African society. In line with the JBF’s theme of ‘Youth Rising’, we have debates on ‘#FeesMustFall: What is the future of the SA university?’, where various #FeesMustFall activists will give input, and ‘Youth Rising: Conditions of Youth in SA’,where Statistician General, Phali Lehohla will debate his recent report on vulnerable youths.


Various workshops will be offered for youth and the public related to reading, writing and understanding the world. Topics include: How to blog, social media and new forms of struggle and a workshop on art, which will be facilitated by Guest this year’s Fair, Kemang wa Lehulere.

Book launches and Conversations with authors

There is a wide range of books being launched at the Fair this year, including Marriage has no formula by Naomi Molefe; Thabo Mbeki by Gilbert Khadiagala and Adekeye Adebajo; and Country Bard Blues by Sello Huma. There will also be various conversations and discussion with various authors as well.

Live Jazz

There will be local artists and bands performing live jazz at the Fair, as well as a seminar of jazz in South Africa, its history and influences. Bands performing include Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Arts Jazz Band Foundation and DaniMali Band.

Theatre Programme

The theatre programme over the last few years has aimed to cover a broad and diverse range of productions and this year is no exception. There will a stage reading of Ronnie Govender’s play, Botoo, about an Indian woman doctor, a musical, titled ‘Tembisa’, a performance of Creature, directed by Feeya Asmal, which is a piece using mask work, and Shiwelele, directed by #FeesMustfall student activist, Naledi Chirwa.

Film Screenings

Action Kommandante, a film exploring the life and activism of Ashley Kriel, will be screened with a Q&A session with the director, Nadine Cloete. Tribute to Lauretta Ngcobo, activist and author will also be screened, with a discussion with the filmmaker.


There will be various exhibitions related to the theme of the Fair, including ‘Youth Rising’ by Statistics SA, ‘Photos of 1976’ by the Market Photo Workshop, ‘Architecture in South Africa’, and an exhibition celebrating children’s books illustrator, Joan Rankin’s illustrations.

Theme of the 8th annual Jozi Book Fair

The theme of the 8th Jozi Book Fair (JBF) is ‘Youth Rising’ and it seeks to mobilise youth, whether in school, studying in tertiary institutions, working and/or unemployed, to read and to write in their own languages. The theme also seeks to celebrate the youth.

JBF wants to create a space for youth to engage on their problems and find solutions to them. This year we have a number of youth events that are motivated by intergenerational discussions, giving youth the support they need in their respective paths and the voice to express themselves in all art forms. The theme is relevant in light of the 40th anniversary of the Soweto 1976 Youth Uprising and provides an opportunity to remember, to understand past struggles and to reflect on current struggles.

The theme looks at youth struggles, such as the #FeesMustFall movement that spontaneously spread to many universities across the country at the end of 2015 and inspired protests across the world, and highlighted the continued struggle for free quality education, just conditions of work and an end to outsourcing and social inequality. The theme is relevant also in light of the 2015 Stats SA report on youth which shows the deteriorating state of youth in South Africa. According to the report today’s youth are less skilled than their parents, indicating a bleak future for South Africa’s youth.

This year’s theme seeks to reflect on the work by young authors and artists, to expose youth to all art forms, to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the position of youth in the South African context, and to provide youth with a platform to raise the challenges they face and engage with the possible solutions.

Hosts and Exhibitors

The team would like to thanks the public for their positive response to the call for hosting events and exhibiting. Jozi Book Fair called for the public to apply and host events as a way to create space for debates and discussions. JBF creates a safe space for people to come and engage issues that affect them and host any event that is linked to the written word whether is book launches, poetry, performances, etc. JBF is one of the few book fairs that creates readers from below and about 50% of our events are hosted by the public.

This year we had 46 applicationsto host events, with 85% of the events hosted by exhibitors. NGOs, small publishers, authors, public figures and individuals applied to host events and form 50% of the overall programme. JBF selects the events and tried to accommodate as many events as possible and spread them over the four days of the Fair.

Format of the Jozi Book Fair

The Jozi Book Fair takes place over 4 days (Thursday – Sunday) on 1- 4 September 2016. The first 2 days are solely dedicated to the Schools Programme, and on Saturday and Sunday (3-4 September) the Children’s Programme will take place along with the General Programme for general public. With a large demand from schools we had to extend the Schools Programme to 2 days. Previously we only allowed a certain number of learners to come but extending it to 2 days means more learners are able to come and experience the awesome activities that will take place. The Schools Programme is fixed and only open to schools that the JBF works with.

On Saturday and Sunday from from 9am until 2pm th Children’s Programme will take place, and the General Programme starts with workshops at 9:30am and ends at 5pm. We encourage people to stay on for the jazz that will start in the evening. On Saturday the JBF will host the Spelling Bee. Similarly to last year we will have a film premier of Action Kommandante on Thursday evening which will be hosted jointly with Wits SRC.

This film speaks to the theme ‘Youth Rising’ as it narrates the untold story of the young revolutionary freedom fighter Ashley Kriel who was killed by apartheid security forces. Big and small publishers will be exhibiting and selling their books. The programme has 14 sections and includes workshops, Roundtables, poetry, seminars and panel discussions, literature, book launches, live jazz, theatre and films. On Friday evening JBF will host a reception with live jazz by invitation only.

JBF Schools Projects

While most book fairs only host annual events, Jozi Book Fair (JBF) creates an audience and works with youth between the ages of 13-18 to create and deepen the culture of reading. This age group is JBF’s orientation of youth in school. Most of these youth also form part of the Tshohang Batjha Project. Jozi Book Fair works with 47 schools in the JHB CBD and townships around Johannesburg, like Bophelong, and Tembisa etc. JBF provides these schools with support and works endlessly throughout the year to create readers in the schools.

There are library monitors in the schools that we give support and skills to, who ensure that book clubs in their respective schools run smoothly and that they have books to read in preparation for the Fair. JBF hosts quarterly meetings with library monitors and teachers in these schools to build relations and give books. JBF then invites these schools to attend and participate in the Schools Programme, where they get a chance to meet and engagewith the authors that they have been reading throughout the year. They will get a change to meet authors like Kurt Ellis, Zakes Mda, James Matthews,

Mohale Mashigo and Keorapetse Kgositsile. We take pride in the fact that these learners are able to engage the authors, and ask questions as they prepare throughout the year and read. Some learners are part of the play The Orphans of Qumbu (which will be performed at the Book Fair) and have attended weekly meditation sessions every Saturday. In addition to this, learners will be able to attend workshops.

JBF will have 19 different workshops and they can choose which ones to go to. The workshops range from Reading Buildings & Designing, Intro to photography using cellphones, Writing short stories, Writing a play and other interesting workshops. The learners who entered the Short Story competition will receive their prizes and the book that was produced from these stories will be launched at the Book Fair.

Learners pay R50 each to attend the Schools Programme and this fee covers their lunch and a book for each learner, which is subsidised by Jozi Book Fair.

Children’s Project

Similar to the Schools Project, Jozi Book Fair (JBF) works with children between the ages of 6 and 12 years who fall under the project Poetry Buddies. These children are from 13 OVC’s (Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Centres). JBF offers training to the Coordinators that works with the kids.

With the aim of promoting indigenous languages, the book has been translated into IsiZulu and it will be launched and discussed at the Book Fair by the Poetry Buddies. The Poetry Buddies produces a book annually titled Poetry for Friends published by Khanya Publishing, consisting of poetry and drawings by all the buddies and it will be launched at the JBF.

The Poetry Buddies will also be performing gumboots dancing, poetry, dancing and singing at the JBF. Children who come to the Book Fair will enjoy activities like storytelling, and children’s book launches.JBF takes strict precautions in ensuring that children are safe and enjoy all the activities. The Children’s Programme will take on 3-4 September 2016, from 9am to 2pm at the San Storytelling tent.

Poetry Forums

In our commitment to our orientation towards youth, we hosted monthly poetry forums titled ‘Pass on the Baton, Pass on the Word’ with Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile. The forums were launched on 12 March 2016, and continued until July. In all 5 forums and 2 workshops, poets had a chance to learn from Mr Kgositsile. The aim of these forums was to promote the culture of reading and writing in all languages and art forms and to mobilise youth to actively shape the South Africa we live in.

These forums allowed for intergenerational conversations and were a great success, attracting a great number of youth from different social backgrounds. The large number of poetry applications and poetry events at the fair shows that these poetry forum events have created a footfall.

The poetry at the fair includes book launches and performances and we invite all the lovers of poetry to come and participate in our open mic session.

Youth Rising in Jazz

Jozi Book Fair in partnership with South African Jazz Association (SAZA) launched the monthly Jazz Forums on 30 April 2016 at the House of Movements with Muntu Vilakazi. The Forums aimed at promoting reading in all art forms and to provide a space for youth to engage, perform and appreciate jazz and its origins. The Forum promotes the JBF’s aim to mobilise youth to read and write in all languages, through developing an appreciation of jazz.

The monthly Jazz Forum is a platform for all young people, working and unemployed, to enjoy, perform and appreciate jazz music, its origins, influences and artists in South Africa and internationally. The jazz forums showed that youth do in fact listen to and enjoy jazz. The Jazz will continue at the Jozi Book Fair 2016 as a way of linking the word with other art forms. Lovers of youth are invited to enjoy live jazz on Saturday from 5pm and also discussions around jazz.

Invite to all members of the Public

The public is invited to come and enjoy literature, discussions, theatre, live jazz, films, exhibitions, etc. This is a space for all members of the family, and there is something for everyone. For more information visit www.