After much hard work, and excitement the 9th Jozi Book Fair is underway. The JBF is thrilled with the progress that we are making especially with our school youth, Tsohang Batjha (school youth) and the Poetry Buddies (children). The participants to the school programme, not only increased, but they include schools for people with special needs. We could tell from the kinds of questions to authors – especially the school authors – that people are also busy writing.
For instance, the questions now tend to focus on how to become a good writer, how to develop your characters. This year we held two Spelling Bee Competitions – one for school youth and another for the orphan and vulnerable centres. Congratulations to our winners, City Kids and Thlokomelo OVC. There have been so many highlights of the fair already: the 2017 School Youth have launched their book, Unbreakable and other stories – the women in our lives with the schools and the public on Saturday. The two guests, Kopano Matlwa and Statistician General, Pali Lehohla, were visibly moved by the progress that the youth have made.
It is always wonderful to see our Legends – activists artist plying their craft. Varying discussions have already taken place on white monopoly capitalism, worker unity, conversation with Guests Kopano Matlwa and poetry with Koleka Putuma and Guest, Shailja Patel. The JBF’s new venue, Mary Fitzgerald, has also proven to be great. It’s accessible and central, in the heart of the city, and large enough to cater for many people comfortably. All our workshops, conversations and films were easily accessible to the public. Public participation at the fair has been steady and indicates the organic growth of the JBF as it organizes a movement of readers and writers. One more day to get to the fair.
With Best Wishes,
• Performance: Shailja Patel. Time: 13:30 – 13:50. Venue: MF Brenda Fassie Tent
• School’s Programme: 1-2 September 2016, 08:00 – 14:00
• Roundtable: Crisis of Feminism: Lindsey Collen, Keitumetse Fatimata Moutloatse and Mamaase Mokoena. Time: 16:00 – 17:00. Venue: MF Penny and Puffy Children’s Tent
• Book Launch: #Feesmustfall 3 books: Leigh – Ann Naidoo, Oliver Meth & Crispen Chungo. Moderator: Barbara Boswell: Time: 11:00 – 11:50. Venue: MF Brenda Fassie Tent
• Books Selling Like Hot Cakes: Books at the Jozi Book Fair are sold at ridiculous low prices, Coconut, Spilt Milk and Period Pains by Kopano Matlwa are sold at R80 and Migritude by Shailja Patel also sold for R80.
JOZI BOOK FAIR 2017 FESTIVAL
The 9th Jozi Book Fair kicked off with a BANG! A literary event that brings together young authors and legendaries in one space, for free. Here are some of the highlights. It’s all about the WORD!
SHAILJA PATEL LEAVES AUDIENCE IN AWE –by Busisiwe Themba
Award winning poet and Guest of the Jozi Book Fair 2017, held the audience in rapt attention on Saturday, 2 September when she performed some of her poems. Among other poems Patel performed ‘Shilling Love’, a poem that left those in attendance emotional and speechless. The highlight was when she read one of her poems called “Migritude”.
The poem is a journey in movements. It brings together family history and monologues of violence, colonisation and love in order to create a beautiful portrait of women’s lives and migrant journeys undertaken. The audience were provided the opportunity to engage with Shailja and they used it to their full potential. Known for her political activism, Patel engaged the audience about the state of Kenya, where she is based. Kenya’s Supreme Court invalidated the result of last month’s contentious presidential election and ordered a new vote. This is the first time in Africa that a court has nullified the vote of a sitting leader. In the last three years since she’s been home in Kenya, she’s been seeing an increasing escalation of shrinking of space.
“As a writer in a struggle, I think people should tell their own stories as they are the ones facing that certain situation. They are the ones who know and understand it much better than anyone else could,” she said.
THE YEARNING AT THE FAIR – by Zanele Nomdikinya
Visitors to the Fair were filled with yearning to hear from authors, and feast in all activities. Author, Carol Mashigo, was no different. She brought her own Yearning to the Fair and left the children wanting for more. Mohale published her first novel, The Yearning, under her pen name Mohale Mashigo.
Mashigo also had a writing workshop at the Fair and it was soulful and exciting. She spoke of stories of the hardships she faced as a writer, from writing as a black woman to getting published. “As a woman I got interest in writing, and writing about women. I encourage you to write, especiallywomen, write,” she said. Mashigo encouraged young women to fight to get what they need and urged them not to quit, regardless of challenges they might face.
Mashigo continued by addressing the struggles of publishing and rejection, things that diminish most upcoming writers spirits.Students posed a lot of questions which made the workshop interesting and engaging. Sisanda Mbele from Metropolitan College had nothing but praise. “Listening to Carol I learned a lot of things, about storytelling and writing. It was a great workshop, and I’m glad I attended.”
Mashigo is currently busy with her next book.
POETRY WITH LEGENDS, DIANA FERRUS AND JAMES MATTHEWS – by Tshepo Matoko
South African authors Diana Ferrus, born on 29 August 1953, and James Matthews born on 29 May 1929, are both poets, writers and publishers. Ferrus and Matthews engaged with pupils on poetry on both Thursday and Friday. The session was divided into two groups. Ferrus engaged with pupils that are 15 years and older and Matthews was with the younger ones.
Both the facilitators started the session by introducing themselves to the pupils and explaining what is poetry, the young pupils were instructed to come up with a sentence that will make them write a poem as a group, “I am in love with words so I write poetry” said one pupil as he volunteered to start with the first line. Matthews said “writing a poem is not for a sleep” as he was guiding the pupils on writing a poem line by line. Nyeleti, a 10-year-old pupil from Basa Tutorial Institute said she was overwhelmed by the session. “The session was more than I expected, I learned a lot from it’’. 6. How to write a short story with Lindsey Collen By Tshepo Matoko & Malena Phake
HOW TO WRITE A SHORT STORY WITH LINDSEY COLLEN
Writer and an activist Lindsey Collen had a session in the Penny and Puffy Children’s Tent on the 1 September 2017. Collen was born and grew up in South Africa but resides in Mauritius. She is known for her work that she writes, and has written seven books. Many books that she wrote have been translated in many different languages like German, Turkish, French, and Dutch. This is Collen’s 2nd Jozi Book Fair that she has attended.
In line with the Jozi Book Fair theme, Women and Literature, Collen engaged with learners but especially girl children. She introduced the topic of her session which was What is writing and how to write a short story. Lindsey explained to pupils that writing a short story is tapping into your own capacity. “When you write a short story it begins as a dream then you can turn it into the article. You need to be faithful to it and do not change it”, she added.
Collen, who has been writing for more than 30 years, gave learners a task to write a short story. At first, she gave each of them words such as memory so they could write based on them. She said memories are some of the stories that one can write about and make a good short story out of it. Collen also stressed the importance of a notebook. “You need to have a notebook where you keep on writing your short stories and ideas that keep on coming up in your mind.” She encouraged the learners that when they start writing, they should just continue and it will just flow.
Writer and an activist Lindsey Collen had a session in the Penny and Puffy Children’s Tent on the 1 September 2017. Collen was born and grew up in South Africa but resides in Mauritius. She is known for her work that she writes, and has written seven books. Many books that she wrote have been translated in many different languages like German, Turkish, French, and Dutch. This is Collen’s 2nd Jozi Book Fair that she has attended. In line with the Jozi Book Fair theme, Women and Literature, Collen engaged with learners but especially girl children.
She introduced the topic of her session which was What is writing and how to write a short story. Lindsey explained to pupils that writing a short story is tapping into your own capacity. “When you write a short story it begins as a dream then you can turn it into the article. You need to be faithful to it and do not change it”, she added. Collen, who has been writing for more than 30 years, gave learners a task to write a short story. At first, she gave each of them words such as memory so they could write based on them.
She said memories are some of the stories that one can write about and make a good short story out of it. Collen also stressed the importance of a notebook. “You need to have a notebook where you keep on writing your short stories and ideas that keep on coming up in your mind.” She encouraged the learners that when they start writing, they should just continue and it will just flow.
“I’VE COME TO TAKE YOU HOME” EXCITES SCHOOL LEARNERS – by Busisiwe Themba
It was an exciting session where students of different age groups were there to learn about writing a book and about reading poems. They were inspired by author Diana Ferrus, and this was an experience that they never expected they could get. They were taught about poems and even got a chance to play a game where they say a name and then make a poem out of that name. It was funny and they all enjoyed it so much but it was also a lesson too.
Diana Ferrus is the author of the book titled I’ve come to take you home and many other books. She explained that the book was a collection of a poems dealing with the identity of a woman, and dealing with issues such as violence and love. “It has been an effort that started many years ago and I have written over a 100 poems”, she said.
The session gave the children hope not to give up in whatever they want out of life. It gave them the chance to see things in a different perspective, and how to be able to express their feelings through writing. They also got a chance to write poems about anything that they wanted to write about. “It gives us an experience of a life time”, said Tinyiko.
YOU HAVE WRITTEN? THEN WHAT? – by Esther Mathibela
One of the sessions at the Jozi Book Fair was How to get your story published, which was facilitated by Neilwe Mashigo, who works with marketing and publishing at Jacana Publishing. This session was attended by pupils from different schools, together with their teachers.It was interesting to see how passionate pupils are about writing.
Mashigo explained to the pupils how easy it can be to publish a book. She said “it is always important to start small, one need not to force to quickly finish a book, but one can set up time for themselves each day to write”. She gave an example that 300 words per day on a continuous basis can be enough until they reach the number of pages that they need to have.
Children were also taught that they first need to figure out what type of story they are interested in writing, and also that they need to know how many pages they want to write as well as the size that they want their book to be. She said there are different types of books like fiction, non-fiction and children books.
TSOHANG BATJHA PERFORM ICONIC PLAYS AT THE FAIR – by Bongani Dludla
Who would have thought that children as young as 14 years old can perform such iconic plays so beautifully. Tsohang Batjha youth have performed and will perform for the last time on Sunday at 12pm (Workers Museum) iconic plays at the Festival, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead and The Island, and a devised work taking poems from For Colored Girls and artist Mazwi Mdima titled Two Black Girls.
Learners attending the Festival were left hopeful when they saw peers their age in action.Sizwe Bansi is Dead was written by Athol Fugard and co-authored by John Kani and Winston Ntshona, the two actors appear in the play as Styles and Sizwe Bansi. The play provides a view into the social and political racism experienced by black South Africans in the 1970s.
The play explores the themes of identity, self-worth, racism and suppression. The cast is Prince Makhumisane, 14 (as Styles) and S’bahle Mbuli, 14 (as Sizwe/Robert). The Island is another play written by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. The drama is set on Robben Island. The play focuses on two cell mates who endure hard labour in prison. The cast is Welcome Ndlovu, 14, (as Winston) and Mandlenkosi Ncube, 14 (as John).
In line with the JBF theme, Women and Literature, two TB members will explore the lives and struggles of women, and particularly gender based violence against women. The cast is Princess Makhumisane 14, and Dimpho Mmako, 14. All of the learners performing are rgom New Model College.
IS SOCIAL MEDIA COOL? – by Bongani Dludla
Social Media has taken many by storm, from children, adults to corporates. Everyone is either on Twitter, Facebook, Whatsap, Instagram, WeChat, etc. Learners at the Jozi Book Fair were no different. Banele asked the big question, is Social Media Cool? And almost all learners attending the session answered, yes!
A learner from IH Harris said social media is cool because “most people use it to access information and it’s easy to communicate.” Banele explained the benefits of social media and dangers. “People use social media differently, one person have different accounts, which is something questionable.”
Banele Lukhele said some people were robbed, killed, raped and used as a sex slaves through social media. A number of South Africans have been scammed by people who use fake social media accounts.Learners were warned of the dangers of posting everything they do on social media, as it’s a way of informing people of your whereabouts and about your life, which can be a dangerous exercise because a person is putting themselves out there even to the wrong people.
Today and tomorrow you can use your social media by adding these # tags on your post about everything literary. #Jozibookfair #jozi2017 #jozi17 #womenandliterature
DANCE MEDITATION – by Paulina Sibanda
This was an exciting event which showed the importance of school children visiting the various Museums to learn more about many different topics in order to know what is happenning around them, and how it came to be. In this session they were learning more about Dance Meditation. Dance meditation is a kind of meditation which uses rhythm and attentiveness, which is typical of the qualities of most forms of meditation and dance. Even for dance which is recreational rather than meditation.
Any kind of dance can be meditation but it consists of dance in which one uses music, but also the type of classification of sacred dancing whereby one will feel the music deep inside of one’s soul or mind. In that way one will be able to explore and express one’s identity and soul. This dance is part of visual and religious dance. It helps to relieve the mind from certain things that can lead to unnecessary stress and is a part of virtually all religions.
This dance is a means of self discovery and a means of expression. Many have said this dance communicates but this does not mean one understands what they are doing when they dance.
It also helps in terms of stress, because one become relieved rather than thinking too much. When you dance you have to go through the guidelines in order to be focused in what you are going to do. Concentration is the best key in meditation because it helps you relax.
One should never meditate to a piont of mental-strain or boredom because they will find nothing interesting. Enjoy what you do. Enjoy every aspect of your life. But not so difficult if you concentrate you will feel from your inner Self. Make an effort to meditate a little longer at least once a week, maybe for one to three hours. Once a week will not kill you!
WITS CITIZENSHIP AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH SPELLING BEE COMPETITION – by Dorothy Mabelebele
In partnership with Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO), the 9th annual Jozi Book Fair hosted the popular Spelling Bee Competition. The competition saw the participation of 100 kids from 20 schools from the inner city. Many pupils from different schools entered the competition as a way to help them improve their grammar and to enhance their vocabulary.
An exciting feature this year was the attendance of deaf learners, invited by WCCO to learn about and see what other learners are doing. WCCO said that they look to invite deaf schools in future for the Spelling Bee Competition. Pupils were excited to attend the competition as they participated during the warm up of the competition. WCCO made it fun for the pupils as they introduced games to take out the nervousness out of them.
According to the teachers they were happy with the whole process of the competition. Writer and Activist Lindsey Collen together with Maria Van Driel, director of the Jozi Book Fair handed out prizes to the learners. 1st prize was taken by Enhle Maqukanya from the City Kids, 2nd prize was taken by Nomthandazo Manga from New Model Private College and 3rd prize was taken by Bathandwa Rubushu from Sagewood. WCCO thanked everyone who participated and the Jozi Book Fair for the space they gave them.
OVC TAKES HOME ALL THE AWARDS – by Baongani Dludla
The children’s programme was jam-packed with loads of interesting and fun activities aimed to showcase the kids talents. Some of those activities include: storytelling, poetry performances, drama presentations, dances, speech giving, singing and other fun activities like the puppet show and face painting.Another major focus of the children’s program is the OVCs spelling bee competition. This competition was open to all the OVCs that the JBF works with.
Each of the 13 Orphan and Vulnerable Children Centres (OVCs) had 7 kids in their team representing them. The words for the competition has been culled from the books the children have read over the past few months such as Penny and Puffy, Little Troll’s Tail, Zwai and The Little Creatures and so on. The competition was not only fierce but also fun packed with lots of fun exercises and activities. Tlhokomelo Drop OVC took 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. 1st prize went to Simphiwe Shabangu, 2nd prize went to Rathabile Khumalo and 3rd price went to Neo Lehleka.
KOLEKA PUTUMA ON STAGE – by Tshepo Matoko
Koleka Putuma, who just launched her book “Collective Amnesia” early this year, was at the Jozi Book Fair on 2 September reciting her poems from her latest work. The 24-year-old was born in Port Elizabeth but grew up in Cape town, and is a poet, writer and a perfomer. The 2014 national poetry slam championship winner and 2016 PEN SA student writing prize said most of her writing is related to her life and people around her like family. She explained that it was not easy at first to write about her family’s lifestyle, but was happy after is she heard her mother say the book made her realise who she is. “The book helped me bring back the connection I had with my mother before I left University.”
BATJHA KAOFELA BOOK LAUNCH – by Thembelani Mtimbe
The Fair saw the launch of the book Batjha Kaofela: Unbreakable – Women in our lives, an anthology of short stories from 10 authors between the ages of 13-17. The theme, Women in our lives, coincides with the Jozi Book Fair 2017 theme Women and Literature. Learners were encouraged to write according to the theme or any topic of their choice. All stories were submitted to the Tsohang Batjha Short Story Competition from schools and Orphan and Vulnerable Centres. The initiative, in its second year, received more than 120 entries. Present also at the launch were 8 of the of the 10 authors that wowed the judges with their stories, Guest of the Fair Kopano Matlwa, Diana Ferrus, Pali Lehohla and Mohale Mashigo.
Director of the Fair, Maria Van Driel, said the competition is to motivate school youth to develop the culture of writing. “The aim of the competition is to deepen the cuture of reading and writing. Children have so much talent that needs to be discovered and nurtured. We need to identifyand groom authors while they are still young.”
OXFAM SEMINAR – by Matsobane Ntsoane
Many people were eagerly waiting for the session to start and attended in numbers. Christa Kuljian attended the session about Darwin’s hunch and the decolonisation of the sciences. One important message was to question the history of the sciences of human origins. Scientists have been shaped by colonial thinking, so asking questions about scientific methods is important. Another important message was that all humans share common origins.
PREGS GOVENDER WITH COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS – by Hendrick Khumalo
Pregs Govender introduced her book Love & Courage to the Gauteng Community Health Workers (CHW). She said that she wrote her book looking into the struggle of women in South Africa. Women should have be confident to take leadership and also by motivate other women to have passion to do their work and encourage them.
Discussions were on the challenges health workers face and the response from the Department of Health. Issues raised include work with no benefits from DoH and a labour broker called SmartPurse Solution.
“As a care worker you have to risk your life as you take care of patients that are not able to visit the hospitals or clinics by themselves. And even when they get injured during working hours they are responsible for their lives,” said Zoleka Mbotshelwa, from Gauteng Community Health Workers Forum.
‘‘I really liked the plays, and was impressed by the fact that they were performed by children my age group.” Kim Sibanda, Yeoville Community School. “The Jozi Book Fair was nice. I learned a lot, my favourite part was when the poets performed their poems.”
Kate Lukhele, Sapphire Secondary. “It’s my first time attending the Fair and I am happy, I got to see Zakes Mda.” Zandile Nhloko, Nandi Primary.