This year, together with civil society organisations the Jozi Book Fair (JBF) will host workshops especially organized for activists from different social sectors (labour, health and so forth), the Networks of Solidarity on Saturday (31August) and the Skills Workshops on Sunday (1st September), from 9.00-11.00am, at Museum Africa.
The Networks & Skills workshops will assist to educate and develop activists from social movements, communities and the public. Reading is freedom, and activists will be able to participate in the wide range of activities at the JBF, free for everyone. This is a solidarity space, to network, break down barriers, and make learning, education and culture accessible to all. As this is a book fair, each workshop is linked to ‘the word’ through books, articles, text and different art forms. Through consistent organizing the JBF intends to deepen the book fair’s imprint in working people’s everyday lives and build a movement. Please pre-register to join the Networks and the Skills Workshops.
Since its inception in 2009 the JBF platform promotes literature, all art forms, debates and critical thinking. The big difference this year is the focused organizing to bring together people from different social sectors. After 25 years of democracy, ‘the doors of learning and culture’ remain closed to the majority, especially working people in South Africa. Education and culture – beyond the ability to just read – is inextricably linked to being human, to rights, to citizenship, and to exercising choices in how we live and how we organize society in the interests of everyone. This is what Brazilian activist, Paola Freire, called ‘reading the word and the world’. During the anti-apartheid struggle education and culture was part of the method of struggle to raise awareness, organize and unite the unfree. It’s time to take a leaf out of the anti-apartheid struggle, and self-educate and self-organise, after the JBF.
Besides the successful hosting of the annual festival every year on a shoestring budget, the JBF has demonstrated that it is possible to create readers and writers from amongst the working people if there is will and consistency. Working people do not just ‘walk into’ traditional book fairs, especially given the legacies of this country. Despite this, and few resources, amongst others, this year the JBF publishes Poetry for Friends 5, the poetry of the children (6-12 years); Batjha Kaofela 4 Short Stories and Batjha Kaofela Poetry 1, from the school youth of communities we work in surrounding townships of Johannesburg. Join and strengthen the movement for citizenship.