South Africans in general have a rich heritage and a strong sense of culture, and these are embodied in the stories we tell. Each one of us has a story to share. Some of these stories have been documented, given spoken and/or written form, while others simply live in our hearts, souls and minds.
Our diversity makes us who we are, but at times we let ourselves down by judging instead of celebrating each other. Sharing our stories has a uniquely unifying purpose. This is especially the case with ‘stories without boundaries’, that is stories that are created in a spirit of freedom.
This year’s South African Book Fair wants to be – first and foremost – about sharing and celebrating our stories and those of our continent.
Stories have a transformative power that ought to be made manifest to readers and non-readers alike. This can be achieved by supplying potential readers with a pragmatic reason for picking up a book and exploring the adventure in its pages. We can also share with these readers how books remind us of who we are, encourage us, instil hope in us, educate and empower us.
These aims can only be achieved through a vibrant book industry, which for centuries has been the strongest enabler in us telling our storiesTo communicate our theme, our plan is to talk stories and show books; make books desirable; and de-link reading from perceptions that it is boring and a chore, and hard work compared to sitting in front of the television without thinking too much.
Because recent research into reading in South Africa has found that a shortage of time is a top barrier to reading, #OURSTORIES also needs to offer the public fun and easy ways to get back into reading.