Six years ago, Amanda Cooke started blogging to document the natural hair journey she and her daughter had embarked upon. Her curiosity about natural hair care soon burgeoned into something much broader, until Cape Town Curly was born. As co-founder of Cape Town Naturally and in her capacity as relationship manager, Amanda strives to inspire, empower, educate and assist the growing legion of ‘naturals’ through her digital content creation.
Twelve-year-old Amr Salie, a Grade 5 student who also holds several international diplomas in gaming- and mobile-app development, coding and cyber-security, has just completed his second book.
Amr’s inspiration for writing was drawn from his older brother’s warning to stay away from his horror stories, which only heightened the young boy’s curiosity. He couldn’t understand many of the words at the time, but he got the gist of the stories he pulled from his brother’s school bag. That early thrill culminated in Amr writing and publishing his own book at the age of 11.
Inspired in particular by RL Stine’s Goosebumps series and a dream he had, Amr spent a year writing Blameless. He worked on the story mostly at night. When new thoughts came up, he typed them into his father’s broken cell phone, which he had repaired himself.
‘Blameless is about a character who goes through this mental disease and about how he deals with the things in his mind,’ he explains. ‘In the end, he deems himself blameless for all the things he has done due to his disorder.’
The story was initially published online, through the FunDza Literacy Fund. But when Amr’s mother decided to have the story printed as a gift for him, she realised the potential it had to reach other young readers. She initially printed 50 copies, which soon sold out. The book launched commercially at the end of 2017, published by Tshienda Publications.
Anneliese Burgess is an award-winning investigative journalist who has spent more than 20 years as a radio and television reporter. She started as a specialist producer for the SABC’s Truth Commission Special Report, and later became a founding member of the broadcaster’s flagship current affairs show, Special Assignment. After 12 years at the programme – first as a producer and later as co-executive producer and anchor – she reinvented herself as a leading communications specialist. Writing Heist! South Africa’s Cash-in-transit Crisis has allowed her to go back to her roots as a journalist, investigating the underbelly of organised crime in South Africa.
Antjie Krog is an Afrikaans poet, writer, journalist and professor at the University of the Western Cape. She has published twelve volumes of poetry in Afrikaans and three non-fiction works : Country of my Skull (1998), on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; A Change of Tongue (2004), about transformation in South Africa after ten years of democracy; and Begging to be Black (2009), about learning to live in a country with a black majority. Her work has been translated into English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Serbian, Arabic and Chinese. South African librarians nominated Country of my Skull and A Change of Tongue as two of the ten most important South African books written in the first ten years of democracy. She was also asked to translate the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, into Afrikaans.
Antjie Krog has been awarded many prestigious South African awards for poetry, non-fiction, journalism and translation in Afrikaans and English, among them the Alan Paton Prize, the Olive Schreiner Award, the Hertzog Prize (twice) and the Elisabeth Eybers Prize. She has also received various international awards, which have included the Gouden Ganzenveer Award (Netherlands), the Stockholm Award from the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture (Sweden), and the Open Society Prize from the Central European University (Hungary).
Benoit Knox launched BK Publishing in 2005, during his second year at university. Since then, the Pretoria-based publishing house has grown by leaps and bounds, never losing focus on its goal to publish quality, proudly South African books and magazines.
Bev Ditsie is an artist, an activist and a television writer/director best known for her human rights advocacy and documentaries. Bev started acting at the age of 10 and became a queer rights activist at 17. For the past 20 years Bev, as a freelance director and independent film maker, has sought to produce content for her fellow South Africans that is both educational and affirming.
Bev is the writer, director, content director and series director on numerous shows, documentaries, music videos, variety and reality television shows. Independently she has also written, directed, produced and consulted on over 20 socio-political and human rights documentaries, screened nationally and internationally. Her first documentary film, Simon and I (2001) won a number of Audience Awards, including the 2004 Oxfam/Vues d’ Afrique best documentary in Montreal, Canada.
Bhekisisa Mncube has been described as a ‘Zulu cultural delinquent’ and a ‘part-time darkie’. He has a Bachelor of Technology in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology, and is a recipient of the coveted Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung International Scholarship (Germany). His writing has appeared in various publications, including The Natal Witness (now The Witness), Sunday Times (Lifestyle), The Mercury, Sunday Tribune, Independent on Saturday, Daily News, Sunday World, Politicsweb, Bizcommunity.com and The New Age. He is currently the director of speech writing for the minister of basic education.
Born in the Eastern Cape, Bongiswa Kotta-Ramushwana grew up in Bloemfontein and has been a storyteller for 14 years. She is a founder and director at Nantsindaba Storytelling and Motivation, where she runs storytelling workshops and trains deaf attendees.
Kotta-Ramushwana has performed for a variety of audiences in South Africa and beyond the country’s borders. She performs for children, adults and corporate clients; in themed functions; and across many other platforms. She participated in the International Storytelling Festival in Oslo, Norway, in 2006 and recently performed in the Sigana International Storytelling Festival in Kenya. Among her favourite storytelling elements are dancing, singing and the use of humour.
She is also a motivational speaker, MC, writer and praise singer, and a qualified interpreter in South African Sign language, English and IsiXhosa.
Bridget Hilton-Barber’s colourful career in the media spans more than two decades. Former travel correspondent for Radio 702 and former editor of South African Airways’ magazine Sawubona, Hilton-Barber is best known for her wild and wacky travel writing and books. Her first memoir, Garden Of My Ancestors (2007) was a bestseller. Now in her ninth book, Student, Comrade, Prisoner, Spy, a political memoir, Hilton-Barber takes you on a poignant journey back to her life as a student activist in Grahamstown in the final days of apartheid in the mid-80s where she was betrayed by a friend who was a police spy, and ended up in jail.
Busisiwe Mahlangu is a multi-award-winning poet, TEDx speaker and founder of Lwazilubanzi, a community project aimed at making learning in public schools greater fun and more accessible.
Mahlangu’s performances around South Africa have taken place at The Naked Word Festival (2017), the Open Book Festival (2017), the Vavasati International Women’s Festival (2016), the Words in My Mouth Slam Week, Lead SA Changemakers and TEDx Pretoria. Her work interrogates issues of poverty, domestic violence, mental health and survival.
She has won three poetry competitions: Tshwane Speak Out Loud Youth Poetry Competition (2016/2017); Another Kinda Slam by Mzansi Poetry Academy (2017); and National Library of South Africa’s Library Week Poetry Slam (2017). She has also been longlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award 2.
Her poetry has been published in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology (Vol. 7), Ja Magazine, Naane Le Moya, Kalahari Review and Poems, Stories and Letters for the Rainbow Nation, a reading pack for grade 4–9 learners in Gauteng province. Her work will also be featured in the Atlanta Review and Best New African Poets 2017 Anthology, and she has been offered a writing residency with Naane Le Moya.
Mahlangu is currently studying towards a BA in Creative Writing, with majors in Linguistics and African Languages.
Chris Thurman is Associate Professor and Head of the English Department at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is also a columnist for Business Day. His most recent book is Still at Large: Dispatches from South Africa’s Frontiers of Politics and Art (Unisa Press, 2017).
Thurman is the editor of South African Essays on ‘Universal’ Shakespeare (Ashgate, 2014) and Sport Versus Art: A South African Contest (Wits University Press, 2010). His other books are the monograph Guy Butler: Reassessing a South African Literary Life (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2010); Text Bites, a Literary Anthology for High schools (Oxford University Press, 2009); and At Large: Reviewing the Arts in South Africa (Common Ground, 2012), his first collection of arts writing and journalism. Thurman has edited the journal Shakespeare in Southern Africa since 2009 and he is president of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa. He is a former adjudicator of the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the University of Johannesburg Literary Awards and the M-Net Literary Prize, and was inaugural chair of the judging panel for the South African Arts Journalism Awards. His research is supported by the National Research Foundation.
Christi Chilimigras was born in Johannesburg in 1993. After matriculating from Hyde Park High School in 2011, she studied landscape design and horticulture. Chilimigras was accepted for an editorial internship at Cosmopolitan magazine, where she managed the content of the magazine’s sex-only microsite, COSMO After Dark.
‘Things Even González Can’t Fix is a story that my cells insisted I tell. It’s a little bit uncomfy, a teensy bit sexy, hopefully a bit illuminating on sexual abuse that often flies well below the radar within families, and a curious look at what growing up in homes drenched in excess will do to a child’, Chilimigras said in a recent interview.
Chwayita is a Grahamstownian with an MA in Creative Writing (with distinction) and recently published her deliciously controversial novel, If I Stay Right Here, with Blackbird Books, an imprint of Jacana Media. Since the release of the novel, she has made appearances on SABC’s Morning Live as well as eNCA. She has also been interviewed on national radio stations and has appeared in several magazines and newspapers. Her novel was named one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times. Chwayita has taken part in big Cape Town annual events like Open Book Festival and the Cape Town Pride Book Evening. She has also conducted writing seminars at Witwatersrand and Rhodes University.
Clyde Beech is a comic book colourist, digital painter and art director. He loves comics, gaming and pop culture, and is known on the scene as a champion of local comics. He is also an avid martial artist. As part of Team Kwezi, Clyde will bring a crazy kind of fun element to the Comic-book Writing workshop for young adults.
Danyela Demir is a post-doctoral fellow based at the University of Johannesburg. She holds a PhD from the University of Augsburg, Germany, where she researched post-apartheid melancholia in contemporary South African novels. She is currently working on a book in collaboration with Olivier Moreillon, with the tentative title of Tracing the Post-Transitional Novel: Interviews with Selected South African Authors. Danyela Demir has published articles on the works of writers Marlene van Niekerk and Kgebetli Moele. Her areas of interest include post-apartheid literature, Lusophone African literatures, world literature, postcolonial and psychoanalytical theory, and intersectionality.
David Higgs has moved from humble beginnings, when he cooked breakfast for the guests of a small hotel, to become one of South Africa’s best-known chefs. He is renowned for his love of food, art, wine and a good braai. As a chef, restaurateur and artist, David Higgs feeds off everything in his environment. ‘A restaurant space almost dictates what ends up on the plate,’ says Higgs. He is known to hand-pick his lettuce, as well as the ceramic plate on which it will be served and eaten. Higgs will launch his much anticipated first cookbook, Mile 8, in October 2018.
Diana Ferrus is a writer, poet and storyteller who was born in Worcester in 1953. She has a postgraduate qualification in Women and Gender Studies from the University of the Western Cape.
Ferrus has published two collections of poetry: Ons Komvandaan (2006) and I’ve Come to Take You Home (2010). She is currently writing three poetry anthologies, one of them a dedication to her father, a prisoner of war during WW II. She also facilitates workshops in creative writing, and has taken part in numerous literary festivals both locally and abroad.
In 1998, while studying at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands, Ferrus wrote the poem ‘I’ve Come to Take You Home’. Translated into French, it become incorporated into French law and was instrumental in the return to South Africa of the remains of Sara Baartman, a young Khoi woman who had gone to Europe in 1810 and been exhibited by an animal trainer before becoming destitute and dying of ill health in 1815. After her death, her skeleton, brain and genitals were displayed in a famous museum in France as ‘scientific’ evidence of her racial inferiority.
‘I’ve Come to Take You Home’ is 20 years old this year. Until December 2018, Ferrus will be reciting the poem at various events, in celebration of its beauty and its power.
Nkosi has occupied various positions in the South African education system (at school and tertiary level) as a school music teacher, African music lecturer, arts education lecturer, teacher trainer, education officer and cultural administrator over the past 10 years. He is currently a lecturer in Arts Education at the University of Johannesburg.
He was awarded a PhD in Music Education (specializing in Applied Ethnomusicology) cum laude in 2014 from the University of Pretoria and obtained an MA in Arts Management, Leadership and Policy at Wits School of the Arts in 2017. Nkosi is a qualified music teacher with a postgraduate certificate in Education (Arts education specialization for Senior and Further Education and Training Phase). He is a member of various professional bodies, including the International Society of Music Education and the Pan African Society for Musical Arts Education and has attended and presented papers at national and international conferences. He has also worked as an external examiner for honors, masters and doctoral students in the field of African music and music education for various South African and has supervised several postgraduate students.
Nkosi is a passionate African percussionist, singer, orchestral conductor, marimba player, African drumming instructor and modern African classical drumming practitioner.
Having graduated from Wits in 2016, Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele is a doctor in public practice currently based at Chris Hani Baragwanath, where she has been completing her internship. She has a strong interest in the socio-economics of health as it relates to public health; and plans to pursue further studies in this area.
Dr Cele is also the co-founder of The Cheeky Natives, a literary podcast focused primarily on the review, curatorship and archiving of black literature. An avid bibliophile who has been reading since the age of four, she credits books for having given flight to her imagination and ‘saved her life’ countless times. She counts feminism and the radical act of re-imagining one’s self as her driving forces moving forward.
Dr Pahad has been involved in the struggle against racism and apartheid for more than 50 years. Currently, he is the director of Vusizwe Media and the editor of The Thinker, a Pan- African quarterly journal covering broad social, economic and socio-political issues in South Africa and on the African continent.
Dr Pahad has held numerous political offices as a member of the National Assembly (1994–2008), Parliamentary Counselor to Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa (1994–1996). Dr Pahad was appointed Minister in the Office of the former Executive Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, (1996–1999). Dr Pahad was appointed Minister in 1999 with specific responsibility for the Office on the Rights of the Child, Office on the Status of Women and Office on the Status of Disabled People in the Presidency as well as the national Youth Commission and the Government Communication and Information System. He was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC), as well as a member of the CC and Politburo of the SACP. He was chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the South African Democracy Education Trust and member of the Board and Executive Committee of the International Marketing Council. He was Minister in the Presidency until 2008.
Dr Pahad has published numerous articles in journals and is co-editor of Africa, The Time Has Come and Africa, Define Yourself, a collection of speeches of former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. He holds a BA degree in Political Science from Wits University, and an MA in African Politics and PhD in History from Sussex University.
Nomkhosi Xulu Gama is currently employed as a senior researcher at the Chris Hani Institute and is also an honorary research associate at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). She worked at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) as a research co-ordinator from 2005 and as a lecturer from 2011; and at DUT as a senior lecturer and researcher. Gama is the author of Hostels in South Africa: Spaces of Perplexity, published by UKZN Press in 2017. It is based on work she did for her PhD through the University of Cape Town and the Fulbright Program.
Recognised internationally for her activism in women’s issues, the plight of children and the fight against segregation and racism, Dr Sindiwe Magona is also an award-winning novelist, poet, playwright, actress and motivational speaker who uses her creative talents to inform, challenge and inspire. Sindiwe’s literary career began with small articles for Raven Press in the late 1970s and blossomed into her first autobiography for David Philips Publishers, titled To My Children’s Children(1990), followed by the sequel Forced to Grow (1992). In 1991 she published the highly acclaimed short story collection Living, Loving, and Lying Awake at Night which was voted one of the 20th Century’s 100 Best Books from the African Continent. Push-Push and Other Stories, a second collection of short stories, was published in 1996. Mother to Mother , a fictionalised account of the murder of Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl as narrated by the murderer’s mother, appeared in 1998. She also adapted this novel into a play, which was performed at the Baxter Theatre in late 2009. Sindiwe is the author of Teach yourself Xhosa and several other educational children’s books, including The Best Meal Ever! and Life Is a Hard but Beautiful Thing , which have been translated into several languages. Other works include the internationally acclaimed novel Beauty’s Gift (2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa) as well as the Sunday Times Literary Award.
Dudu Busani-Dube was born and raised in the township of KwaMashu (Durban). She describes herself as having been a rebellious high-school student with no awareness of her literary talents until a teacher challenged her to write and to study journalism. That, she says, is the best advice she has ever received.
These days the 36-year-old writer is a journalist by day and a fiction writer at night. She has written and self-published three books, all of them bestsellers. Together they comprise the Hlomu series: Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute and Naledi His Love.
Busani-Dube says she always wanted to write books that could be read easily by anyone; and to produce narratives in which her readers would be able to find something of themselves. Her latest book, Zulu Wedding, is based on a film with the same title that will be released in cinemas in September 2018.
Elinor Sisulu is a Zimbabwe-born writer, political analyst and human rights activist. She has received acclaim for her remarkable influence on Southern African letters. Elinor previously worked as a researcher and advisor for various international and national bodies. However, she is perhaps best known for her biography of the South African struggle stalwarts (and her parents-in-law), Walter and Albertina Sisulu: In Our Lifetime, which won the 2003 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa and was the runner-up for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Her most recent publication, Albertina Sisulu, is a collaboration with the esteemed author Sindiwe Magona. It takes the form of an abridged memoir of her mother-in-law’s life and is aimed at younger readers. Elinor is deeply involved in the promotion of children’s books, particularly through the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, which aims to develop and support children’s literature in South Africa. The Foundation hosts several events, such as the highly successful Puku Story Festival (an annual event in Grahamstown).
Known simply as Flo, Thabo Mokale was born in Katlehong and grew up in Sharpeville. He became involved in poetry in high school. Although at first he did not like the genre owing to its classical limitations, his impressions of the art form changed when his teacher told him that ‘poetry is what you feel’. And even though the poems he began to write differed markedly from those taught in school, he started to recognise and acknowledge himself as a poet.
Mokale’s other love is photography. In his debut solo exhibition, A Beautiful Struggle, he demonstrated his ability to use the camera to translate reality. His black-and-white images are rendered unpolished in order to reveal township life. Moreover, his juxtaposition of elements and styles makes the township look like a world within a world, a double life framed by both frustration and happiness.
‘We are broken but we don’t have to break all the time,’ Mokale says. He believes there is nothing mundane about waking up every day and hustling, selling the same sweets on the same corner to the same people. He has a sense of the magic in the routine and insists that this is how we grow, by ‘first acknowledging the beauty of our current situation’.
Flow Wellington is an author; a poet and performer; a publisher; and an artpreneur. Poetree Publications, her publishing company, has helped numerous local and international authors publish works of poetry, children’s literature and autobiography. Her own work has been published here and abroad.
She is especially well known for her narrative poetry, which takes the reader along an introspective and melodic path while telling stories of people and places. Over the years, she has paired her poetry with various musical forms, including hip hop, jazz and classical music. Her numerous performances have showcased her writing skill and artistic presence.
Fred Khumalo is the author of three novels: Dancing the Death Drill, inspired by the tragic sinking of the SS Mendi; Bitches’ Brew, which was a joint winner of the 2006 European Union Literary Award; and Seven Steps to Heaven. His memoir, Touch My Blood, was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction in 2007, and #ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants was published in 2016. His short fiction has appeared in various anthologies, literary journals and magazines. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he lives.
Bantu Holomisa is one of South Africa’s most respected political figures. Born in the Transkei in 1955, he attended an elite school for the sons of chiefs and headmen. As head of the Transkei Defence Force, Holomisa led successive coups against the homeland regime and became the head of its military government. He turned the Transkei into a ‘liberated space’, giving shelter to ANC and PAC activists. Holomisa served in the government of national unity as deputy minister for environmental affairs and tourism. His biography reveals that his relationship with President Mandela and the ANC broke down after he testified to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among other issues, that Stella Sigcau and her cabinet colleagues had accepted a bribe from the South African hotel developer, Sol Kerzner. After expulsion from the ANC, Holomisa formed his own party, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), together with Roelf Meyer. As UDM leader, Holomisa has played a prominent role in building opposition coalitions and in challenging the dominant party.
Griffin Shea is an American journalist and writer who moved to Johannesburg nine years ago. In 2016, he opened Bridge Books, an independent bookstore in the Joburg CBD that focuses on African writers. In addition to this retail space, he operates a wholesale book programme that supplies new books to the more than 70 small sellers in downtown Johannesburg. This year he launched the African Book Trust, to raise money to buy new South African books for schools and libraries.
Harriet Perlman has worked in film, television and publishing for over 30 years. She loves story and have worked with a range of formats including television dramas, film (documentaries and feature) and print (books, stories for children and adults, learning resources). She has worked on entertainment and education projects and initiatives that combine the two. She was a co-creator and writer on Yizo Yizo, an international award-winning television series set in a struggling township school. She worked at Soul City and headed their Southern Africa regional programme, which developed both print and television public health programmes across Southern Africa. She recently completed a documentary called The Colour of Wine with director Akin Omotoso. She is a co-writer and co-producer on the film Vaya, as well as editor of and contributor to the book Vaya – Untold Stories of Johannesburg. Together with Robbie Thorpe she runs the Homeless Writer’s Project.
Hester van der Walt worked as a nurse and an educator. She holds a Doctorate in Community Health, which she received while working at the Medical Research Council as a health systems research specialist. Her first book, Hester se Brood, was published in Afrikaans in 2009, and in English (as Hester’s Book of Bread) in 2013. Her poems and stories have been published in several anthologies through Anne Schuster’s writing workshops, as well as in Short Story Review and in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 anthologies of the McGregor Poetry Festival. She lives in McGregor with her partner.
Jan-Jan Joubert has reported about Parliament since 2001 for various publications and media platforms. He was previously political editor of Die Burger, Beeld and Rapport, as well as having served as deputy political editor of the Sunday Times. He has lectured on journalism at several tertiary institutions. He is often called on to provide political analysis on radio and television programmes. When he is not keeping a close eye on politicians, Joubert reviews books and acts as a panellist for journalism awards. He lives in Cape Town.
Jennifer Platt has been a journalist since 2001, beginning at The Star newspaper as an intern. Here she started writing reviews of books and has taken her love of literature to every other posting, whether in magazines (Drum and Heat) or in newspapers. Now Jennifer is part of the exciting and intrepid books team at the Sunday Times, where she is books editor.
The director and founder of the Bloody Book Week, Jenny Crwys-Williams, is a talk show host with South Africa’s first all-talk radio station: Talk Radio 702. She has her own show, the content of which ranges from current affairs to food and from in depth interviews with prominent people to books – in fact, anything of interest. She has become well-known in South Africa for her influential weekly The Book Show on Talk Radio 702. Jenny & Co is Jenny’s private book club, founded 10 years ago. It has 4 000 registered members who come to author events which include weekends, an end of year week of authors and books at the theatre (In Conversation) – and to her latest venture, the Bloody Book Week, Africa’s first crime book festival. Born and brought up in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Jenny spent over a decade in the United Kingdom. It was there, with its access to the arts, that she decided she wanted not only to write books but to promote them and their authors, particularly local writers. She has written and compiled 11 books of her own, all non-fiction, ranging from South African Despatches to A Country at War 1939-1945 and In the Words of Nelson Mandela.
Jonathan Ancer is a journalist who has held positions on a variety of publications, including having been a reporter at The Star, a features writer at Directions magazine, the editor of Grocott’s Mail and the crossword columnist for the Cape Times. He has won awards for hard news journalism, feature writing and creative writing.
Karabo K Kgoleng is a writer, radio broadcaster and public speaker in the arts, culture and social development sectors. This SA Literary Award recipient specialises in using her skills to contribute to literary development endeavours, as well as cultural exchange across borders. Kgoleng has adjudicated many literary awards and competitions, among them the Short Sharp Stories Short Story Competition, the Sunday Times Literary Award Fiction Prize (the Barry Ronge Prize) and the MNET Literary Awards. She also sits on the editorial advisory panel of the Johannesburg Review of Books. Kgoleng will be participating in panel discussions on reading cultures.
Karabo Nkoli wrote Whispers of Life in 2015, when he was just 12 years old, and self-published the book two years later. He has been named ‘Son of the Nation’ because of his love of, and dedication to, South Africa. He is also a young visionary, a motivational speaker and a leader.
Now 16 years of age, Nkoli is enrolled in Grade 10 at Afrikaanse Hoërskool in Sasolburg (Free State).
Katleho Kano Shoro is a Johannesburg-based performance poet and the author of Serurubele Poetries – her debut collection of poetry published by Modjaji Books in 2017. She has performed in South Africa, Zimbabwe, London and, most recently, has participated in an artist residency at Northwestern University (Chicago) together with the Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement. She continues to participate in, and facilitate, literary festivals and events nationwide.
An academic, Shoro holds a Masters’ degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. She has been exploring the relationships between history, ethnography and literature; and occasionally lectures on African anthropologies, language and culture. ln 2015, she was one of three editors to put together the limited-edition publication, The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling through Africa, the result of a continent-wide poetry competition run by the Goethe lnstitut. Currently, she is working with the South African Poetry Project (ZAPP), researching poetry in high schools.
Shoro’s work in the arts extends to facilitating workshops and managing projects, particularly in African film and Iiterature. Within the visual arts realm, she has participated in the collective exhibition Calibrating Wonder at Smith Studio in Cape Town (June–July 2017). During her tenure as Research Associate at Wits Art Museum she co-curated and contributed to the 2017 exhibition, Overtime: Representations, values and imagined futures of ‘classical African Art’; and co-edited the accompanying publication of the same title.
Keamogetswe Bopalamo was born in the village of Phokeng, near Rustenburg in North West Province. She has five years’ experience working for local government and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Science. In 2017 she published her first literary work, a memoir on mental health, entitled What I Wore, with the aim of unravelling the stigmatisation in African communities of psychosocial and emotional disorders. Keamogetswe is an alumna of the Young African Leaders Initiative (administered by USAID) and participated in the second cohort under the public management track in May 2016. She currently serves as a mental health advocacy leader for North West Province and uses income generated through sales of her book to fund the dissemination of free copies to public libraries and schools.
Lauri Kubuitsile lives in Botswana. She has published numerous books in Southern Africa and abroad. She has won the Golden Baobab Prize for children’s writing on two occasions, and has also been the winner of the Botswerere Prize for Creative Writing awarded by the Botswana Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture. Her most recent works are a children’s book, Thato Lekoko: Superhero (Oxford University Press, December 2015) and The Scattering. This historical novel (Penguin Random House, May 2016) was judged Best International Fiction Book 2017 at the Sharjah International Book Fair in the United Arab Emirates, and was recommended by the prestigious Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction in the United Kingdom in the same year. The North American publication rights for The Scattering have been bought by Waveland Press.
An award-winning writer, presenter, actress and activist, Lebo Mashile is a South African household name. She is most recognised for her lyrical and gutsy poetry, which has captivated audiences in 24 countries worldwide. Mashile is a much-sought-after social commentator, speaker, performer and master of ceremonies; and her infectious enthusiasm has brought life to every platform she has stood on in the course of the past 16 years.
Mashile has acted in Hotel Rwanda, written Flying Above The Sky and in 2006 won a NOMA award for her collection of poetry, A Ribbon of Rhythm. She also has a self-produced album, Lebo Mashile Live! She wrote, created and produced the documentary series L’Attitude, and presented Drawing the Line; and co-presented e.tv’s children’s show, Great Expectations.
Mashile has recently released her second studio album, entitled Moya, in collaboration with singer/songwriter Majola. February 2018 saw the debut of her theatrical piece on Saartjie Baartman.
Lebohang Masango is currently engaged in studying for a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a poet; a freelance writer; and a feminist activist. She is the author of the children’s book, Mpumi’s Magic Beads (Thank You Books, 2017). She has contributed to Mike Alfred’s Twelve + One (Botsotso, 2014), an anthology of works by Johannesburg poets; and to To Breathe into Another Voice (Real African Publishers, 2017), a jazz poetry anthology edited by Myesha Jenkins. Her lyrics feature in the song ‘Endurance’, sung by hip-hop musician Reason alongside HHP. In 2016 Cosmopolitan Magazine named her one of South Africa’s ‘awesome women’. Lebohang has performed her work at both national and international events. Her engagement in urban and medical anthropology will soon be reflected in an academic publication.
Lelo Kingston Mofokeng is a remarkable young lad, with a published book to his name at the tender age of nine. He wrote and illustrated How I Survived Bullying when aged seven in Grade 1, following his own struggles and torment. He hopes his book will help other children to realise that they are not alone and that they can survive bullying.
This anti-bullying ambassador started to read before the age of two, and wrote his first book when he was five years old. He enjoys reading, creating animation, writing creatively, acting and making movies. He is both writer and illustrator of all his own books and has more than 80 unpublished (so far) titles and 16 animation movie scripts in draft.
Lelo has been featured on several local radio stations and television shows, and has received coverage in both local and international newspapers, magazines and blogs. He was recently nominated for an African writer award.
Lelo started his own foundation, called Lelo Kingston Cares, when he was seven years old. The foundation helps feed homeless people, donates goods to orphanages and helps schools promote reading and writing. His mission is to see that all children learn to read and write and get an education.
A 2014 graduate of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Lerato studied Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA. She was voted one of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in the Media category in 2013.
She has spent the past 20 years’ at various newspapers and magazines, including Oprah (SA) and Marie Claire (SA). Her first management position at the age 22 was as a women’s editor at Drum. Since then she has moved up the management ranks at different publications, including the Sunday Times, where she edited the Lifestyle supplement, the biggest in South Africa, for five years. As the editor of True Love she oversaw the day-to-day and strategic management of the magazine. She left True Love in April 2014 to take part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
She has a diploma in journalism from Allenby College in Johannesburg, has edited The Afropolitan magazine (a subsidiary of Kaya FM) and was a radio host on The Best of Both Worlds on Touch Central (now Touch HD).
Her first non-fiction work, The Way I See It, reached the top 5 bestseller’s list in 2016. She currently hosts a lifestyle and design podcast called Living It Up With Lerato Tshabalala on Cliff Central.com. In 2017, she joined Cerebra Communications as the creative team lead for South Africa’s first fully fledged brand as publisher for Vodacom.
When not working on social media campaigns or evergreen social content (or podcasting!), she also works with brands as a speaker and/or influencer. She’s been an influencer for brands such as American Express, SANParks and local fashion labels, Burgundy Fly and Rubicon Clothing. Her talks vary from motivational to employee engagement. Lerato will be tackling “Unconscious Bias” in her 2018/2019 talks. Previous clients include PPC Insurance, the American embassy and African Bank, among others.
Lidudumalingani Mqombothi is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the former Transkei, now the Eastern Cape, in the village of Zikhovane. In 2016 he was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story ‘Memories We Lost‘; and the Miles Morland Scholarship, which will see him spend a year writing his debut novel, Let Your Children Name Themselves.
Lindiwe Hani has worked in the communications field for the better part of ten years. She sees her greatest accomplishment as being mother to her daughter Khaya. In her intimate and brutally honest memoir, Being Chris Hani’s daughter (2017), 36-year-old Lindiwe remembers the years she shared with her loving father, and the toll that his untimely death took on the Hani family. She brings to light family skeletons, and foregrounds the downward spiral into cocaine and alcohol addiction that was part of her desperate attempt to avoid the pain of being brutally parted from him.
Lorato Trok has 20 years of experience in publishing, writing and story development in children’s literature. Lorato is a qualified teacher and librarian who worked at a children’s library in her home town, Kuruman, in the Northern Cape for four years. Lorato was also a project coordinator at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town, a project of the National Library of South Africa, for the IBBY 2004 award-winning First Words in Print for four years, a project where children’s stories were created with input from publishers in all 11 official South African languages and distributed across the country in homes and schools. Lorato worked as a publishing programme manager at Room to Read South Africa for six years. One of the books she produced for Room to Read won a prestigious UNICEF Best ECD publication in 2011/2012. She was also an editor and project manager in the schools publishing division at Oxford University Press.
For four years Lorato was a South Africa country co-ordinator for the African Storybook Initiative, a digital publishing platform for children’s stories across Africa. She has contributed a number of stories in English and Setswana on the website and translated more than a 100 stories in Setswana and Afrikaans. She is also a published author and published a children’s book, Mogau’s Gift, through Book Dash in 2017 as well as two children’s books through Room to Read South Africa.
Lerato holds qualifications in languages and literature (majoring in Creative Writing) and advanced editing. She has presented papers locally and internationally on children’s literature. She is a creative writing facilitator and has facilitated writing workshops across the continent for teachers and librarians.
Loyiso Mkize of Team Kwezi has been in the comic book scene for nearly ten years and has been involved in numerous South African comic books. His fine arts career spans seven years, during which he has held four solo exhibitions and six group exhibitions, and has acquired a keen following both locally and internationally. Mkize will be running a young adult workshop on Comic-book Writing and ‘what it takes’.
Makhosazana Xaba is an anthologist, poet and short-story writer, and has won awards for her fiction. In 2014 her debut collection, Running and Other Stories, won the SALA Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award. In the same year, Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, which she co-edited, won the 26th Lambda Literary Award for the fiction anthology category. Even though writing is her chosen field, Makhosazana’s main interest is the actualisation of feminist ideals in all spheres of life. Her long term project is a biography of Noni Jabavu
Mandla Langa grew up in Durban. In 1980 Langa won the DRUM Short Story Award, and in 1991 was awarded the Arts Council of Great Britain bursary for creative writing. His published works include Tenderness of Blood (1987), A rainbow on a Paper Sky(1989), The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2008) and The Texture of Shadows (2014). Langa has recently co-authored Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years of Nelson Mandela, coming out in October 2017.
Mandy Wiener lives and works in Johannesburg. She is one of South Africa’s best-known and most credible journalists and authors. Wiener worked as a multi-award-winning reporter with Eyewitness News from 2004 until 2014 and is currently a freelance journalist. Ministry of Crime is her fourth book, and follows the best-selling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (2011); My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli (2013), written with the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority; and Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story (2014), co-authored with Barry Bateman.
Mark Heywood has played a pivotal role in South African public life and particularly in movements for social justice. He has spearheaded victorious public campaigns, among them those on the right to antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, and the right of children in public schools to have free access to textbooks. As the executive director of Section27 and as a key figure in #SaveSouthAfrica, #UniteAgainstCorruption and the Treatment Action Campaign, Heywood has gained insider experience of tough public campaigns. He understands what it takes to mobilise thousands of people in order to create the necessary momentum for social change. His latest book, Get Up! Stand Up! Personal Journeys Towards Social Justice (Tafelberg, 2017), is a book of justice and hope. It provides frank insights into how power and politics work, and it challenges readers to play their part. The book is also a personal story about love, loss and the importance of safeguarding one’s soul.
Martha Evans is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. Her first book, Broadcasting the End of Apartheid: Television and the Birth of a New South Africa, was published in 2014. her second book, Speeches that Shaped South Africa: From Malan to Malema is testament to the fact that words can and do effect change.
Melinda Ferguson is the author of six books, including her bestselling addiction memoir trilogy: Smacked, Hooked and Crashed. She also co-wrote with Lindiwe Hani the acclaimed book Being Chris Hani’s Daughter. She launched her publishing imprint MFBooks Joburg in 2013 and has published 40 titles to date, including the 2016 Alan Paton non-fiction winner, Rape: A South African Nightmare by Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola.
Melusi Tshabalala is a seasoned creative professional and entrepreneur with an advertising career, spanning 20 years. He is co-founder and managing partner at Studio 214, a Johannesburg-based advertising and design agency. His agency’s ethos is to ‘create work that touches Africans, inspiring harmony, prosperity and the celebration of this electric continent, her people and their phenomenal cultures’. Melusi strives to live by this ethos in his everyday life too. His greatest joy comes from the laughter of his three wonderful children, for whom he hopes to help build a better African future.
Melusi founded and runs an initiative called Melusi’s Everyday Zulu, through which he introduces fellow South Africans to isiZulu in a fun and engaging way. Melusi’s Everyday Zulu mostly appears on Facebook. Since Melusi started with his Everyday Zulu Facebook posts in October 2017, Melusi’s Everyday Zulu has been a regular feature in Finweek, on Saturdays with Jenny (Crwys-Williams) on Kaya FM and has even been featured on Ukhozi FM. Melusi’s first book, Melusi’s Everyday Zulu, was published in July 2018.
Michelle Nkamankeng is a nine-year-old author and the winner of multiple awards. She is humble , caring, passionate and smart. Her first book, Waiting for the Waves, was written when she was six and published in 2016. This made her the youngest published author in South Africa and Africa; and also one of the top ten youngest writers in the world. Besides being an author, Nkamankeng is a motivational speaker, philanthropist, children’s activist , keynote speaker, and voice-over artist. She is the founder of the Michelle Nkamankeng Foundation, which educates and empowers children and youth.
Muriel Mokgathi-Mvubu, also known as MoAfrika ’a Mokgathi, is a multi-faceted artist – a performer, poet, cultural activist, artrepreneur, band leader, award-winning radio presenter-producer and civic leader. She is known for her Sepedi pen, her fusion of Sepedi and English, and her blending a mix of jazz, soul and kiba rhythms with her deep, sassy vocals to keep her followers begging for more. MoAfrika started her artistic journey in 1999 and her professional one in 2005. In the last 13 years she has headlined with an impressive list of talents in the music and literary industry. She is a co-founder and board member of various art organizations. MoAfrika is currently working simultaneously on her debut poetry and jazz album, From Mamelodi to Mali, and a book, My Tongue is a Rainbow.
Mutle Mothibe was born in 1984 and is often included on spoken word festival bills in South Africa. In November 2013 Mutle took part in the Take Over Cardiff festival in Wales, after being selected by the British Council to represent South Africa at the event. He ran workshops for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, assisting them to create a show which was performed at the Cardiff Museum.
In April 2013 Mutle released his debut solo album, In sense. The 16-track audio book has been a major success in spoken word circles and was reviewed online and in local newspapers. He also has two one-man poetry performances under his belt: Mutle Mothibe’s PropBox (2011) and Disassembling Mutle Mothibe (2016).
Mothibe uses his music in his interaction with students and teachers, as he believes it is a means to help educators find their own voices and tell their own stories. Currently a shareholder in the Word N Sound Live Literature Company, Mothibe melds his skills as an artist and arts administrator to help develop platforms for other artists to grow and showcase their own writing and performance abilities.
Nechama Brodie is a veteran journalist. She is the best-selling author of five non-fiction books and a novel, Knucklebone. Her work has appeared in the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian, City Press, Men’s Health, the Guardian (UK) and the Hindustan Times (India). She is the head of training, research and information at Africa Check, an independent fact-checking organisation.
Nolwazi Tusini was the Ruth First Fellow at Wits University in 2016. She is a poet and writer who has performed on stage at Out There Poetry Sessions at the Orbit Jazz Club; at the Word ’n Sound Poetry Festival; and at the Current State of Poetry. She has written about many lifestyle and socio-political issues for publications such as City Press and Eye Witness News.
She is also an award-winning executive radio producer, and has had almost a decade’s experience in crafting radio shows that have covered a broad spectrum of South African and international stories. She has collaborated with leading South African current affairs show hosts and has also had the experience of working with Richard Quest from CNN.
Nompucuko, also known as Hluma, is an isiXhosa storyteller-performer and a poet. Her passion and career history is centered on cultural arts education and skills development. Her rural background, coupled with her academic interests in African oral traditional studies has helped her to initiate community-based storytelling, reading and arts cultural education clubs for children, youth and adults in Tsomo and Zwelitsha (King Williams Town).
She has worked as a school teacher, a part-time lecturer, practice manager, skills development facilitator, arts administrator and a self-publishing author of IsiXhosa children’s storybooks (Zenithi Tsiyo-o, Tsiyo-o, Amandla eSangqa seNkcubeko and Amabali Oonobumba). Currently, she is a provincial support coordinator (Eastern Cape) for Nal’ibali, a national storytelling and reading for enjoyment campaign. Nompucuko is also preparing a PhD proposal on isiXhosa storytelling practice and history for the Department of African Languages for submission at Rhodes University. During the Africa Month Celebrations in 2018, Nompucuko shared important oral storytelling lessons with children and trainers associated with the Funda Community Centre and CIIMDA at the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus.
Chef Mqwebu runs Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, a skills training and hospitality service provider, and the Mzansi International Culinary Festival (MICF). Before this, she spent 10 years training and mastering her cooking skills in South Africa and around the world, including at schools and kitchens in New York, London, Paris, Bremen and Shannary. She has sat on various judging panels including the panel judging the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
The 42-year-old chef grew up in Umlazi township, but now lives in Sandton with her two sons. Cooking was always a part of Mqwebu’s life at home: Her grandmother owned a diner and her father travelled the world as a cook. After mastering her fear of cooking amongst these talented chefs at home, she started cooking informally at various functions, from family gatherings to weddings, before she decided to attend cookery school in Morningside. While she was studying, she worked at Janet’s Restaurant in Kloof, where Janet mentored her. Mqwebu then went on to work at Zimbali Lodge before going solo and registering her company, Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, in 2005. She also trained at the prestigious Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, where she learned how to make yoghurt, butter, preserves, amongst other things. All recipes and methodology are included in her cookbook, Through The Eyes Of A Chef.
Odafe Atogun was born in the town of Lokoja, Nigeria, at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers. His debut novel, Taduno’s Song, was selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club, and he has been compared in critical reviews to Franz Kafka and George Orwell . Following his two-book deal with Canongate, Penguin Random House and Arche Verlag, Atogun’s second novel, Wake Me When I’m Gone, was published in 2017. His work has been translated into several languages. Now a full-time writer, he is married and lives in Abuja.
Pamela was born in Pietermaritzburg to an Irish father and a South African mother. She grew up in Zimbabwe and finished her education in South Africa. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Wits University, where she also taught for many years. She is currently the script editor for the new e.tv show, Imbewu – The Seed, and has published three novels: Ms Conception, Things Unseen and Delilah Now Trending. Things Unseen was recently optioned for television by Diprente Films. Pamela’s fourth novel, Complicit, will be published in 2019. Pamela lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two children. You can find her on twitter @pamelapower, and can also follow her author page on Facebook.
Peter Harris is currently practising law at the firm of Harris Nupen Molebatsi in Johannesburg. He is the editor and co-author of the publication Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict: Options for Negotiators (1998), which carries a foreword by the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Anan. He is also the author of the book In a Different Time: The Inside Story of the Delmas Four (2008), which was the winner of both the 2009 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for best non-fiction book of 2009 and of the South African Booksellers Choice Award of 2009. His second book, Birth, was also a non-fiction work, telling the story of the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994 and a right-wing plot to derail them. He has recently published his first novel, Bare Ground.
Phehello Mofokeng is an entrepreneur, literary connoisseur, graphic designer, writer, publisher, brand strategist, dreamer and father of Sonshine. Mofokeng is chief publisher, or chief bookworm, at Geko Publishing. He is an optimist and dreams of adapting all Geko titles into films. He is a serial entrepreneur who wants to change the world one project and one company at a time. He is also a public speaker of note on diverse topics – from arts and literature to youth trends and design. Mofokeng is a Wits University Honours graduate who specialised in African languages and drama & film.
Phumlani Pikoli is a multi-media journalist and multi-skilled artist. He was born in Zimbabwe in 1988. His collection of short stories and illustrations, The Fatuous State of Severity, was recently published by Pan Macmillan South Africa. This is the first time he has been published by an actual publishing house and he intends to write and publish many more books without restriction on form.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is an award-winning investigative journalist. His series of exposés on a multibillion-rand contract for new locomotives at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) earned him several accolades, including South Africa’s prestigious Taco Kuiper Award for investigative journalism. After completing his BPhil (Honours) in journalism at Stellenbosch University, Myburgh began his career as a general reporter at Beeld newspaper in Johannesburg. He found his feet as an investigative journalist at the Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport before moving to News24, where he still seeks to blow the whistle on the mechanics of dodgy deals and crooked cronies.
Prince Mashele is the executive director of the Centre for Politics and Research. He is a leading political commentator in South Africa and the author of The Death of our Society.
Professor Adekeye Adebajo is the director of the Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg. Professor Adebajo served on United Nations missions in South Africa, Western Sahara, and Iraq, and is the author of six books including The Curse Of Berlin: Africa After The Cold War; Thabo Mbeki: Africa’s Philosopher-King; and The Eagle And The Springbok: Essays On Nigeria And South Africa. He is co-editor or editor of nine books. He obtained his doctorate from Oxford University in England where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Professor Ben Cousins holds a DST/NRF Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He established the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at UWC in 1995 and was its director until 2009 (PLAAS is now the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies). He holds a DPhil in Applied Social Studies from the University of Zimbabwe, and was in exile between 1972 and 1991. He helped to establish and operate a training centre for small-scale famers in Swaziland from 1976 to 1983, worked in agricultural extension and training in Zimbabwe between 1983 and 1986, and returned to South Africa in 1991. In 2013, he received an inaugural Elinor Ostrom Award for his contribution to scholarship on common property (‘the commons’). He has published over 100 academic articles, books and book chapters, and is often called upon to comment on land reform and related issues in the media. His most recent book is a co-edited collection focusing on land rights in South Africa, Untitled: Securing Land Tenure in Urban and Rural South Africa (with Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill and Lauren Royston), UKZN Press, 2017.
Professor Christi van der Westhuizen (DPhil) is an author, political commentator, academic and former journalist. Her books include Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa (2017) and White Power & the Rise and Fall of the National Party (2007). Christi started her professional life at the anti-apartheid weekly Vrye Weekblad and is a regular commentator in the international and local media. Her columns and articles appear online and in print. She received the Mondi Newspaper Award for her political writing.
She has served as an expert on several global initiatives, including for the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and on a high-level fact-finding mission to Palestine. Christi is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria, and has been engaged in the university’s transformation processes.
She is an associate of the Democracy Works Foundation and previously held associateships with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, Free State University, and the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town, among other engagements.
Professor Gilbert M Khadiagala is a Jan Smuts Professor of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He has taught comparative politics and international relations in Kenya, Canada, and the United States. He obtained his doctorate in international studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. His research focuses on governance, security, leadership, and conflict management in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes region, and he has published widely on these issues.
Professor Khadiagala is the author of Meddlers or Mediators? African Interveners in Civil Conflicts in Eastern Africa; and co-author of Sudan: The Elusive Quest for Peace. He has also edited or co-edited several volumes, including, most recently, War and Peace in Africa’s Great lakes Region.
Melanie is a queer and feminist activist and scholar, and holds a PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is Adjunct Associate Professor in Public Law at the University of Cape Town. Melanie is the author of Blackwashing Homophobia: Violence and the Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Race (Routledge, 2018) and lead editor of To Have and To Hold: The Making of Same-sex Marriage in South Africa (Fanele, 2008).
As a prominent activist for queer rights, Melanie has been extensively involved in litigation, advocacy, research and public analysis. Melanie is a trustee of the Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA) and the 2016 recipient of the Psychology and Social Change Award, from the institution currently known as Rhodes University, in recognition of her activism and scholarship on sexuality.
For almost 17 years, Qaphelani ‘Qaps’ Mngadi has been creating cartoons for different newspapers, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal. He has drawn cartoons for the daily isiZulu newspaper, Isolezwe, since its establishment in 2002, produced more than 6 cartoon books, a number of educational and awareness posters for libraries and schools in KZN, and conducted workshops with cartoonists like Jonathan Shapiro aka Zapiro, Nanda Soobben, Qaps’s mentor, and others. In 2010 and 2014 he was invited to showcase his work in London and in France. Qaps holds an integrated diploma in multimedia. Cartoons are powerful communication tools that adults and children alike enjoy. Qaps will participate in the SABF to expand and share his experience of drawing IsiZulu cartoons. He will also share his cartoon booklet, Ukuboshwa Kutata, about Nelson Mandela’s arrest at Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. The book is suitable for all ages.
Ralph Mathekga is one of SA’s leading political analysts. He taught politics at the University of the Western Cape and worked as a senior policy analyst at National Treasury. He is often quoted by local and international media; and comments regularly on TV and radio. Ralph is the author of the bestseller When Zuma Goes and holds a PhD in politics.
Rehana Rossouw is a journalist with more than 3 decades’ experience under her belt. She is currently a commissioning editor for Business Day. Her first novel, What Will People Say?, was shortlisted for the Etisalat Prize, and won an award for fiction from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. New Times is her second novel.
Richard Steyn, a graduate of Stellenbosch University, practised as a lawyer before switching to journalism. He edited the Natal Witness in Pietermaritzburg from 1975 to 1990, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1985/86, and editor in chief of The Star from 1990 to 1995. He served as Standard Bank’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications from 1996 to 2001, before returning to writing, book reviewing and publishing.
Roché Kester hails from Cape Town and considers herself a writer, performer and director. She gave form to these passions in the acclaimed feminist production Reclaiming the P… word, in which she has graced the stages of the Baxter Theatre and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Kester was placed second in the Africa Day poetry competition in 2009. More recently, she was placed in the top six in the Lover +Another national poetry competition. She believes in the transformative power of words and sees her expression as a means to ignite love, growth and unity. Her poetry has been published in the UWC Creates anthology titled This is my land (2012), and her prose has been featured in Powa’s anthology of Women’s Writing titled Sisterhood (2012).
Kester has performed at various events and locations in Cape Town. She currently co-ordinates the weekly poetry event, Grounding Sessions. She was co-curator of #CocreatePoetica at the Open Book Festival 2016. She works for the South African Parliament, Temo Consulting and The Salon on Bush Radio 89.5 FM.
Rosie Motene is a pan-African media proprietor. Her many credentials include those of award- winning actress; television and film producer; accomplished voice-over artist; and global emcee and public speaker.
Rosie was born into the Bafokeng nation but was raised and educated by her mother’s white Jewish employers in Johannesburg. She was the recipient of various educational and economic opportunities yet lost out on her identity, culture and creed. In her late thirties, Rosie embarked on a decade-long journey of self-discovery and began to write her life story. The book that emerged from this process, Reclaiming the Soil, provides insight into her tumultuous life, and the process which she went through to define her personal identity and her religious beliefs.
Sabata-mpho Mokae writes in English and Setswana, and is a lecturer in creative writing at the Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley. He is the author of a teen novella, Dikeledi, and a biography, The Story of Sol T. Plaatje, and won the South African Literary Award in 2011. His first adult novella, Ga ke Modisa, won both the M-Net Literary Award for Best Novel in Setswana and the M-Net Film Award in 2013. Mokae was a writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2014. In 2017, he received the inaugural Lesedi la Afrika Award. His third Setswana novel, Moletlo wa Manong, will be published at the beginning of September 2018.
Sahm Venter is currently the senior researcher at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, where she has worked full-time for the last ten years. She was a journalist for South African and international publications for over 20 years, mainly covering the latter years of the anti-apartheid struggle and South Africa’s transition to democracy. She covered Madiba’s release from prison in 1990, some of the talks to end white minority rule and his presidency. She edited The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela (Penguin Random House, July 2018) and co-edited I Remember Nelson Mandela (Jacana Media, 2018) with Vimla Naidoo. Other books include 491 Days by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (co-edited with Swati Dlamini, Pan Macmillan, 2012) and Conversations with a Gentle Soul which she co-authored with Ahmed Kathrada (Pan Macmillan 2017).
Sam Beckbessinger is a writer, user-experience designer and entrepreneur who is on a quest to help the emerging middle class take charge of their finances. She is the co-founder of Phantom Design, a company that has helped to build bitcoin wallets, cryptocurrency exchanges, smart credit cards and more. She lectures extensively on online culture, marketing and behavioural economics. Sam holds a BA Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town. She studied Strategy Design at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and was a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow at Yale University.
Sara-Jayne King is a South African author, journalist and radio presenter whose career spans over 15 years and four continents. She has an LLB degree and a Master’s degree in Journalism. The best-selling memoir Killing Karoline, under award-winning publisher Melinda Ferguson’s MFBooks Joburg imprint, is her first published book. Sara-Jayne is passionate about issues regarding race, identity, mental health and addiction, particularly viewed through the lens of a black South African woman. King hosts her own radio show ‘Late nights with Sara-Jayne King’ on Cape Talk. She is currently working on her second book.
Sarah Godsell is a poet, historian, educator and publisher. She was born in Johannesburg in 1985, and has lived there all her life. She has been writing ever since she can remember but only began performing in 2009. Her writing has been published in journals nationally and internationally, including Poetry Potion, New Coin, Illuminations, Astra, and the Atlanta Journal. Her debut poetry collection Seaweed Sky was published in 2016 and was a 2018 HSS awards fiction finalist. In 2018, together with Vangile Gantsho and Tanya Pretorius, she launched impepho press, a Pan-Africanist, feminist publishing house. She believes in poetry and history as part of activism; and as crucial world-building tools.
Sarah Key’s working life has taken many paths, including those of an English teacher, adult educator, life and communications skills lecturer, HIV and AIDS activist, and mentor to apprentice jockeys. She holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education. Sarah’s debut novel, Tangled Weeds, was published in 2014 by Rebele Publishers (Detroit). Her further collaboration with Rebele has seen the publication of The Sisters of Light trilogy – The Dandelion Clock (October 2015), The Butterfly Wind (November 2016) and The Starlight Tide (September 2017). The trilogy is set in southern Africa over the course of four and a half months during 1988 and 1989. The books, which can be read as stand-alone titles, track the exploits of four gusty young women. They have extraordinary settings, and are peopled with characters drawn from the rich cultural diversity of South Africa.
Sarahina Mayoyo is a highly popular public speaker; an author; a life coach; and a facilitator of change programmes. She founded FaceOff Movement, an organisation that creates platforms to empower individuals and provide healing through storytelling. She is currently a freelance diversity training specialist at Celebrating Humanity International and a coaching facilitator for the Tears Foundation. Her self-published debut book, I Fell in Love with My Abuser, But God, is a true account of her life and how she found the power to overcome horrific circumstances.
Hassim is a South African author and public sociologist who has lectured in the academy at various universities. Her first bestseller was launched at the Cape Town Book Fair in 2007 and her work has been well received both locally and internationally. A theatrical production inspired by her novel on domestic violence, SoPhia (2012), was performed at the State Theatre in Pretoria in August 2014. Her work has been shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg’s Creative Writing Prize and for the prestigious K Sello Duiker Award (in 2013). In 2014 she was recognised by UNESCO and the London Book Fair as one of the top 39 African writers under the age of 40 in Africa south of the Sahara. Her winning story was published in the AFRICA39 anthology by Bloomsbury UK. She is also the publishing director at WordFlute Press.
Shailja Patel is an internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, essayist, theatre artist and political activist. She is the author of the bestseller Migritude, based on her one-woman show of the same name. Her poems have been translated into 17 languages. In 2017 she was guest writer at the Jozi Book Fair.
Sibahle Malunga previously worked in the financial services sector, gaining invaluable experience of South Africa’s leading financial institutions. In 2015 she founded the website myafricanbuy, which serves as an online shopping portal providing market access for a range of African entrepreneurs. The website advertises high-quality products manufactured by African-owned businesses throughout the continent. Since Malunga’s love of reading enabled her to see a gap in the market for authentically local literature that speaks of the contemporary consciousness of Africans, the products on offer include a range of books published on the continent.
Prof. Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu is an executive director at the South African Democracy Education Trust and a professor of history at the University of South Africa. He is the editor-in-chief of the multi-volume Road To Democracy In South Africa book series. He is also co-editor, with Miranda Strydom, of The Thabo Mbeki I Know.
Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean scholar, writer and filmmaker. She holds a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. While a PhD candidate her essay,‘“Body” of Evidence: Saartjie Baartman and the Archive’, was published by Palgrave-MacMillan in an anthology titled Representation and Black Womanhood: The Legacy of Sarah Baartman. Siphiwe has an MA in African Studies and an MFA in film from Ohio University. While a film student, she made a short film, ‘Graffiti’, that won the Silver Dhow at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Siphiwe received her BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. The Theory of Flight is her first novel.
Siphiwo Mahala is a prominent novelist, short story writer and playwright. His books include the novel When A Man Cries (2007), which he translated into his native isiXhosa as Yakhal’ Indoda (2010), and African Delights (2011), which in January 2016 was listed by the The Guardian newspaper in the UK as one of the top ten must-read books in the world. His debut play, The House of Truth, was first performed by the venerable actor Sello Maake ka-Ncube to rave reviews and sold-out shows at the prestigious Grahamstown National Arts Festival. The House of Truth is now published as a book by Iconic Productions (2017), a new independent production house.
Mahala served as Head of Books and Publishing at the national Department of Arts and Culture for over ten years. He now works for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Siphokazi Jonas is a storyteller and her work in poetry and in the theatre is fuelled by ordinary lives. Her work engages with questions of faith, identity, gender-based violence, cultural and linguistic alienation, black women in rural spaces, and the politics of the everyday. She has appeared at the Open Book Festival, Word N Sound International Youth Festival, Poetry Africa, and Abantu Book Festival. Jonas has been a featured act at numerous poetry sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She was a runner-up in the 2016 Sol Plaatje European Union Award and was crowned the first Cape Town Ultimate Slam Champion in 2015.
Siphokazi Jonas holds an MA in English Literature as well as a BA in Drama and English. She runs writing and performance workshops for children and adults as part of her Page to Podium series. Siphokazi is also a guest teacher on Spoken Word and Performance at an elementary school in Gainesville, Florida.
Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is an advocate based in Johannesburg who specialises in public law. He holds degrees from the University of Transkei, Rhodes University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also spent a year as a researcher for Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson.
Tembeka was a member of the legal team for the Economic Freedom Front that argued successfully in the North Gauteng High Court that the Public Protector’s report regarding the Gupta family’s involvement in state capture should be made public. He is a research associate at the University of Johannesburg, and a research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is also a member of the South African Law Commission, which advises Parliament and the executive about existing laws and proposed amendments to South African legislation.
Terry Shakinovsky is a journalist who has experienced deployment across the world. She holds a postgraduate degree in History. As a student and a United Democratic Front activist, she worked with the Detainees’ Parents Support Committee. She is now the publications co-ordinator at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection in Johannesburg.
Thato Rossouw is a literature and literacy activist whose work has appeared in a number of publications including Sunday Times, Culture Review, The Journalist, and Africanah.com. He is also a freelance writer at AfroLiterature, Books LIVE and FunDza; a contributing writer for IRAWA; and a book reviewer and art blogger. He is currently studying Art History and Philosophy at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.
Rossouw was recently published in the youth anthology #Can’tStopReading and is currently working on his first book: FunDza Community College: A History.
‘I’m a lover of literature and spend most of my time reading,’ he says. In 2016 he ran a campaign called #52BooksIn52Weeks, in which he set out to read as many books as there are weeks in the year as a way to raise awareness about the importance of reading. When he breaks from his study schedule, he spends most of his time with young people teaching them the importance of reading and writing.
Thuli Nhlapo is a multi-award-winning print journalist, television producer and published writer with over twenty years’ experience. She has worked for major newspapers and magazines both locally and abroad, including the Mail & Guardian where she began her journalism career and True Love where, as a freelance journalist, she developed her writing hobby into a full-time, paying job.
As a print journalist, she received the African CNN Journalist of the Year Award in 2004 for her article in The Star where she worked as a senior general reporter. She also won the SABC News TV Current Affairs and SABC Overall Winner Awards in 2007 for an investigative documentary on Special Assignment, which she researched, wrote, produced and directed as a specialist TV producer.
Nhlapo is the founder and former executive producer of Cutting Edge – a youth investigative current affairs show at the time. She has worked for world respected television stations such as ABC News in the United States of America and published articles in the Scottish Daily Mail and Orbit magazine, both in the UK, and was also a freelance writer for China News.
A born storyteller, her first siSwati novel Imbali YemaNgcamane was among the top three finalists in the M-Net Book Prize in 1997 and the novel was also the winner of the African Literary Award in 1996. Also, her two poems were published in a Zulu anthology called Isikhetho in 1995. Nhlapo’s memoir, Colour Me Yellow, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Sunday Times Alan Paton Award 2018.
A non-religious but deeply spiritual mother of two sons, Nhlapo answered her calling as a traditional healer – an African uhlanya – in 2017. She lives in Johannesburg.
Tina Soetzenberg is a South Africa in her twenties who says that she masquerades as a journalist by day but is a confirmed bookworm at night. In 2015 she created a blog focusing on book reviews in the young adult genre (A Write Review). The blog provides readers with frank reviews and excellent book photography. Her intention in starting it was to provide a safe online space that would celebrate every aspect of books and the remarkable ways in which they bring people together. She encourages her readers to share their opinions and their thoughts about news in the book community.
Tina Soetzenberg believes that her blog has helped to inspire a reading community of people across the globe; and enabled members of this community to share their love of reading with one another.
Torsten Rybka, known on stage as Clear, was born in South Africa and raised in Ga-Rankuwa Unit 8. Clear started a poetry movement for the youth in his community, a place to call home away from home for those who aspired to be poets. In 2016, he produced, directed and performed his poetry production, Speaking From Experience (Growth), with a jazz band and four female voices at the State Theatre. The production was then sent to the first ever Trade Fair festival at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The production won a special merit award, presented to Clear by Pamela Nomvete.
In 2017 Clear hosted the Speak Out Loud poetry competition finals and also performed at the Oppikoppi Festival in Limpopo. Clear then toured Washington DC for a two-week poetry programme hosted by Jonathan B. Tucker. Clear states: ‘I believe and know that music, like poetry, is medicine. I would love to make a difference by healing the world from whatever illness it is going through, through the medium of hip hop and poetry, one word and sound at a time.’
Tracy Going is a former TV and radio news anchor, and has won multiple awards for her work. She has written two highly successful children’s storybook cookbooks. African Animals – Rhymes & Recipes was a bestseller in South Africa. Her second cookbook, Awesome Animals – Rhymes & Recipes, received the prestigious Best in South Africa Gourmand Cookbook Award, and was also awarded second prize at the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards at the Paris Cookbook Fair in 2013. She resigned from her lecturing position at the AFDA Film School in Cape Town to write her memoir Brutal Legacy, a heart-breaking yet triumphant narrative of a romantic relationship that quickly turned violent and abusive. Her story is conveyed against the backdrop of a childhood spent on a smallholding in Brits, in a family environment coloured by the unpredictable rage of an alcoholic father. It is an account that is brutal and honest, but ultimately uplifting in the realisation that healing is a lengthy process, and that self-forgiveness and acceptance are essential if life is to be fully embraced.
Tshegofatso Senne is a black, queer, feminist writer, speaker and digital content creator. She writes and speaks on issues concerning feminism, sexual and reproductive health and pleasure, consent, rape culture, race, intersectional social justice and pop culture. Senne’s writing has appeared in Mail & Guardian Friday, The Citizen, MTV Shuga, W24 and Huffington Post SA, and one of her essays was published in Writing What We Like (edited by Yolisa Qunta). Senne’s paper ‘Deaf women’s lived experiences of their constitutional rights in South Africa’ was published in the feminist academic journal Agenda.
Senne has made numerous impactful radio and TV appearances on various SABC stations and Power FM, and also runs workshops in her areas of interest.
Unathi Magubeni is a South African writer who left the corporate world in 2009 in order to focus on his writing. His first book, a collection of poetry called Food for Thought, was published in 2003. Nwelezelanga, The Star Child, his 2016 debut novel, was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2016 and for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize in 2017. The book managed to achieve fiction lifetime expectations (for this country) in a mere four months; and continues to be warmly received by a variety of South Africans. Unathi uses his writing as a healing response to current cultural norms. He is a member of PEN South Africa.
Unathi Slasha, also known by the nom de plume ‘Dark-blood the bard’ is a spoken word artist, performer, literature enthusiast, poet and short story writer. He was born in 1989 in Dispatch in Nelson Mandela Bay, infamous for its extremely high rate of illiteracy and dearth of artistic activism. One of Slasha’s short stories and a few of his analytical poems have been published in an annual literary journal called Ntinga, as well as in Expressions. The Bard has performed at numerous local literary events. In 2012 he was one of the poets chosen to demonstrate spoken word poetry to high school pupils at poetry workshops during National Book Week at the Red Location Museum in New Brighton.
Vanessa Bower is a storyteller based in Kempton Park. She has been telling stories for 15 years and has participated in some of the International School of Storytelling courses held in South Africa. Bower has told her stories in schools, and performed with Nomsa Mdlalose and Bongiswa Kotta at the launch of the Freedom Park Museum. She has long been associated with the Sibikwa annual storytelling festival, both as a ‘teller’ and as a workshop facilitator. She is a member of the Johannesburg Storytelling Circle, with whom she has performed in children’s homes and retirement villages, and at public venues.
Warren Ingram has been a financial planner since November 1996 and a CFP® professional since 2005. He was the Financial Planning Institute’s Financial Planner of the Year in 2011 and their Media Award winner in 2013. He is the author of two best-selling personal finance books, How To Make Your First Million and Become Your Own Financial Advisor. He is also a regular guest on 702 Radio/CapeTalk with Bruce Whitfield and writes a regular column for Fin24.
Warren co-founded Galileo Capital Group with Theo Vorster in 2005 and the Group now employs more than 100 people with 6 offices in South Africa.
Xabiso Vili is a performer, writer, social activist and soul collaborator. His writings explore his inner world in order to relate to the outer world. He is the champion of multiple slams and Word N Sound poet of the year in 2014 and 2015. Xabiso has been published online and in various anthologies. He has performed all over South Africa, in Scotland, the UK, the US and India. He believes that art influences his community positively and is constantly working towards creating alternative stages for art to be shared. Xabiso also runs writing, performance and event organising workshops through Scribe Rites, a performance writing collective he co-founded, which has produced other award-winning writers and performers. He released his album, Eating My Skin, created with Favela Ninjas in 2016. His one-man show, Black Boi Be, has travelled extensively to critical acclaim and Laughing In My Father’s Voice is his first collection of poems to be published.
Zane Meas has been an actor for the past 31 years and has appeared in numerous stage, television, film and radio productions. He is best known as the rugby hero Mackie from the television series The Game; as the cruel and vindictive teacher, Mr Botha, in Molo Fish; and as Jack van Onselen in the soap Isidingo. Meas was recently seen as Neville Meintjies in the popular daily drama 7de Laan on SABC2 and in Sober Companion on SABC3. He is currently appearing as Wesley Thompson on Scandal.
Meas established The Fatherhood Foundation of South Africa in 2006; and speaks throughout the country on the effects of ‘fatherless-ness’. He has addressed more than 700 hundred seminars across South Africa, and has reached out to thousands of people, with his message. His presentations on fatherhood have been widely received and continue to garner support from all sectors of the population in the country.
His music album in Afrikaans, entitled Hart van die Vader and featuring songs he wrote based on the work he does with men and fathers, won an ATKV Lier Award for 2009. He is in studio at present producing an English album with a similar theme, and is also currently developing a radio and television talk show based on his Fatherhood Foundation work.
Meas has written a book, Daddy, come home, which was published by Struik Christian Media and
has been in major book stores since the first week of May 2010. He was a featured writer for Lig magazine for four years and wrote over 50 articles on fatherhood and family matters. He is hoping to have the articles published as a Family Devotional. His second book, Happy Families, Happy Nation, is currently being edited. Meas also produced and wrote the feature film Father, set in the Cape Flats and released in March 2013.
He has been married to Megan for 25 years and they have five kids, two dogs and a mortgage.
Zanele Dlamini hails from Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal. She is the self-published author of Plumeria and Wounds of Ignorance. Dlamini worked with Book Dash to create two children’s books: Sindi and the Moon, and Rainbow Cloud, the Story of Mkabayi and Mamma. She is the director of Lending Pages, a division of ZahrCreations, which concentrates on self-publishing, content production and writing consultations. She is a qualified medical technologist in clinical pathology and blood transfusion medicine. Zanele lives in Johannesburg.
Zimitri Erasmus is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Anthropology at Wits University. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town(2001).Race Otherwise:Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph, and expresses the full amplitude of Erasmus’s thinking about the ways in which race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social, and has been described thus: ‘not without indignation, and not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work of thinking.’ In 2018 Zimitri was a visiting scholar at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA, where she conducted research into the work of Sylvia Wynter.
Zweledinga Pallo Jordan (born 22 May 1942, Kroonstad, Free State) is a South African politician. He was a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, and was a cabinet minister from 1994 until 2009. His latest book, Letters to Friends and Comrades, is the ultimate collection of his piercing and yet embraceable thoughts and inquiries as an astute literary historian.