Achmat Dangor has published four novels. Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2004 and for the International Dublin Impac Award in 2003. Dangor’s new novel, Dikeledi, will be released in August 2017. Together with a star-studded panel at the SABF, he will reflect on a life of writing.
Ameera Patel received recognition as a storyteller, and was named one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016. She also received the Premier’s Special Recognition Award for Youth Excellence and Service. She is an actor, writer, theatre‐maker and poet residing in Johannesburg. Her debut novel, Outside the Lines, published by Modjadji Books, was longlisted for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. The German translation rights for the book have been sold. Her play ‘Whistle Stop also received recognition via a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award (2014) and a PANSA New Writer’s Award (2014). Patel’s work centres on the connections and rifts that occur between people when their worlds collide. She has a BA in Theatre and Performance (UCT), and received a distinction for her Master’s in Creative Writing (Wits).
André Odendaal is Honorary Professor in History and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape. He was founding director of the Robben Island Museum and is currently writing full-time. With Albie Sachs, he is busy with books on African intellectuals and the making of modern South Africa. Odendaal is also working with various authors on a multi-volume history of South African cricket from 1795 to 2015, which aims to provide a comprehensive post-colonial history of a colonial game.
From an early age, Angela Makholwa harboured dreams of becoming a storyteller. When she was 13, her love of the written word resulted in the publication of her first short story in the popular youth publication Upbeat Magazine. From that moment, the bug bit. Angela went on to graduate as a Journalism major at Rhodes University and practised as a journalist for several years before starting her own PR and events-management company – Britespark Communications – in 2002. Her debut novel, Red Ink, was a crime thriller set in Johannesburg and was published to both public and critical acclaim in 2007. This was followed by The 30th Candle, a book that revolved around four university friends navigating their way towards their 30th birthdays, with sometimes unexpected and humorous results. The Black Widow Society, published in 2013, follows the cloak-and-dagger workings of a secret society of middle-class women who are plotting to eliminate their errant husbands through devious and underhand means, giving fresh meaning to the words ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ Angela’s new book, Blessed Girl, will be available at bookstores in October 2017.
Antonia de Luca is a chef, an author, a foodie and an entrepreneur. Her food journey started at a young age, while growing up in a passionate Italian family on an organic farm in South Africa. While studying for her MBA in Australia, Antonia made the conscious decision to adopt a holistic healthy lifestyle, and the experiences related to this choice have enabled her to help others adopt healthier eating and lifestyle habits. De Luca has travelled extensively, exploring different cuisines from around the globe and moulding her creative flair for food into signature plant-based dishes. In 2010 Antonia opened a wholly plant-based establishment, Leafy Greens Café, on her family farm. The restaurant has become a popular gastro destination and has won numerous food awards. When not in the kitchen, De Luca loves to share her passion and knowledge of food and health through through talks, seminars and workshops, thereby engaging with people from all walks of life.
Athambile Masola is currently doing her PhD on Noni Jabavu’s memoirs while teaching at the University of Pretoria as a lecturer on the New Generation of Academics Programme nGAP. Her work questions the erasure of black women in South Africa’s literary historiography and centres on women’s lives and stories. She is also a writer and blogger, and her work has appeared in Prufrock, Sable Literary Magazine, Mail & Guardian, Daily Dispatch, The Sunday Independent and The Journalist. At SABF 2017, Masola will be running Young Adult Writing workshops.
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyò has written for Farafina, Elle magazine, Lawino magazine, Metro, Litro, the BBC and many other platforms. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, and has worked as an editor for Saraba magazine since 2009. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. Her debut novel, Stay with Me, was shortlisted for the Kwani? Manuscript Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Adébáyò has received fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Sinthian Cultural Centre, Hedgebrook, the Oxbow School of Art and Ebedi Hill, and was shortlisted twice for the Miles Morland Scholarship.
B Camminga received a PhD from the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA) at the University of Cape Town. Their work considers the interrelationship between the conceptual journeying of the term ‘transgender’ from the Global North and the physical embodied journeying of transgender asylum seekers from countries within Africa to South Africa. Their research interests include: transgender rights, migration, asylum and diasporas; necropolitics, notions of privacy and the bureaucratisation of sex/gender; and the history of ‘trans phenomena’ in South Africa. They are interested in what the different invocations of being gendered and sexed mean in South Africa in relation to the available rights and protections, and how this works in tension with local, regional and transnational perceptions (and antagonisms) over the ‘human’ of human rights. Recent publications include ‘Catch and Release: Transgender Migrants and Opposite of Deportation in South Africa’, Lo Squaderno: Explorations in Space and Society, 44, 29–31; and ‘Categories and Queues: The Structural Realities of Gender and the South African Asylum System, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 4(1), 61–77. Their current book project, Beyond the Mountain: Queer Life in Africa’s ‘Gay Capital’, with Dr Zethu Matebeni, explores the conflicting iterations of race, sex, gender and sexuality that mark the city of Cape Town.
Born in Cape Town, Barbara Boswell writes to untangle the intersections of gender and race in her fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of Grace: A Novel (2017), published by Modjaji Books, and is currently completing a book on the history of Black South African women writers’ fiction. Barbara’s writing has been published in the literary journal scrutiny2, and feminist journals Agenda, Feminist Studies and Feminist Formations, as well as the Mail and Guardian, The Conversation, and The Journalist. Barbara holds degrees in Journalism from CPUT, and Gender Studies from the University of the Western Cape. After 10 years in the US, she returned to South Africa and now lives in Johannesburg, where she is a feminist literary scholar based in the Department of English Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. Boswell will talk on hidden figures in the African imagination.
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.
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, founder of Cassava Republic Press – one of the continent’s most industrious and successful publishing houses – will participate in mapping ways in which we might grow the African book market.
Billy Kahora is managing editor of Kwani? journal and other Kwani? publications, including the visual narratives 24Nairobi and Kenya Burning. He has been Kwani? Litfest curator of the Kwani? Literary Festival since 2008 and in 2015 curated Writers in Conversation: Beyond the Map of English. Billy is a prolific and highly acclaimed writer and has been awarded writer’s fellowships in Denmark, Germany, Italy and the UK. He recently taught on the MA in Creative Writing course at Rhodes University, and has also taught writing workshops in East Africa for the past ten years. At SABF 2017, Billy will look specifically at growing the African book market and creating a reading culture in the country.
Bontle Senne is a writer and literacy advocate for children’s literature written in the indigenous languages. She is a former managing director at the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, a trustee of READ Educational Trust and a part owner of feminist trade publishing house Modjaji Books. She was shortlisted for the Golden Baobab Prize in 2014. Her other writing includes an Afrocentric adventure/fantasy series of four books for 9-to 12-year-olds called Shadow Chasers (published by Cover2Cover between 2016 and 2018). Senne has spoken about African children’s books and reading around the world − in Congo-Brazzaville, France, Germany and South Africa.
Brian Kantor, author of Get South Africa Growing (Jonathan Ball, 2017), has had a long and distinguished academic career at the University of Cape Town, where he is Professor Emeritus after serving as lecturer and professor of Economics, and as dean of the Faculty of Commerce. His career has included stints as a visiting professor at Carnegie-Mellon University Pittsburgh PA (1978−79) and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, New York (1994). Kantor has served on government boards and commissions, has consulted within the financial arena and held directorships in various listed companies. This diverse experience has spanned South Africa, the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. Kantor’s research on monetary and financial economics has been widely and frequently published. He has received accolades for various business achievements, including his work as founding chairman of the V&A Waterfront Company (1988−2001). He is currently Chief Investment Strategist and Economist at Investec Wealth and Investment in Cape Town.
Brian Wafawarowa has a BA Hons from the University of Zimbabwe, an MA Lit from Wits University and an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town. He is also a 1st dan martial arts student with Kimura Shukokai International.
Wafawarowa has had an impressive career in the publishing industry in South Africa. He was formerly managing director of New Africa Books, publishing director of Juta Publishers, and chair of the South African Book Fair and the African Publishers Network. He is currently Learning Services Executive Director at Pearson, President of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa and a board member of the International Publishers Association. A trustee on the Exclusive Books Reading Trust and the Pearson Marang Education Trust, he is also a board member on the FP&M SETA and on DALRO (the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation).
Carol Levers was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up under apartheid. Her family filed for political asylum and emigrated to the US in 1989, when she began volunteering part-time at the West Wyandotte Library in Kansas City. Levers attended the Kansas City Community College and completed her Associate’s degree in 1993. She later obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management from Park University; and a Master’s in Library Science from Emporia State University in 2001. She was sworn in as a US Citizen in 1999.
Levers represents Wyandotte County on the Northeast Kansas Library System’s Executive Board, and serves on many other local and statewide boards. She helped write a grant for the ‘Emporia Diversity Initiative: Matching Recruitment with Retention Strategies’, for which the body received some $860,000.00, all of it designed to recruit, train and retain local minority library staff and students for library service in Kansas, Colorado and Oregon. Thus far, 42 students have graduated on the programme. Levers received the I Love My Librarian Award in 2008 in New York City, where she was hosted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2010, she became the first woman and person of colour to become the director of libraries for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library system. Inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame of the Kansas City Kansas Community College, Levers manages five public libraries, a fleet of 3 mobile libraries and 48 school libraries.
Christa Kuljian is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg. She writes and teaches narrative non-fiction, and is currently a Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER). She is also the author of two books, Sanctuary (Jacana Media, 2013) and Darwin’s Hunch (Jacana Media, 2016). Her first book was written after she was awarded a Wits Ruth First Fellowship in 2010; and gave her Ruth First Memorial Lecture on the refugee crisis at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg. Her second book was inspired by her BA studies in the History of Science with palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould at Harvard in 1984. Kuljian received her Master’s in creative writing, which focused on narrative non-fiction, from Wits University in 2007. Her writing has appeared in City Press, Sunday Times, Mail &Guardian, New Contrast Magazine and Botsotso.
Christian Robinson is a 2016 Caldecott Honoree and also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honour for his art in Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. Leo: A Ghost Story, illustrated by Robinson and written by Mac Barnett, was named a 2015 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. His Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, written by Patricia Hruby Powell, garnered too many awards to mention. Based in San Francisco, Robinson is also an animator and has worked with The Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios. He will work with talented new illustrators at SABF 2017, thereby assisting us in developing much-needed black illustrators for the industry.
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.
Craig Higginson is an internationally acclaimed playwright and novelist who lives in Johannesburg. His plays have been performed and produced in many theatres and festivals around the world, including the National Theatre in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Traverse Theatre and the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End. His novels include Last Summer (published by Mercure de France in 2017), The Landscape Painter and The Dream House (published by Mercure de France in 2016). Craig has won several awards, including the Sony Gold Award for the Best Radio Drama in the UK, an Edinburgh Fringe First, the UJ Award for South African Literature in English (twice) and the Naledi Award for Best South African play. He is currently under commission with Headlong and The Ink Factory (John le Carre’s production company) to adapt Le Carre’s novel The Mission Song into a play in the UK. His new novel, The White Room, will be published in 2018. He is currently completing his PhD in Creative Writing at Wits. Craig will talk about the art of adaption at the SABF in September.
South African crime author Deon Meyer is a former journalist, advertising copywriter, Internet manager and brand strategist. He has published twelve novels and two short-story collections in Afrikaans. His books have been translated into 28 languages worldwide. He has also written, directed and produced TV series and feature films. Deon is one of South Africa’s best-known authors at the Fair. Excitingly, he will be engaging with a new crime novelist writing in one of South Africa’s indigenous languages.
Fasiha Hassan is 23 years old and holds a Bachelor of Commerce. She is currently studying toward her postgraduate LLB at Wits University and is a recipient of the Golden Key International Honors Society for excellence in academics.
Hassan served as the very first woman chairperson of the Muslim Students’ Association in 2015, and in the same year was also a leader of the Progressive Youth Alliance at Wits. She was elected Academic Officer of the Wits Student Representative Council for 2014/2015, then elected Wits SRC Secretary General for 2015/2016).
On 14 October 2015 and again in 2016, Hassan and other students put their bodies on the line in the name of free education and in the fight against fee increments. Little did they know that they would change the course of history and reignite the fighting spirit of young people in South Africa.
Hassan is at the forefront the #FeesMustFall and #EndOutsourcing movements at institutions of higher learning. She has also featured on various media and debating platforms, representing the youth of South Africa in the fight for free, quality and decolonized education. Currently, she is Deputy Secretary General of the South African Union of Students (SAUS) and Provincial Treasurer of the South African Students’ Congress (SASCO), Gauteng.
Ferial Haffajee lives in Johannesburg and is one of South Africa’s thought leaders and social commentators, effectively using her media platform to raise and discuss issues pertinent to the state of the nation. Previously the editor-in-chief of the City Press newspaper, she now holds the position of editor at large at Huffington Post SA. Ferial sits on the boards of the World Editors Forum and the International Press Institute. She is also the lead judge of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards. Haffajee has won several local and international awards, some related to media freedom and independence and others to her reporting. Her first book, What If There Were No Whites in South Africa?, was published in 2015.
Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK. Philip Jackson on Radio 4’s Opening Lines read Fiona’s short story The Fox. She tweets as @PaperCutPrint, is a Contributing Editor at Bookanista.com and a reviewer and contributor for WritersHub. She has thankfully returned to Johannesburg and will share her particular love story about this vibrant African city with SABF audiences.
Firoz Khan’s publications span development planning, housing, urban studies, applied economics, informality, institutional transformation and governance. His teaching includes research methodology, political economy, and trade and finance, all of which are presented within heterodox frameworks. His present research focuses on the political economy of development, neo-patrimonialism and governance.
Gail Schimmel is the author of a children’s book, a textbook on Advertising Law, and three novels: Marriage Vows (2008), Whatever happened to the Cowley Twins? (2013) and The Park ( 2017). A short story by Schimmel was a runner-up to the 2016 Short Sharp Stories Awards. She is an attorney and is currently acting CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority.
Grace A Musila is an associate professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University. She is the author of A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder, which explores British and Kenyan interpretations of the 1988 murder of British tourist Julie Ann Ward in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya. She was a co-editor, with James Ogude and Dina Ligaga, of Rethinking Eastern African Intellectual Landscapes, and has also published articles on Eastern and Southern African literatures, and popular culture. At the Fair, she will moderate a panel on ‘Our Untold History’.
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.
Print and broadcast professional Gugulethu Mhlungu is the host of Night Talk on talk stations Radio 702 (Gauteng) and Cape Talk (Cape Town) (Monday to Friday, from 8 to 11 pm) and has over a decade of media experience. Her radio career began in Grahamstown at Rhodes Music Radio, where she started off as a newsreader and on-air producer at the age of 17 and had become station manager by the age of 21. She holds a BA in Journalism and Anthropology, and an Honours-level post-grad Diploma in Media Management, both from Rhodes. She is the former lifestyle editor of the City Press newspaper, and in 2015 won a National Arts Festival silver award for her extensive contribution to feature-writing on arts and culture. In the same year she was also named Media 24 Legends Columnist of the year, for her incisive and thought-provoking op-eds, which regularly reflected on the state of public discourse in South Africa. Gugulethu has also worked as commissioning editor for Cosmopolitan magazine, and her freelance writing has appeared in Destiny magazine, Marie Claire and international Sorbet magazine. She is also Beyoncé’s greatest fan.
Harry Kalmer has published 11 books of fiction and staged 25 plays. His work has been published in Germany, Holland and the US. The Bram Fischer Waltz (Wits University Press 2016) was awarded the Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts in 2014. ’n Duisend Stories oor Johannesburg: ’n stadsroman (2014) was shortlisted for seven different literary awards and published in English (Penguin, 2017) as A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg.
Hennie van Vuuren works on issues of secrecy, access to information, and corruption; and is the director of Open Secrets. He has worked at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and the Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town, and for Transparency International in Berlin. A past Fellow of the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, he is active in the Right2Know Campaign. Together with Paul Holden, Van Vuuren co-authored The Devil in the Detail: How the Arms Deal Changed Everything (2011). His most recent book, Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit, was published earlier in 2017.
Hitman Ceo was born Mbongiseni Dludlu on 24 February 1991 in Daggakraal (Mpumalanga). Raised in the notorious township of Diepsloot (north of Johannesburg), where unemployment, alcoholism, single parenting and a high rate of drug abuse are the norm, this young rap superstar has achieved what most of his peers can only dream about. Hitman Ceo’s first studio-project release was in 2010. Titled Unfinished Biznis, it sold a fair number of copies on street corners and at shows. The artist was also part of a CD release by the BIG TYM HUSLA FAM (2012). The project was called ‘R5 Skafe’, and gave Hitman Ceo a platform from which to show off his unique style in rhyme delivery. In the same year, he released a solo project called 30 Degrees. His affiliation with Thumaka Music began in 2012, while he was working on his classic project Biznis iz Biznis, which was released in October of that year and featured the street anthem entitled ‘Hussle’, produced by Phatpro Flyshades. This release was followed by a radio-play breakthrough, which assured the artist’s place on the rap and hip-hop scenes.
Ivan Vladislavić lives in Johannesburg. His books include the novels The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View and Double Negative, and the story collections 101 Detectives and Flashback Hotel. In 2006, he published Portrait with Keys, a sequence of documentary texts on Johannesburg. He has edited books on architecture and art, and sometimes works with artists and photographers. TJ/Double Negative, a joint project with photographer David Goldblatt, received the 2011 Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book. His work has also won the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Alan Paton Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize and Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction. He is a Distinguished Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Wits University.
Jay Naidoo was the founding general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), then a minister in Nelson Mandela’s cabinet. He is currently a trustee for Earthrise Trust, working on new models of rural development and livelihoods. Naidoo sits on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which looks at leadership and governance in Africa, and remains committed to social justice.
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.
Jonathan Klaaren is a professor at Wits University, Johannesburg. He works in the Wits Law School and in the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in the Faculty of Humanities. Klaaren teaches, researches and writes in the areas of human rights, law, and economic and legal sociology. He has published widely and supervised numerous dissertations. His current research interests are in the legal profession, economic regulation, public law/human rights and sociolegal studies in Africa. He has served on a number of editorial committees and boards, including those of the South African Journal on Human Rights, the Law & Society Review and Law & Policy. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Yale University and law degrees from Columbia (JD) and Wits (LLB). He served as dean of the Wits Law School from 2010 to 2013 and as director of the School’s Mandela Institute from 2005 to 2007. In 2016 he served as an acting judge of the High Court of South Africa (Gauteng).
Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s best-known political analysts. He was founding editor of This Day newspaper, publisher of Sowetan and Sunday World, and a Sunday Times correspondent in London and New York. His book We Have Now Begun Our Descent is a searing, devastating and honest appraisal of South Africa in the face of state and other corruption. This renowned political journalist and commentator will make us all come face to face with the fact that we need to wake up to current realities, and to look at future scenarios in the service of a country that could still be a place on Earth to be proud of.
Kalim Rajab is a corporate executive and author of A Man of Africa – The Political Thought of Harry Oppenheimer. He edited Memory Against Forgetting, a retrospective of Drum Magazine photojournalist Ranjith Kally. Rajab is a trustee of the Helen Suzman Foundation, and a contributor to Daily Maverick.
Kapilolo Mario Mahongo is the traditional leader of the South African !Xun community in the Northern Cape, chair of the !Xun Council of Elders, chair of the South African San Institute and vice-chair of the South African San Council. He is a carrier of the San’s oral tradition, a veteran performer of traditional stories and co-founder of the Manyeka Arts Trust. In the book My Eland’s Heart: A Collection of Stories and Art, the celebrated San storyteller teamed up with his storytelling partner of twenty-two years, Marlene Sullivan Winberg, to lift from silence personal memories that testify to the human capacity to draw on storytelling as a source of healing. He also played a major role in the project that resulted in Kulimatji Nge, a book and accompanying CD that are a remarkable record of San music, ancient and modern, as performed by his community, a group of people who have found their way from southern Angola via northern Namibia to South Africa within the last few decades.
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.
Khadija Patel is the editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian and co-founder of the Daily Vox. She describes herself as ‘pushing words on street corners’ and was recently recognised as one of 25 individuals who are reshaping influence and engagement in the media. She has been published internationally by Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Quartz and Daily Maverick among other publications, and is currently completing her first book. Since 2015, Patel has been a research associate with WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research). A respected commentator on television and radio, both locally and internationally, she will talk about racism and the indelible stain it has left on our country’s psyche.
Kobus Moolman is a poet and playwright, an educator and an editor. He is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading lyrical poets, as well as a gifted writing teacher and performer of his own work. Moolman is the author of seven collections of poetry. He is the winner of the 2001 Ingrid Jonker Award, the DALRO Award, the South African Literary Award for Poetry and the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award; and the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry for his collection A Book of Rooms. In 2010 he edited Tilling the Hard Soil: Poetry, Prose and Art by South African Writers with Disabilities (UKZN Press). He is also the guest editor of the first special issue of a South African academic journal dedicated entirely to the teaching of creative writing, Current Writing 2015, 27 (2). He has also won numerous awards, both local and international, for his plays, which have been produced in South Africa and abroad. Poet and academic Kelwyn Sole says of Moolman’s work: ‘He is, in my view, possibly the most compelling voice exploring and experimenting with new ways of writing poetry at the moment.’ His poems reveal his growing focus on the body and on issues of disability. (Moolman was born with spina bifida.) Moolman has a PhD in English Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he taught for twelve years. He is currently Associate Professor of creative writing in the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape. His first collection of short fiction, The Swimming Lesson and other stories, has recently been published by UKZN Press.
Koleka Putuma’s poetry has travelled around the world, garnering the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. Her debut collection, Collective Amnesia, is causing a stir among the local literati. Putuma will bring her entrancing stage presence to the SABF as she performs her poetry there.
Lauren Beukes is the award-winning author of Zoo City, The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters and Moxyland. She’s worked in kids’ animation, as the head writer on URBO: The Adventures of Pax Africa, as a journalist writing about electricity-cable thieves and the sexual offences courts, teenage vampires and the Miss HIV+ beauty pageant for magazines including Colors, Nature Medicine and The Sunday Times Lifestyle. Lauren is the director of the prize-winning documentary, Glitterboys & Ganglands. She also works in TV script-writing and film, and is co-creator of the original horror comic series, Survivors’ Club, and writer on the New York Times best-selling graphic novel, Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom. Her awards include the Mbokondo Award for women in the arts, the University of Johannesburg Prize, the August Derleth Prize, the Strand Critics Choice Award and the Arthur C Clarke Award. Her collection of short stories and essays: Slipping, has just been published.
Leana Snyders is the director of the South African San Council. She worked on the Benefit Agreement for the San Communities and, more recently, on the Council’s Code of Ethics for Researchers (released in March 2017). Leana also initiated pre-negotiations for the growing Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre in the Northern Cape, of which she is currently the manager. Leana strongly believes in assisting vulnerable people through access- and benefit-sharing, traditional knowledge and indigenous communities’ rights; and has made this her life’s mission. At the Fair, she will share stories from the San Council.
Lebo Mashile is an award-winning poet, performer, television presenter, voice-over and recording artist, actress and public speaker whose infectious personality, fierce intellect and passion for social justice have been infused into every platform she has opted to use. Mashile has shared her work in 23 countries. She is the author of two poetry books, In A Ribbon of Rhythm and Flying Above the Sky. She recently recorded her second studio album, entitled Moya, in collaboration with Majola.
Lerato Mbangeni is a young black multimedia journalist and copywriter who, although she writes widely on social issues in South Africa, focuses on capturing the nuances of upcoming arts movements in the country following the period of struggle arts during the era of apartheid. Her writing has appeared in The Star, the Cape Times, theCape Argus, The Mercury, the Daily News (KZN), , the Saturday Star, and the African Independent; and in the online publication OkayAfrica. Mbangeni was recently one of three finalists in the 2016 Sikuvile Awards’ Young Journalist of the Year category. She is currently directing A Gentle Magic, a documentary on skin bleaching.
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.
Lola Shoneyin, founder of the ground-breaking Ake Festival in Abeokuta, will participate in discussions about the state of democracy and, importantly, the lives and future of women in Africa.
Lorraine Sithole is the founder and president of Bookworm Book Club, described as the most influential book club in Gauteng. Bookworm Book Club aims to foster a culture of life-long reading and is deeply involved in charitable activities that support learning and education. Sithole has been featured discussing books and the Club’s charitable work on various media platforms. She believes that reading is the way to unlock potential among South Africa’s youth and a way for women to find their voice. She is also an aspiring writer and is part of a group of African women chronicling their experience towards an anthology of short stories.
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. She is a PhD Mellon Scholar with Rhodes University, and is studying the work 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.
Marah Louw is a South African singer and actress who began singing with the now famous choir, Imilonji Kantu, at the age of ten. In 1973 she joined Caiphus Semenya’s musical Meropa, and toured Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and South Africa. She sang for Queen Elizabeth at a Royal Command performance in London in 1975. When she returned to South Africa, Louw’s solo career took her to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She has since toured Denmark, where she performed for the Queen in 1995 and the Prime Minister in 1998, Egypt, England, France, Scotland, Switzerland and Wales.
More recently, Louw performed a lead role in SABC 2 Television’s popular soap opera Muvhango, and has acted in numerous musicals, stage plays and feature films. In 2008 she was commissioned to produce her own TV series. She is currently acting in the Mzansi Magic (DStv) telenovela The Queen. Her autobiography, entitled It’s Me Marah, was published in 2007. It offered an intimate glimpse into a forty-year career as Louw shared her life with her readers; and described pain and hardship as well as glitz and glamour. In it she also revealed a family secret that had robbed her of peace but ultimately set her on a path to self-discovery
Masande Ntshanga was the winner of the inaugural PEN International New Voices Award in 2013, and a finalist for the Caine Prize in 2015. He was born in East London, South Africa, and graduated with a degree in Film and Media and an Honours degree in English Studies from the University of Cape Town, where he became a creative writing fellow, completing his Masters in Creative Writing under the Mellon Mays Foundation. He has received a Fulbright Award, an NRF Freestanding Masters Scholarship, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship and a Bundanon Trust Award. His work has appeared in The White Review, Chimurenga, VICE and n + 1. He has also written for Rolling Stone magazine.
Masello Motana is a South African singer, poet, actress and writer best known for her role as Ntombi in the SABC1 drama series Home Affairs, and for co-hosting the music show One. As a poet Motana has had considerable success. Her poems have been published in several collections, including Timbila and New Horizons: An Anthology of African Verse.
Matthew Booth is an ex-professional footballer who has represented South Africa at junior and senior levels. He has captained Bafana Bafana, played at the Sydney Olympics and was part of the squad for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. His professional career spanned 18 years, six of which were spent in Russia. He is currently studying for a Political Science degree through UNISA, is a trustee for the Booth Education and Sports Trust, a panellist for the South African Institute of Drugs in Sport, and a football analyst for SuperSport TV. He is writing his first book.
Mbali Vilakazi is an award-winning South African poet, performer, speaker and facilitator. Using Pan-African artistic practice as a catalyst for social change, her work deals with issues of personal and social transformation, sustainability and social justice. She has worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, The Children’s Radio Foundation, The Africa Centre, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Young in Prison, Penguin Books, The British House of Lords, Old Mutual Investment Group and the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She was the resident poet on the UNFCCC COP 17 Climate Train. Vilakazi will perform her poetry at SABF 2017.
Melvin Kaabwe grew up with worldwide exposure to higher education, having followed academic parentage that lectured at various international universities. He is Vice President of the SA Booksellers Association and Digital Manager of Van Schaik Bookstores, Southern Africa’s leading academic bookstore chain. Driving digital strategy − particularly in regard to e-book aggregation − has been his focus since successfully launching VanSchaik.com as the academic retailer’s e-commerce channel. He holds a BSc, diplomas in Business Management, various post-graduate certificates in Management and a certification as a geographic information systems practitioner.
Kaabwe has been published in various consumer periodicals and industry journals. He is a board member of the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation, which advocates for more reading books in mother tongue for African children.
Michael Schmidt is an investigative field reporter with 27 years’ experience and a reputation for producing unique and challenging copy. He has worked on some of South Africa’s leading print titles, including Sunday Times. He is a 2009 Fellow of the Academic Leaders Programme at Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), and a 2011 Clive Menell Media Fellow at the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy at Duke University (US). His fourth book, a collection of his investigative journalism into the long shadow of apartheid, Drinking with Ghosts: The Aftermath of Apartheid’s Dirty War (BestRed, SA, 2014), was longlisted for the 2015 Alan Paton Award. It was hailed by former Vrye Weekblad editor Max du Preez as ‘the best reporter’s notebook I’ve ever read’, and by author Rian Malan as ‘a scary high-speed ride through the nightmares of recent South African history, with a nerveless, dead-eyed journalist at the wheel’. His fifth book, A Taste of Bitter Almonds: Perdition and Promise in South Africa (BestRed, SA, 2015), examines conditions of exclusion over 21 years of the country’s democracy. Sunday Times wrote of it: ‘Journalism is supposed to speak truth to power, which Schmidt does fearlessly.’ Both books were longlisted for the 2016 Humanities Book Award of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Schmidt is currently researching a book-and-film work, Death Flight: Apartheid’s Secret Massacre.
Millard Arnold holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and was professor of law at Touro University and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School. He is Senior Advisor to Bowman Gilfillan, South Africa’s leading firm of attorneys. Arnold is also Executive Director of the South African Business Schools Association, Honorary Business Representative for the Government of Singapore in South Africa, and a non-executive director of listed companies Petmin and Generator Plant Hire. Formerly an executive chairman of Black & Veatch Africa, he served as executive director of Murray & Roberts and was the first ever US minister-counsellor for commercial affairs for South and Southern Africa. He has also served as US deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs.
A journalist for the Washington Post and a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Arnold editedSteve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa and Steve Biko: No Fears Expressed. In addition to his accomplishments as a prize-winning photographer, he is a published poet, an artist and an actor (appearing in films such as Ali with Will Smith, Borderline, A Critical Assignment and Diamonds).
Mpho Tshukudu is a registered dietitian with a special interest in African foods and culture. She holds a BSc Dietetics, and a postgraduate diploma in hospital dietetics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is also a FirstLine Therapy practitioner, and trained in Functional Medicine at the Institute for Functional Medicine. Her well-being approach uses food and its nutritional compounds, stress management, sleep and exercise to promote optimal health. As a feel-good enthusiast, Tshukudu eats kale to make her liver smile, even though her taste buds don’t find it funny.
Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of the novels Mrs. Shaw (2015) Black Star Nairobi (2013) Nairobi Heat (2011) and two books of poetry, Hurling Words at Consciousness (2006) and Logotherapy (2016). He is the co-founder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and co-director of the Global South Project – Cornell. The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Politics and Ownership is forthcoming (University of Michigan Press, 2018). Wa Ngugi will engage with us about reading and books, and about their future on the African continent.
Natalia Molebatsi is a Pan-Africanist cultural worker who has been responsible for introducing the work of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to the post-apartheid generation in South Africa. She has published an award winning book, We Are…A Poetry Anthology, and has sponsored and produced poetry salons with audiences of thousands for over a decade.
Poet/Publisher Nick Mulgrew is the 2014 winner of the National Arts Festival Short Sharp Stories Award, and in 2015 was shortlisted for the White Review Prize in the UK and Ireland. Most recently, he is the author of the poetry collection the myth of this is that we’re all in this together, and the co-editor, with Karina Szczurek, of Water: New Short Fiction from Africa. Nick will read excerpts of his poetry at the SABF.
Nikhil Singh is an artist, writer and musician. Former projects include the graphic novels Salem Brownstone (Walker Books, 2009), written by John Harris Dunning and long-listed for the Branford Boase Award, and The Ziggurat (Bell Roberts, 2003) by The Constructus Corporation (now Die Antwoord). His work has also been featured in various magazines, including Dazed, i-D Online, Creative Review; and in Pictures and Words: New Comic Art and Narrative Illustration (Lawrence King, 2005). His novel Taty Went West was published by Kwani? Trust in 2015 and is due for publication with an accompanying soundtrack by Jacaranda Books (UK) in late 2017; and by Rosarium (US) shortly thereafter. Recently, Taty Went West has been shortlisted for the Ilube Award for best novel in the inaugural Nommo Awards.
Niq Mhlongo was born in Soweto in 1973. He is the author of three novels: Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007) and Way Back Home (2013). Dog Eat Dog was translated into Spanish in 2006 and was awarded the Mar de Letras prize. His first short story collection, Affluenza, was published in 2016 and another is planned for 2018.
Nomavenda Mathiane began writing as a journalist for Weekend World in 1974. She says: ‘The 1976 Soweto students’ uprising caught up with me when I was a rookie, doing what was then regarded as “soft stories”, that is reporting on Girl Guide affairs, YWCA matters. The uprisings changed all that, as female journalists were removed from their comfort zone and thrown into the trenches of the struggle to swim or sink. I survived by presenting the newsroom with amazing copy which I wrote from my encounters with township residents.’ After The World and Weekend World were banned in 1977, Mathiane joined the newspaper The Voice, a black-owned and black-run political weekly that focused mainly on black news. In the 1980s, she found herself once more at the forefront of township insurgency:
‘This time I was writing for a monthly periodical called Frontline. It was during these turbulent years that my writing sharpened to a point where the essays that I produced in those years were compiled into two books titled South Africa: Diary of Troubled Times, published in the US, and Beyond the Headlines: Truths of Soweto Life, published in South Africa.’
Mathiane retired as a journalist in 2002. Earlier this year, she published the novel Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu story (Bookstorm).
Nozizwe Cynthia Jele is a thirty-something South African-born writer. She grew up in a small border town in Mpumalanga and now lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Her early claim to fame was winning both the 1st and the 4th prizes in the 2008 BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Competition. She also holds a BA in International Business from North Central College, Illinois, and is currently employed as a management consultant.
Her debut novel, Happiness is a Four-Letter Word (Kwela Books, 2010), won numerous awards, including the Best First Book (Africa region) category in the Commonwealth Writers’ Competition of 2011 and the 2011 M-Net Literary Award (Film Category). The book was adapted into film and released at the box office countrywide in February 2016. Jele also writes short stories, and contributes to magazines and other literature platforms. She is one of the ambassadors for The FunDza Literacy Trust. Her second novel will be published in 2018.
Nthikeng Mohlele was raised partly in Limpopo and partly in Tembisa Township. He attended Wits University, Johannesburg, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Art, Publishing Studies and African Literature. He is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: The Scent of Bliss (2008), Small Things (2013), Rusty Bell (2014) and Pleasure (2016).
Pamela Power was born in South Africa, educated at the Dominican convents in Harare and Bulawayo, and obtained her matric at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg. She holds an Honours degree in Drama Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg); and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand, where she taught for many years. She has worked on the television shows Top Billing, Generations, Rockville, Uzalo and Gauteng Maboneng. She is currently the script editor at Muvhango. Pamela is the author of three novels: Ms Conception (Penguin Random House SA, 2015); Things Unseen (Clockwork Books, 2016); and Delilah Now Trending (Penguin Random House SA, 2017). Delilah Now Trendingwas chosen for Exclusive Books’ annual Homebru Selection in 2017. Pamela has two children and one husband, and lives in Johannesburg.
Perfect Hlongwane is the author of the novel Jozi, which was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Debut Writing Prize in 2014 and subsequently selected as a Picador African Classic in 2015. Hlongwane is currently working on two books to be published in early 2018: a short-story collection and a poetry anthology.
Phemelo Motene is a radio and TV presenter, actress, mother and businesswoman with a zest for life. She has an innate curiosity about what is going on around her, which makes her the ideal host for the Weekend Breakfast Show on Radio 702. The show runs from 06:00 to 10:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, and covers everything from lifestyle and wellness to social issues and current affairs.
Motene began her radio career at a community radio station, took some time off to continue her studies and returned to work for Metro FM as a weekend newsreader. She moved on to present her own early breakfast show, but then transitioned to television and began acting full time. She spent more than six years focusing on her acting career, which included memorable roles in the shows Generations and Home Affairs.
This multi-talented personality took a total break from media to begin a property and diamond business. However, that proved to be very lonely for her, and her longing for the media sent her to Radio 702, where she started working behind the scenes as a producer for lifestyle and business content.
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers writes, performs and lectures in Creative Writing at Wits University, Johannesburg. Her poetry collections are Taller Than Buildings (2006), The Everyday Wife (2010), winner of the South African Literary Prize in 2011, and Ice-cream Headache in my Bones (forthcoming in 2017). She co-edited No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry translated into Mandarin (2010). Her short stories, The day that Jesus Dropped the Ball (shortlisted for Pen/Studinski Prize 2009) and Keeping Everything the Same (winner in 2009 of the National Arts Festival/Het Beschrijf Writing Beyond the Fringe). Her one-woman play, Original Skin, toured South Africa and abroad. Since 2007 she has read and performed at poetry festivals in Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Sweden, the UK and Zimbabwe, and her work has been translated into Burmese, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. In 2016 she served on the judging panel for the African Poetry Book Fund’s Sillerman Prize. She received a MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 2014 .
Richard Pithouse is an Associate Professor at Rhodes University, where he is the senior researcher at the Unit for the Humanities, and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. He has also held a George A. Miller Visiting Professorship at the University of Illinois. He is a widely published academic and has often been invited to speak and teach at universities around the world. His current academic interests are focused on political theory (and in particular Frantz Fanon), popular struggles and urban studies. Pithouse has been a regular contributor to the media over the last twenty years. While his journalism has mostly been concerned with politics, he has also written about music and poetry. He currently writes a monthly column for Mail & Guardian and a collection of his recent journalism, Writing the Decline (Jacana), was published in 2016. Pithouse has sustained a lifelong commitment to participation in popular struggles and has often been asked to share ideas with popular struggles and movements here and abroad. He has taught at the Workers’ College in Durban and at the MST political school in Brazil. Last year, together with Riason Naidoo and Jay Pather, he was a co-curator of Any Given Sunday, a set of happenings in visual art, performance, music, poetry and video in and around the city of Cape Town.
Richard Poplak is an award-winning author, journalist and graphic novelist, and a senior correspondent at South Africa’s Daily Maverick news site. He recently spent nine years travelling through the African continent and researching a book that interrogates the idea of a rising Africa. Entitled Continental Shift: A Journey Through Africa’s Changing Fortunes, the book was published by Jonathan Ball in 2016. A Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, Poplak has worked in over 30 countries in the developing world, for publications such as The Guardian, the Financial Times and the The Walrus, and serves as a member of the groundbreaking international journalist collective Deca. His next book will be an in-depth exposé of the global mining industry, and will be published by Penguin Random House.
Rosamund Haden is content developer at the FunDza Literacy Trust, where she commissions and publishes a short story every week by celebrated authors and upcoming new voices from across southern Africa. These stories are published on FunDza’s ‘library on a cellphone’, and are read and enjoyed by thousands of young readers across South Africa every day. She is always looking for new writing talent.
Haden is passionate about developing young writers and is an integral part of FunDza’s mentoring programmes, in which talented upcoming writers are offered mentorships with published authors in order to become commissioned writers. A writer of novels, short stories and children’s books, she has mentored several young writers into published authors and has worked closely with other writing mentors. Haden is also a director of Cover2Cover Books and is the co-creator of Cover2Cover’s popular Harmony High series.
Shubnum Khan is a South African author, artist and freelance writer. She was previously a Media Studies lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has a Media Studies degree summa cum laude and a Master’s degree in English cum laude. She published her first novel, Onion Tears, with Penguin. This was shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing and the University of Johannesburg Debut Fiction Prize, and has since been translated into Italian. In 2012 Khan was selected as one of the Mail & Guardian‘s Top 200 Young South Africans to watch. She has published articles with the Huffington Post South Africa, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, the Sunday Times, and Culture Trip among others. She has published short stories in New Contrast and in Flash, the short-story magazine in the UK. She has published literary work in Norway and Vietnam. In 2013 Khan travelled to Indian-occupied Kashmir and taught in a mountain village there. In 2015 she was selected for the Art Omi Ledig House Writers’ Residency in New York. In 2016 Khan was selected for the Swatch Art Peace Hotel’s Residency in Shanghai. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and on her second novel, Paper Flowers.
Shukri Toefy is co-founder and CEO of Fort. Established in 2007, Fort is today one of the few independent, internationally recognised 100% black-owned creative networks across Africa.
Toefy serves on a number of boards, including that of the Advertising Media Association of South Africa. He has been profiled in a number of publications, including Marketing Week, Sunday Times, Screen Africa, GQ and Fast Company among others. He has presented on a number of topics including creative economies, entrepreneurship, content and storytelling.
Toefy has been described as a ‘limitless thinker’, a ‘prominent player in the discussion around Africa as a final frontier for creativity’, the ‘future of African storytelling’, and has also been named a Top 40 CEO in Africa. He is socially minded and action-oriented, and actively dedicates his time and talent to making positive and tangible impacts throughout Africa and beyond.
Simamkele Dlakavu is a Fallist and has recently completed her Masters in African Literature at Wits. She has been an active participant in student movements calling for an intersectional decolonial reality in South Africa, and she has shared some of those experiences in the recently published book Rioting & Writing: Diaries of the Wits Fallists. She is the former Media and Communications Manager for Oxfam South Africa. She has also worked as a human rights television producer on one of South Africa’s most popular current affairs show: The Big Debate. In 2013, she was one of the producers for BBC’s Question Time for a special episode on Nelson Mandela. Simamkele has co-created and participated in organizations that centre Black rural and township youth like Sakha Ulutsha Lwethu and Rethink Africa. Simamkele shares her views on current affairs and politics on platforms such as: City Press, The Daily Maverick and Independent Newspapers. She has been published in journals like Buwa!: a journal on African women’s experiences. In 2015, she was a part of the 22 young women selected to attend the African Women’s Development Fund’s “Writing for Social Change Workshop” in Uganda. In 2014 the Mail & Guardian recognized Simamkele as one of South Africa’s Top 200 Young South Africans. Simamkele is currently working on her first book which is an extension of her MA thesis on the Economic Freedom Fighters with Jacana’s Black Bird Books.
Recognised internationally for her activism in women’s issues, the plight of children and the fight against segregation and racism, 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.
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.
Somizi Mhlongo is a South African celebrity choreographer, singer, actor producer director, and television personality known for his flamboyant appearances on television shows. He is the son of veteran actress Mary Twala. As a choreographer, stage director, and producer, the multi-talented Somizi has worked on numerous TV shows, and stage productions including Miss SA Teen, SA Music Awards, Metro FM Awards and Joyous Celebration, He is a judge on SA Idols and also has his own reality TV show called living the dream which airs on Mzanzi Magic .
Stacey wrote and illustrated her first book, Smelly Cats, at age seven and her second book, Bob and the Snake, when she was eight. She is now ten years old and has helped many people realise that you are never too young or too old to live your dream. Stacey runs the Stacey Fru Foundation, which drives a campaign called ‘A Child a Book’. At SABF 2017, Stacey will talk about her experiences and her writing.
Stan Bodibe has been a broadcaster since 1998. He worked for Metro FM as a music compiler, a producer and presenter of a weekend programme. He moved on to train community radio stations in 2001. He was invited to produce and later present a jazz show at SAFM. In between he trained with international broadcasters like BBC, Danish BC, Australian BC, Canadian BC and American NBC. He is a distributor for Sundance, Danish based and one of the biggest jazz labels in Europe. Back home he is a stakeholder coordinator of the International marimba and steelpan festival, mainly students from primary to high school students. Stan cannot survive without a daily dose of listening to music and reading.
Stefanie Jason is a Joburg-based cultural writer, critic and editor who occasionally also takes photographs. Currently Editor-in-chief at the cultural publication 10and5, Jason is a 2017 Fellow for the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has also been a features writer for publications such as Marie Claire SA and the Mail & Guardian newspaper, with bylines in City Press, OkayAfrica and more.
Steven Boykey Sidley is the award-winning and multi-shortlisted author of four novels and a play Shape, co-written with Kate Sidley). His books are currently in stores in Johannesburg, France and the UK, and will be available in the US stores in October 2017. Free Association grew out of Sidley’s obsession with podcasts, which fills many of his hours of any of any given day. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two children. Sidley won the UJ Fiction Prize (Debut) in 2012, and has since been shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Awards, the UJ Main Fiction Prize and the MNet Literary Award.
Sydda Essop is a South African poet, author, and social and gender activist. For five years she based herself in Beaufort West in South Africa’s remarkable Karoo region, taking trips into towns, farms and tiny settlements, doing research. There she met farmers’ wives, farmworkers, foodies, wildlife trackers and healers, many of whom shared their stories and recipes with her. A result of this journey into our South African heritage was Karoo Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and True Stories (Quivertree, 2013), a unique cookbook and social documentary featuring 70 cooks and healers ranging in age from 23 to 96. Each interviewee shared their heartfelt stories of personal challenges and triumphs, and their most precious family recipes. Representing the cultural spectrum of the Karoo, those interviewed include descendants of the Khoisan and Xhosa peoples, of Dutch, British and French settlers, and of slaves from the East; and also Greek, Portuguese, Indian, Jewish and Somali people and descendants.
Karoo Kitchen has won two awards: The international Gourmand World Cook Prize for Culinary History and an award for contribution to Arts and Culture from the Minister of Arts and Culture, Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer.
Terry Morris is based in Johannesburg, a city that never fails to excite. Whilst studying languages and literature she was drawn into the world of bookselling, working and in 1996 she began working at Pan Macmillan. She has not looked back since. As MD of Pan Macmillan, the growth of the company’s local publishing lists has been a focus of hers alongside the Pan team. She is married with two children and hasn’t lost the pleasure she feels every time she opens a new book to read to them or for herself.
Thando Manana was only the third black African player in South Africa to don a Springbok jersey when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina A. He started playing the game at the age of 16 and his route to the top was unpredictable and unusual. Within two years of picking up a rugby ball, he represented Eastern Province at Craven Week. From his humble beginnings in the township of New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, Manana grew to become one of the grittiest loose forwards in South African rugby. His rise through rugby ranks, as he earned a reputation as a tough-tackling lock and later as an openside flanker, was astonishingly rapid, especially for a black player at the time.
But it isn’t solely Manana’s rugby journey that makes Being a Black Springbok a remarkable sports biography. Also fascinating is learning how he negotiated life’s perils and pitfalls as these threatened to derail both his sporting ambitions and the course of his life. Rejected by his father early in life, he had to deal with a sense of abandonment and a missing protective figure; and to find, along the way, people to lean on. As a result he found himself having to negotiate an unlikely but fateful kinship with a known Port Elizabeth drug lord, who took Thando under his wing when he was a young, gullible up-and-comer at the famous Spring Rose Rugby Club.
Thando tells his story with the refreshing candour he has become synonymous with as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM. He has arguably become rugby’s strongest advocate for the advancement of black people’s interests in the sport, and his personal journey reveals why.
Unathi Magubeni is an Eastern Cape-based writer, sangoma and trainee herbalist, who left the corporate world in 2009. 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. Magubeni uses his writing as a healing response to current cultural norms.
Verashni Pillay is the former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian and Huffington Post South Africa. She has worked, at various periods, as a senior reporter covering politics and general news; specialises in media management; and relishes the task of putting together the right team to create compelling and principled journalism across multiple platforms. Pillay is a recipient of the CNN African Journalism Award, several Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards and an Open Society Foundation journalism fellowship. At the Fair, she will take part in a discussion on Colourism, Gender and Beauty.
Victor Dlamini lives in Johannesburg and is a literary journalist, photographer and traveller. An art and vinyl collector, he has photographed many of the world’s leading jazz musicians and writers. Dlamini is well known for his relaxed but engaging interviewing style.
Victoria Collis-Buthelezi holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She currently has a joint appointment at PARI (the Public Affairs Research Institute) and WISER (the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), dividing her time between both as part of an exciting new collaboration. She will also be leading the South African programme of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s recently launched Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity.
Victorine Mbong Shu is the author of two books: Stop Complaining! and Bring Back Involved Parenting (2016); and Trapped in Our Shadows (2017). She is an involved parenting conversationalist whose work challenges and changes the way parents, guardians and caregivers think about parenting. Shu features regularly on radio; at local and international conferences; and in newspapers, libraries, businesses and even individual households. With perspectives on parenting and identity issues that fly in the face of conventional wisdom, she has earned a reputation for straight talk, irreverence and courage in areas where many have remained silent. As she walks her path to becoming a world-famous expert in parenting, she admits that she has learned more than she ever expected about families, and that this knowledge has turned out to be a treasure that even power, wealth, fame or money could not have bought her.
Aside from twice being an award-winning author, Shu is a BrandSA ambassador, the holder of a Master’s Degree, the CEO of Profounder Intelligence Management Services, and a wife and mother of four. She has also made a contribution in the area of chapter books, where she won recognition as South Africa’s youngest award-winning author.
Yemisi Aribisala’s essays on Nigerian food and culinary culture were published by Cassava Republic Press Abuja/London. Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex & Nigerian Tastebuds tells a story of culture through the belly, and digs into the core of the Nigerian psyche. It won the John Avery Award at the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards in 2016. Aribisala regularly contributes to the Chimurenga pan-African platform and has written on Nigerian feminism, pentecostal christianity and identity. Yemisi will present a session in the Fair’s Test Kitchen space, and will also speak on colourism, gender and beauty.
Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados. She grew up in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and Cape Town, South Africa, and now lives in Johannesburg. An architect, she completed a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel, Bomboy (Modjaji Books, 2011), was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the M-Net Film Award and the Etisalat Prize for Literature; and won the South African Literary Awards First-time Published Author Award. Her short stories include ‘How About the Children’ (Kalahari Review); ‘Things Are Hard’ (Caine Prize Anthology 2012); ‘Fish’ (Moth Literary Journal); and ‘The Leftovers’ (One World Two). Omotoso was a Norman Mailer Fellow in 2013, an Etisalat Fellow in 2014, and in 2015 a Miles Morland Scholar. Her second novel, The Woman Next Door (Chatto and Windus) was published in May 2016. It was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Aidoo−Snyder Book Prize, the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and the University of Johannesburg Literary Prize.
Zakes Mda is the pen-name of Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda. He is a Southern African writer, painter and music composer. He holds an MFA (Theater) and an MA (Telecommunications) from Ohio University, and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He has been awarded honorary doctorates in literature by the universities of Cape Town and the Free State, in technology by the Central University of Technology and in art by Dartmouth College. He has published 22 books, 10 of which are novels. The rest are collections of plays and poetry, and a monograph on the theory and practice of theatre for development. His works have been translated into 20 languages, including Catalan, Dutch, German, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Serbian, Swedish and Turkish. They have won a number of awards in South Africa, the US and Italy, including the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the M-Net Prize, the Sanlam Prize (twice), The Pringle Award, the Sunday Times Literary Prize, the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award, the Premio Narrativa Sud del Mondo, the University of Johannesburg Literary Prize, the American Library Association Notable Book Prize and the Sunday TimesBarry Ronge Fiction Prize. Zakes Mda is a recipient of the Ikhamanga Order in Silver from the South African government. His novel Cion, set in south-east Ohio, was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. His memoir titled Sometimes There Is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and was the New York Times‘ Notable Book for 2012. His latest works are a novel set in rural Ohio, titled Rachel’s Blue (Seagull, 2016) which examines what happens when a rapist fights for paternity rights over the rape-conceived child, and Little Suns (Penguin Random House/Umuzi 2016), a historical novel set in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, between 1879 and 1912. Zakes Mda has published a number of articles in refereed academic journals, and has participated in literary festivals, conferences and book tours in North America, Europe, South America and Australia. His plays are performed quite often at theatre festivals in various parts of the world. He commutes between the US and South Africa, working as a (retired) professor of creative writing at Ohio University, a beekeeper in the Eastern Cape (running a project he established in 2000 with rural women), a director of NeoZane, a publishing house and animation-film production company based in Johannesburg, and an Extraordinary Professor of English at the University of the Western Cape. He is also an Honorary Patron of the Market Theatre, Development Theatre, Etisalat Book Prize and Jozi Book Fair.
Zimitri Erasmus is an associate professor of Sociology in the department of Sociology at Wits University in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph, and brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about the ways in which race works. Tuning into registers both personal and social, it 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.’