The concept of a ‘writing revolution’ is one we often hear being discussed in South Africa and raises many questions. Have we understated our role as writers in our democracy? Has the book industry played far too insignificant a role in this?
At the South African Book Fair (SABF) this year, African philosophers and writers will be debating the state of the world, Africa and South Africa, and where we all are in relation to justice and equality.
The SABF would like to encourage a pan-African debate on the role of writing in a democratic society, as the politics of democracy influence the South African book industry and have an effect on the local and African book markets.
We are very proud to have many highly acclaimed African writers on our panels at the Fair to interrogate topics such as global dystopia, nationalism and xenophobia. This means there will be a wealth of intellectual contributions and discussions on future scenarios for South Africa; and on how we can achieve a truly African style of democracy. And also, on whether a ‘writing revolution’ can be the right vehicle for this.
Winner of the Sunday Times Literary Award for 2017, Professor Zakes Mda, who is also the Fair’s guest of honour, concluded his widely shared keynote address at the awards with these lines:
“Now a new order exists in South Africa. Like all regimes before it the new dispensation is narrating the past from its own perspective, recreating and reshaping it to palliate the very present it continues to mismanage with impunity, erasing the contribution of some from the annals of history, and lionising the current crooks, the harvesters of matundu ya uhuru, the fruits of freedom.
The truth of fiction can give context to and shed new insights on the stories unearthed by your investigative reporting. It gives them longevity and digestibility. Fiction is even more essential in this age when shamelessness and impunity among the ruling elite and ‘corruption fatigue’ in the populace are leading South Africa to perdition.”