SABDC now owns the South African Book Fair

13/03/2017 / South African Book Fair

The South African Book Fair is now owned by the SABDC and has been incorporated into the existing National Book Week. NBW 2017 will take place from 4 to 10 September, and will provide a springboard for the SABF, which will be staged from 8 to 10 September 2017 in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Since the last few weeks of 2016, the team heading the South Africa Book Fair (SABF) has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders involved in the life and growth of the book in South Africa and on the continent. We are pleased to be able to report that we are reaching the end of the planning phase and are thus able to provide updates on developments towards a revitalised SABF with broader goals than before.

Home of SABF 2017
The Newtown Precinct will be the home of SABF 2017. Various venues will be used to provide the necessary spaces and platforms for the programme of activities planned. They include Museum Africa, the Market Square, the Market Theatre, Kippies and the Newtown Junction.
The Fair will also be turning Johannesburg into a book, by using graffiti, illustrations and stencils on walls around the city to display excerpts from poetry and other writing.
There is ample parking available in the area. The organising team has also been liaising with t various establishments situated just a few metres from all main venues for ease of access and encouraging activity around the precinct for the duration of the Fair.

Aims of the revitalised Fair

Among other things, SABF 2017 will:

  • Stage a captivating literary festival with a focus on African literature and on the history of South African literature.
  • Promote a culture of reading and increase access to books.
  • Present the latest research on reading in South Africa, and outline its usefulness to various sectors.
  • Stress the importance of our libraries in South Africans’ access to books, by setting up a demo library for the duration of National Book Week.
  • Promote reading for children and youths in a variety of South African languages.
  • Provide an opportunity to showcase and grow the South African book industry.
  • Forge and promote partnerships across the industry, both inside South Africa and across our continent.
  • Focus on entrepreneurship, and on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the sector.
  • Encourage enterprise and skills development across the industry.


The literary festival

Among other things, SABF 2017 will:
The literary component of SABF 2017 promises a varied line-up of events for diverse audiences, with generous offerings of fiction and non-fiction. There will be everything from readings of children’s books, through poetry and performance, to engagement around contemporary political issues; from book tours and book-club chats to test kitchens for recipe books on local-cuisine; and from practical workshops to ‘philosophy cafés’. With more than 100 South African writers and at least five international guests participating, and more than 60 events on the programme, this aspect of the Fair will amply showcase the tantalising benefits of being part of a reading public.

The Business2Business space
The slightly more industry focused, but equally stimulating, Business2Business programme promises interaction among the various key stakeholders in the book value chain. This space is intended to provide opportunities for all those who use it to full effect.

Exhibition spaces

The key information for exhibitors is as follows:

  • Registration opens on 3 April 2017.
  • There is exhibition space of more than 600 m2 available, with storage space a priority.
  • Stand sizes range from 2 m2 to 24 m2.
  • Exhibitors will include book-industry companies, ancillary services and institutions in the book trade.
  • There will be a Magic Tent for children’s activities.
  • The Kippies building will house the demo library.

Publicity and marketing
In 2016, National Book Week (NBW) garnered R44 million in PR value. Its hosting of the SABF means that the ‘muscle’ of NBW can be used to encourage support for the Fair.
PR coverage will be garnered from all media platforms and we are also proud to confirm the renewed support of the SABC Foundation for NBW 2017. This entails TV adverts on SABC 1, 2 and 3, and radio adverts on all 11 SABC stations. We will weave Book Fair messages into these adverts, to encourage people based in and around Gauteng to attend the Fair.

We continue to welcome suggestions
The planning phase has grown the Fair into an organic and exciting book-industry event. Very creative ideas have been hatched by all those we engaged with, and we are carefully nurturing these ideas into fully fledged events.
We continue to welcome suggestions for SABF 2017, and invite you to share your energising and forward-moving ideas with the SABF team at: sabookfair@sabookcouncil.co.za