In 2015, novelist Thando Mgqolozana imagined a healing space for black readers and writers, and in 2016 with the help of novelist Panashe Chigumadzi as Programme Curator the inaugural Abantu Book Festival, of which Mgqolozana is founder and director, took place in Soweto. It was a roaring success.
Now in its second year, the Abantu Book Festival is set to become an annual pilgrimage for black writers and readers held in Soweto to celebrate the rich and diverse literary heritage emerging from the African continent.
“While the book remains the central medium of the festival, we have poetry and musical performances, writing and publishing workshops, panel discussions and in-conversations, as well as film-screening woven into the mix.” The best poets, novelists, playwrights, biographers, literary scholars, musicians, actors, activists, thinkers, and readers from as far as can be imagined, will take over the historic location of SOWETO and make it a literary village from the 7-10 December 2017.
The day events are held at the Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, and the night sessions at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani. Entry is free for day events, and at night tickets cost R20.00 only. The designated bookseller has a fine selection of titles by black writers on sale for the duration of the festival.
The programme has been released and can be found on their website here.