Creative juices of SA wordsmiths will flow at Durban’s Time of the Writer festival

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Illustration of an author. (Getty Images)
Illustration of an author. (Getty Images)

EVENT: Time of the Writer festival 2023.

Durban’s Time of the Writer festival kicks off on 16 March and runs until 21 March. 

The festival, taking place at the Alliance Francaise de Durban when it’s not online, is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This is its 26th iteration. 

The festival promises to "showcase both the creative juices of South African wordsmiths as well as their deep and critical insights into the state of the nation". 

The theme for the 2023 festival is Placemaking: Roots, Influence, Imagination and Expression.

The line-up includes Dudu Busani-Dube, Fred Khumalo, Niq Mhlongo, Lebohang Masango, Makhosazana Xaba, Kumi Naidoo and Yewande Omotoso

Dr Sindiwe Magona has been selected as the 2023 Featured Author. Her works include the novels Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night and To My Children’s Children, and her plays include I Promised Myself A Fabulous Middle-Age. On 16 March at 19:00, she will be in conversation with Zukiswa Wanner at the Alliance. 

Now you know how Mapetla died
Cover of 'Now you know how Mapetla died' (Supplied)

Among the key events (at the Alliance unless otherwise stated) are:

On 17 March at 13:00, author Zukiswa Wanner will be in conversation with author Siphiwo Mahala live in Durban to discuss the legacy of Can Themba. Mahala’s book, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of an Intellectual Tsotsi. This biography dissects and celebrates the life of an iconic figure of the South African literary world and a Drum journalist who died in exile. 

On 17 March at 17:00, there will be an online panel titled Queer Representation in Literature, featuring Welcome Mandla Lishivha and Alistair Mackay, facilitated by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane. Lishivha’s Boy on the Run is a beautiful and honest exploration of identity through grief, love and friendship, Mackay’s It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way tells the story of three queer friends trying to navigate a dystopian Cape Town. 

On 18 March at 13:00, Kyle Cowan, author of Sabotage: Eskom Under Siege, will discuss South Africa’s power crisis in an online session with Fakir. Cowan, who has covered energy matters for News24 for years, interviewed key players such as Andre de Ruyter in his quest to understand why things have gone so wrong with the country’s power utility. The festival organisers add: “Not even Eskom loadshedding will disrupt Time of the Writer from proceeding with this discussion.” 

On 18 March at 15:00, Fakir launches Sihle Khumalo’s latest book, Milk the Beloved Country, in conversation with the author. At 19:00 Fakir discusses economic crime and its far-reaching effects with the authors of The Unnacountables

On 18 March at 17:00, ASRI’s Angelo Fick facilitates a discussion about South Africa’s crime situation with Ziyanda Stuurman, author of Can We Be Safe?, Zikhona Valele, author of Now You Know How Mapetla Died, and Christopher McMichael, author of Shoot to Kill: Police and Power in South Africa

On 19 March at 13:00, Sipho Sithole, author of Maye! Maye! The History and Heritage of Kwa Mai Mai Market talks to Hombakazi Mercy Nqandeka about cultural memory re-imagined. 

On 20 March at 13:00, Buntu Siwisa, who wrote a book on Daniel Dumile Qeqe and how the rugby player helped shape the history of Port Elizabeth, and Saleen Badat, who wrote a book on the first non-racial international tennis tour, explore how sports can influence diplomatic, social and political relations. Facilated by Goolam Vahed. 

On 21 March at 14:00, Time of the Writer wraps up the World Poetry Day and South Africa Human Rights Day commemoration at the Alliance Française, with vangile gantsho, Pralini Naidoo, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, Ongezwa Mbele, Sindiswa Zulu, Kwanele Nyembe and Lebohang Masango, hosted by Inezile Hlophe. 

Click here for the full programme.  

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