Publisher eyes bright future

RICKY Groenewald from InkSword with writer Sabata Mokae during the launch of Mokae’s book Kanakotsame in August 2015. The book was published by Inksword.    Photo: Boipelo Mere
RICKY Groenewald from InkSword with writer Sabata Mokae during the launch of Mokae’s book Kanakotsame in August 2015. The book was published by Inksword. Photo: Boipelo Mere

WHY prolong this process when we can nourish our home-grown writers and have them sharpen their craft earlier by offering workshops and mentorships for aspiring authors?”

This was asked by Ricky Groenewald, the owner of local publishing company InkSword Publishers when he motivated and encouraged upcoming and young writers to make use of the publisher’s services.

According to him, InkSword is an independent multi-media publishing company dedicated to creatively produce African stories of global appeal and enabling progressive thinking by bringing to life dreams and ideas.

It further unlocks hidden potential for economic empowerment and community upliftment.

The company thrives on publishing in indigenous languages. This means that people who have difficulty reading in English have a better chance of reading in their own language first, with the potential of reading in other languages later on.

Established in 2011 and opening its Northern Cape offices in Kimberley in 2013, the company is entering its third year in existence.

Groenewald said InkSword publishers has thus far published a total of 14 books, all in different genres X from fiction, motivational books, children’s books to poetry.

The company also published local writer Sabata Mokae’s Kanakotsame, which was launched during the 2015 Gariep Festival.

Groenewald said there has been an influx of manuscripts not only from the Northern Cape, but from different parts of the country and even from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Pittsburgh, USA.

He pointed out how many of the company’s successful published writers struggled before they achieved success.”

“InkSword is also working tirelessly to ensure that its authors are read as widely as possible by creating new markets. We ensure that the future of our storytelling heritage remains intact.”

Being the only black-owned independent publisher servicing parts of the Northern Cape, Groenewald highlighted that writers, as well as readers in the Northern Cape are starved of such services.

“Recent events, such as creative writing workshops and local book launches has shown that more of such events are needed. As a publisher, it is our responsibility to see that this is carried out, but we cannot do this alone.

“People in smaller towns need to be made aware of these services and events in order for the industry to grow, thus adding to the economy effectively. Literacy is a necessity, informed societies need to be created, understanding is needed amongst communities and individuals for a better living and working society.”

“InkSword also plans to start up a Reading Clinic to service low-income communities as well as struggling scholars who will be accommodated at our aftercare facilities as private clients to encourage reading,” he added.

He said that InkSword is assisting with setting up a writer’s guide, which is in the process of being developed, to assist reading and writing communities in the Northern Cape.

Writing workshops for local writers will also be announced soon, ahead of the writers’ festival.

“It is all good to develop and publish writers, but what would be the use of having all the writers and no readers.

“This adds to developing a sustainable market as it has been identified that readers respond more favourably to writers who hail from their own communities, writers they know and can relate to.”

Groenewald emphasised the importance of taking events and services like writing workshops and book launches to the people, who are not always able to travel to cities.

“It is there where we find the rawest of talents but they are not heard of because there is no real support on that level.

Another gap that Groenewald identified is publishing and printing in braille, which is a gap that he plans on filling.

It makes it possible for the hearing and visually impaired people to be included in programmes as well, with further opportunities for employment as proofreaders for braille, etc.

He added that publishing audio books will also make it possible to sharpen the other senses in the case of people who have suffered the loss of the use of some of their senses.

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