The 4th Annual Abantu Book Festival

Promoting a culture of reading, writing and literacy
at the 4th Annual Abantu Book Festival

By Phindi Maduna

As the official custodian of the country’s Nation Brand, Brand South Africa was pleased to partner with the Abantu Book Festival for the second year in a row. The organisation consistently promotes African youth development and advocates for the culture of reading, writing and literacy.

The four-day celebration of African arts and culture which took place from 5 to 8 December this year, goes a long way in showcasing the vibrant township of Soweto to South Africans and people the world over. What started off as a mainly continental gathering has now developed to become an internationally supported and much anticipated get-together. There is no better place than the historic location of Soweto to redress the effects of the apartheid system that displaced spaces occupied by black people. In the post-apartheid era, education is at the heart of nation building. Education has proven to be instrumental in shifting this displacement and mind-sets.

Once again, Brand South Africa partnered on the Creative Writing Workshop Masterclass. This is an effort to mentor writers with skills and competencies to share their stories with the world. This is an important educational interaction and exchange of information for aspiring writers who may otherwise not get the opportunity to engage with seasoned authors.

Mohale Mashigo, the convenor of this year’s workshop, is one such seasoned author whose critically acclaimed debut novel ‘The Yearning’ brought much needed original subject matter to the South African literary scene in 2016. It is also noteworthy that Mohale is an all-round creative – a singer, songwriter and poet. Brand South Africa urged the participants to take the opportunity to learn and draw inspiration from her.

“To Thando Mgqolozana and his team of creatives, you exemplify youth who have emerged as a creative and constructive force that can find solutions to South Africa’s social, economic and political challenges.” Said Thulisile Manzini, Brand South Africa’s Acting Chief Executive Officer.