Big book fair for KZN

Award-winning author Ayanda Xaba will be part of the iLembe Book Festival at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville, KwaDukuza, from February 1-3. | SUPPLIED

Award-winning author Ayanda Xaba will be part of the iLembe Book Festival at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville, KwaDukuza, from February 1-3. | SUPPLIED

Published Jan 15, 2024


Durban — Books, authors, challenging discussions and more is what the iLembe Book Festival has to offer bookworms.

The literary event takes place at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville, KwaDukuza, part of the iLembe District Municipality, from February 1 to February 3.

Festival organisers said 30 leading South African authors would participate, including one-on-one sessions with renowned authors Angela Makholwa, Joanne Joseph and Nathi Olifant, under the theme “Our Time, Our Stories, Our Voices”.

The iLembe Book Festival is a collective effort by local authors including Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner Nozizwe Cynthia Jele, the acclaimed Hlomu series author and journalist Dudu Busani-Dube, and Scarred writer Ayanda Xaba, who are all part of this year’s organising committee.

The Sunday Tribune caught up with Xaba and another participant, Simangaliso Ntshangase.

When award-winning writer Xaba learnt of the festival in its planning phases, she knew she had to be a part of it to bring the reading culture to iLembe district youngsters.

“We will have a children’s village that will offer young readers fun and help them realise that writing is fun. We will have workshops and poetry. We will also visit schools, donate books and teach the youth and grow the culture of reading and writing,” she said.

She said the motivation she could offer young people who want to be writers is to start writing and keep practising. The author said she was inspired by people, travel and giving women a voice.

“I like writing about issues that affect women. Some women do not have a voice ... that is what we are here for: to give people who do not have a voice – and those or who are uncomfortable about speaking out – a means of being heard.

“That is why it is so important to host this festival in a district such as iLembe,” Xaba said.

She said the process of writing was beautiful and she was also pleasantly surprised with people’s reception of Scarred because it is a dark story with equally dark humour.

“The message I want people to get from the book is that they should not be afraid to go after what they want, even if it is revenge,” she giggles, “and it is also about women rising above challenges and taking their power back in a male-dominated world.”

The line-up includes discussions on the art of mining the past for hidden treasures for writing inspiration, how would-be authors can get their books published, the rise of local book adaptations to television and film, popularity of crime fiction, how to pen a memoir and Ubuciko Nokulondolozwa Kolimi (Art is the Preservation of Language).

Sharing his insight under the Ubuciko Nokulondolozwa Kolimi category will be qualified journalist, author and aspiring content producer Simangaliso Ntshangase.

Author and journalist Simangaliso Ntshangase will be part of the iLembe Book Festival at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville, KwaDukuza. | SUPPLIED

“When I was invited to the iLembe Book Festival, I was happy and honoured because it would be the first time that I am part of such an event from the municipality where I am from, meaning my work is being recognised even back home,” he said.

The Ngithweseni Nginje author said he could not wait to share his knowledge with young people, and this was also motivated him to continue writing.

“I want to encourage young writers to read more. Reading improves your writing style, vocabulary and your personal character development. Also, they should be passionate about writing and not chase money because this industry is not as easy or profitable as one would assume,” said Ntshangase.

The author, who is working on his second book expected to be released later this year, said he looked forward to sharing his knowledge, meeting great writers he looks up to and learning more about writing.

Sunday Tribune