As the global community celebrates International Women’s Day today, the Centre for Creative Arts is proud to announce that the Time of the Writer festival presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of Kwazulu-Natal has a legacy of profiling and amplifying women’s voices. This year’s festival programme will be comprised of mostly women writers, thought leaders, and activists.
“Women’s voices matter. The Time of the Writer festival is determined to ensure that women’s voices are amplified even louder than ever before to reclaim our spaces and to advance the values of our democracy”, says Siphindile Hlongwa, a co-curator of the Festival. Hlongwa is also the curator of the Centre’s hugely successful Poetry Africa festival.
Headlining the Time of the Writer festival programme is author Zukiswa Wanner. She will deliver the festival’s inaugural keynote address. Warner will respond to the festival’s theme, The Writer; Whistleblower, Canary in the Mine, or Testifier. Ace journalist Marianne Thamm will unpack this question in a panel discussion that will feature award-winning investigative journalist and author Mandy Wiener.
SA Fm radio journalist Michelle Constant will speak to author Helen Moffett, playwright Nadia Davids and clinical psychologist Coralie Trotter about the impact of Covid-19 on writers’ social, political, and creative well-being. Constant will also interview enterprising author Nic Haralambous on how to survive by pushing a side hustle.
Award-winning author Zubeida Jaffer announced that she will be heading up her own publishing house and will discuss her remarkable career as a novelist, journalist, and biographer. She will talk about her writings about the life of Charlotte Manye Maxeke, a feisty political activist who was at the heart of founding the ANC’s Women’s League.
In a discussion exploring feminism and writing, journalist Ayesha Kajee will host a panel discussion featuring authors Carice Anderson, Abi Dare, Lethokuhle Msimang, Shafinaaz Hassim, Celimpilo Dladla, and Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabushko. Shafinaaz Hassim will also join Nancy Richards in a panel discussion that explores how the making of place informs or shapes the work of writers. Celimpilo Dladla will also participate in a discussion facilitated by Pumelela Nqelenga about how new writers can navigate the publishing space.
Journalist and gender activist Tracey Saunders will unpack South Africa’s most serious scourge, gender-based violence, with Xoliswa Ndudeni-Ngema, Jen Thorpe, and Andy Kawa. Authors Mary Watson and Ruth Ramsden-Karelse will unpack the question about Dysphoria: Sex, Gender & Trauma in African Literature.
Academics and writers Labby Ramrathan and Nobuhle Hlongwa will unpack several questions at the launch of the Alternation African Scholarship Book series. Academic Shireen Hassim will discuss Versions of the Colonial and its future past with Sarah Mosoetsa, author and CEO of the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Palestinian writer and academic Anaheed Al-Hardan. Poet Romalyn Ante will participate in a discussion on narratives about migration with Phillippa Kabali-Kagwa.
In a discussion about avoiding Potholes in Translation, Zodwa Motsa will chat with Phindile Dlamini and Sylvia Zulu. Dlamini is a co-curator of the Festival. She will also discuss the translation dialogue with leading isiZulu writers Nkosinathi Sithole and Nakanjani Sibiya. Dlamini will also chat with social media enthusiast and writer Melusi Tshabalala on his Everyday Zulu series.
This year’s festival will also introduce an enterprising series on how theatre-makers are drawing inspiration from novels. Hilton Arts Festival director Sue Clarence will chat to actress Cara Roberts about the dramatization of Antjie Krog’s love letters. Cara will perform snippets from the dramatized reading of Flame in the Snow, which contains the letters written by Andre P Brink and Krog and which led to her tragic suicide.
Author Sindiswa Magona will talk about her novel Mother to Mother, which echoes strong themes about political and social reconciliation. The book is prescribed as a school setwork. Theatre director Janice Honeyman and producer Yvette Hardie will discuss the impact of the work as a stage production. Hardie will also Bobby Rodwell in a panel discussion to discuss how literature can be taught at schools.
Actress Jackie Rens will read discuss her portrayal of political activist, academic, and journalist Ruth First in the biographical work Ruth First: 117 Days. Durban International film festival curator Chipo Zhou and film producer Firdoze Bulbulia will discuss Maik Nwosu’s work, The Comic Imagination in African Cinema and Literature. Crystal Warren and Zongezile Matshoba curate a virtual exhibition on the works of Es’kia Mphalele and Tantakulu Afrika. The exhibitions are presented by the Amazwi South African Museum of literature, headed by Beverley Thomas.
The Festival, which starts on Monday 15 March, will culminate on International Poetry Day on 21 March 2021. It is the same day that South Africa marks Human Rights Day. In partnership with the Foundation for Human Rights, the STAND Foundation will present a special programme focusing on how poets use their voices to defend human rights curated by Malika Ndlovu and Siphokazi Jonas.
The French Institute of South Africa launched a poetry project during last year’s Poetry Africa festival to launch their anthology of poetry, which features vangile gantsho, Linda Kaoma, Toni Giselle Stuart, and Masindi Netshakhuma.
Siphindile Hlongwa, the curator of the Poetry Africa festival, has put together an outstanding line-up of poets from various regions of the African continent to kickstart the 25th anniversary of the Poetry Africa festival later this which is aiming to be the largest and most representative gathering of African poets from the continent. Her programme, which marks the closing of the Time of the Writer festival and the commencement of plans for the 25th edition of the Poetry Africa festival, will feature Lynthia Julius (SA), Fante Girl (Ghana), Fatine Moubsit (Morocco), and Hope Netshivhambe (SA). MoAfrika wa Mokgathi will moderate the programme.
Time of the Writer is made possible through partnerships with the KZN Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Amazwi South African Museum of Literature, the French Institute of South Africa, Imbiza Journal of African Writing, the STAND Foundation, the National Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and the Foundation for Human Rights.
The festival will stream for free on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/timeofthewriter), Twitter page (@timeofthewriter), and YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/centreforcreativearts). For a full programme and participant, biographies check tow.ukzn.ac.za.