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Time of the Writer set to inspire, provoke, challenge and entertain

Authors adding their voices to the debate about the South African state include Ziyanda Stuurman, Christopher McMichael, and historian Zikhona Valela, who will expand the debate and discuss power, justice, and the future of policing in South Africa.

MORE than one hundred writers, poets, and wordsmiths will be featured in the 26th edition of the Time of the Writer festival, presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from March 16 to March 2.

The programme is packed with a range of live events and online webinars that will showcase both the creative juices of South African wordsmiths as well as their deep and critical insights into the state of the nation.

Authors of The Unnacountables Hennie van Vuuren, Luvano Ntuli, Abby May, and Zen Mathe will be live in Durban to discuss private sector economic crime and its far-reaching societal effects. This conversation will be headed up by political commentator Ebrahim Fakir, the Director of Programmes at the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI) on Saturday, March 18 at 17:00. Fakir will also be in conversation with author Sihle Khumalo to launch Khumalo’s latest title Milk the Beloved Country (Saturday, March 18 at 15:00).

Other authors adding their voices to the debate about the South African state include Ziyanda Stuurman, Christopher McMichael, and historian Zikhona Valela, who will expand the debate and discuss power, justice, and the future of policing in South Africa.

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In an online broadcast, radio journalist Michelle Constant will discuss Writing Through Grief with authors Kumi Naidoo, Henry Blumberg, Bruce Little and Yewande Omotoso, whose loss of loved ones inspired their books. Also online, Dr Sipho Sithole will discuss his book, Maye! Maye! The history & heritage of the Kwa Mai Mai Market, with fellow author Hombakazi Mercy Nqandeka.

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 is a  biography that dissects and celebrates the life of an iconic figure of the South African literary world and a Drum journalist who died in exile. His book features unprecedented archival access and interviews with Themba’s surviving colleagues and family. Mahala will also be featured at the festival in conversation with celebrated authors Fred Khumalo and Niq Mhlongo.

“Our young team of fresh new curators have compiled a programme that is inspiring, provocative, challenging, but, most of all, entertaining. Through a grant from the National Arts Council’s PESP Fund, we have mentored four young women graduates in festival management, and we have given them unfettered licence to curate this year’s programme”, said the centre’s director Ismail Mahomed. Mahomed has more than 35 years of experience in cultural leadership and a proven track record of catapulting new voices in the arts sector.

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Head curator Sibahle Khwela, and co-curators Scout Fynn, Nolwazi Nene and Nomthandazo Shandu are on a year-long emerging arts manager’s programme at the Centre for Creative Arts.

The all-female team of curators for this year’s Time of The Writer Festival; Nomthandazo Shandu, Nolwazi Nene, Sibahle Khwela and Scout Fynn. Photo: Submitted

“Apart from veteran writer Sindiwe Magona being selected as this year’s Featured Author, we will be presenting more than 60 per cent women writers and session moderators at the festival this year”, says Sibahle Khwela on behalf of her curatorial team.

Some of the leading women voices at this year’s festival include Nadia Sanger, Benita Moolman, Getrude Fester, Ashanti Kunene, Vangile Gantsho, and Nadine Dirks.

The entire programme for the Time of the Writer festival can be found on tow.ukzn.ac.za. Participation in the online programme will be free. Bookings for the live events will be opened through Webtickets.

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