Abantu Book Festival 2017
By TM | 12 November 2017
“Africans must change their mind and actions. The keys to building your continent depend on your will-power, persistent effort and action towards self-liberation.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
When Time magazine interviewed Ava Duvernay and asked her about the proverbial glass ceiling for black women in the filmmaking industry, Ava’s response was, “I think a lot less about breaking down his door or shattering his ceiling but more about building my own house.”
This quote relates strongly to the story behind the Abantu Book Festival. A novelist and also the founder and director of the festival, Thando Mgqolozana was distressed by the predominant whiteness of the literary community. He realized that this affected how certain stories were told or in the case of African stories not told at all and it is for this reason that he decided to walk away from the colonial literary establishment in 2015 and build his own literary ‘house’ which would be black literary space where African stories can finally find the expression that they have been denied for so long. Over and above this Mgqolozana sought to make the Abantu book festival a healing space for black readers and writers. Since Abantu is part of a greater decolonisation movement, the need for such a safe space where black people’s ideas, aspirations and stories can find expression is invaluable.
The festival is a celebration of the rich and diverse literary heritage emerging from the African continent and while the book remains the central medium of the festival, they have poetry and musical performances, writing and publishing workshops, panel discussions and in-conversations, as well as film-screening woven into the mix. The best poets, novelists, playwrights, biographers, literary scholars, musicians, actors, activists, thinkers, and readers from as far as can be imagined, take over the historic location of Soweto and make it a literary village.
As a flagstone for the decolonisation movement, Abantu is a space for all those who are hungry for a better world and a better continent to convene.
Date: 7-10 December 2017
Time: From 9 AM
Venue: Eyethu Lifestyle Centre, Soweto Theatre
Expand your mind and imagination. Visit www.abantubookfestival.co.za for more information on what you can expect from the festival. Always keep it social on their handles below:
Facebook: Abantu Book Festival