Khanya College is hosting the 13th Jozi Book Fair (JBF) Festival again this year over TWO weekends, from 30–31 October online and 6-7 November 2021 at Newtown Park under the theme; LOVES in the Time of Covid-19. This theme speaks to the difficult times many are facing under COVID-19 and the need to show each other love, compassion and solidarity. This is not just romantic love, but love between friends, parents and children, colleagues etc.
This year, the JBF is able to hold a physical Festival event due to the easing of lockdown restrictions, however, we still need to be cautious and stick to strict COVID-19 regulations, so the event will be organised with a small number of participants. This is why participation in the physical festival is by invitation only and focuses mainly on the constituencies that Khanya College and the JBF works with throughout the year. Activists and social movements who who wish to participate and attend the sessions are advised to register before the physical festival weekend starts.
The JBF Festival kicked off on 30–31 October 2021 with Zoom sessions, which were also broadcast live on the JBF Facebook Page. This year’s festival has fewer but very rich events this year.
It began on Saturday, 30 October with a session on Fiction, Memory & Justice, a discussion centred around Futhi Ntshingila’s new book They Got To You Too! The discussion reflected on the repressive violence imposed by apartheid on black people, which resulted in the deaths of many people, including Fort Calata and Imam Harron, both anti-apartheid activists. The speakers included Futhi Ntshingila, Lukhanyo Calata, Fatiema Harom-Masoet and was moderated by Yasmin Sooka. The speakers reflected on how their lives have been shaped by the absence of their fathers and their fight to get justice and see the perpetrators brought to book.
The next session was on Women and COVID-19 and looked at the gendered impact of COVID-19 on women, and in particular, working class women. The speakers for this session included Nonsikelelo Ncube (author of an article titled; The pandemic’s effect is gendered); Andile Ngema, a Community Healthcare Workers who is part of Khanya’s Feminist Network; Nosipho Mdletshe, JBF Coordinator; and Maria van Driel, director of Khanya College moderated the session.
On Sunday, 31 October, Ali Hlongwane launched his book titled Lion of Azania, a biography of PAC founding leader, Zeph Mothopeng, in discussion with fallists Siyabonga Mviko and Phethani Madzivhandila. The session was moderated by Kasonde Mukonde (a PhD student at Wits University), and reflected on the life of the late Zeph Mothopeng, his role in the Pan African Congress (PAC) and how his ideas are still relevant today.
The online Jozi Book Fair closed off with the Launch of Oupa Lehulere’s website (www.oupalehulere.org.za), which published a number of his writings published over the past three decades. Lehulere’s writings cover the events and politics of the transitional period in South Africa (1990-1994), the first years of democratic dispensation (1994-2000), through to the period of the rise of the social movements (2000-2012) and the post-Marikana years (2013-2021). Lehulere also had a discussion with Leonard Gentle on the crises in the ANC, currently and in the past.
The JBF continues to be orientated towards the working class and creating a space for debate. This is why Khanya ensured that its constituencies were able to attend and participate in the sessions by providing them with data support and opening Khanya for them to attend the online session from the House of Movements in Johannesburg. The sessions were very well attended despite the issues of network and load-shedding.
For the weekend of 5 – 7 November 2021, the JBF Festival will be held at Newtown Park, beginning on 5 November 2021 with a reception and the launch of the Closed Construction Exhibition. The reception will be followed by a youth programme on Saturday, 6 November, which will be open for the youth in the schools and Orphan and Vulnerable Children Centres that the JBF works with. The sessions will include various workshops for youth around theatre, poetry, journalism and writing, which will be followed by a discussion with youth author Jayne Bauling and the launch of Batjha Kaofela 2021, the latest series of short stories for youth by the youth short story winners for 2021. This launch is the highlight of the work that the JBF does with youth throughout the year to promote a culture of reading and writing.
The last day of the festival will have two sessions: one is the launch of a book titled Memoirs: A Priest for Workers by Father Joe Falkiner, in conversation with Moses Cloete. This will be followed by a discussion on a book called Vaal Uprisings in 1984 and the struggle for social delivery today by Franzisca Rueede, who will be in discussion with Ayesha Rajah (Robertsham Housing Association), Zama Timbela (The Intlungu yaseMatyotyombeni Movement) and moderated by John Appolis (GIWUSA).
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