Africa Month Colloquium Programme 2019

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27-31 MAY 2019

Based on the 2019 theme of “Celebrating 25 years of Democracy: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”, this year’s Africa Month colloquium Programme focus is on literary luminaries who have fought against racism in the world and whose writings have forged a language of liberation and a culture of freedom. These discussants focus on “Celebrating Legends in the African Literary World”, “Raising the Flag for African languages and African literatures” as well as “African Solidarity for Africa’s people”


Date: 27 May 2019

Venue: Luthuli Museum, KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal

Time: 9am-1pm

Nature of Event: Workshop and discussion with youth

Leading Jamaican born and British writer and intellectual, Linton Kwesi Johnson (aka LKJ, born 24 August 1952) is a Jamaican dub poet who has long been based in the UK. He is considered to be one of the fathers of “Rap” poetry and music. In 2002 he became the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Modern Poetry series. His performance poetry involves the recitation of his own verse in Jamaican patois over dub reggae usually written in collaboration with renowned British reggae producer/artist Dennis Bovell.

Linton Kwesi Johnson will do a talk and have a poetry workshop and reading with students and a general audience. Nise Malange (Bat Centre and poet) will be the chair and a vote of thanks will be provided by Joyce Sukumane with Jerry Pooe providing an opening statement (Director of Wushwini Centre and playwright).There will also be a musical performance and other poets in attendance and participating.



Date: 28 May 2019

Venue: Soweto Theatre, Johannesburg

Time: 6-10pm

Nature of Event: Africa Month Lecture. Readings and musical items by poets and young musicians.

Lecture to be delivered by Linton Kwesi Johnson: “Celebrating Legends in the African literary world.”

This particular lecture and colloquium places a special focus on the work and life contributions of living literary legends, James Matthews, Don Mattera, and Sindiwe Magona.

Don Mattera, born in 1935, who similarly in the early 1970s became involved in the Black Consciousness movement, helped form the Union of Black Journalists and became known for his poetry and esepcially his autobiography, “Memory is a Weapon”.

Sindiwe Magona, born in 1943, is one of many internationally prominent South African writers whose work is informed by her experience of impoverishment, femininity, resistance to subjugation and being a domestic worker.  She traversed South Africa’s racially-defined socio-cultural-economic spaces while simultaneously being a mother, wife and community leader in a township. These interlaced themes and realities are pronounced throughout her literary career. She is a prolific author who has produced nine books, among them an autobiographical work, a collection of short stories, novellas and an anthology of poetry. She was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze for her literary and humanitarian contributions and her outstanding achievements in literature and for using her pen as a weapon in the liberation struggle and beyond.

James Matthews: James Matthews, poet, writer and publisher, has produced five books of poetry, a collection of short stories, a novel and an anthology of poetry, which he edited. Most of his work was banned under the previous government and was translated and published overseas. For 13 years he was denied a passport and was placed in detention from September to December 1976. He founded the publishing house called “Blac” through which he has published a number of authors.

Once more a range of literary legends and those of younger generations have been invited to pay tribute to him and to celebrate the lives of other authors. Notable among these is Diana Ferrus.

Diana Ferrus (born 29 August 1953, in Worcester, Western Cape, is a writer, poet and storyteller. Ferrus is best known for her poem about Sarah Bartmann a South African woman taken to Europe under false pretenses and paraded as a curiosity.[ She wrote the poem in 1998 while studying at Utrecht University. The popularity of this poem is widely believed to be responsible for the return of Bartmann's remains to South Africa.



Date: 31 May 2019

Venue: Gauteng

Time: 12 noon to 4pm

Nature of Event: Panel Discussion, Debate and Musical Interlude

This session focuses on the imaging of Africa and forging intra-African solidarity for Africa’s people. Authors from Mozambique, Zimbabwe in addition to South Africa will form part of a discussion panel to look at African solidarity in the midst of disasters and upheaval and stress the importance of African unity in bulding the economy, society and culture of the continent as a whole. Media will be present to be part of this discussion. Readings and music will be part of the presentation.

Prof Jen Snowball from Rhodes University and the South African Cultural Observatory will present a research paper on “South Africa’s cultural goods trade with Africa: policies and trade potentials in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.”

Speakers from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Adv Sipho Mantula, and Prof Sipho Seepe will be part of a panel chaired by a representative of SA media.

This panel is conducted in partnership with SOECA (State Owned Entities Communications Association) and the Africa Media Network.