By ZONGEZILE MATSHOBA
Lockdown Level 4 did not stop the arts festival, and could not deter Amazwi South African Museum of Literature from launching an avalanche of books. Amazwi, known throughout South Africa for hosting book launches, had a full line-up from 8 to 18 July 2021.
Authors who launched and read pieces from their books are:
- Liz Gowans – Butterfly Bones (poetry)
- Nisi Daniels – Washing My Yellow Bones (novel)
- Dr Amitabh Mitra – Anarchy and the Sea (poetry)
- Jeannie McKeown – Fall Awake (poetry)
- Dan Wylie – The Flight of a Bat (novel)
Kyle Allan, editor of the New Coin literary journal at the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA), hosted the writers reading their poetry in the latest edition.
IsiXhosa literature was not to be left behind, given the changed mandate of the museum. Several books came to the party, including the debut novel Kwazi Bani by Thina Namba.
Sim Matyobeni, a Rhodes University’s Master of Arts in Creative Writing followed with his poetry, Nosigidi. It was published by Imbizo Arts of South Africa under the leadership of Mxolisi Nyezwa. Nyezwa is a known author in his own right, and a lecturer and supervisor of the creative writing course. His organisation also publishes Kotaz, a quarterly magazine of poetry and short stories, also read aloud by the respective contributors.
Amazwi, in collaboration with the National Library of South Africa, launched four books of their Eastern Cape grant beneficiaries. The grant, distributed through their Centre for the Book, publishes a variety of authors in all the South African official languages.
- Zongezile Matshoba – Intlambo Yokufel’amahashe (poetry-drama)
- Thozi Ngeju – Trample the Tramp (novel)
- Siphokazi Mpofu – Zajik’izinto (novel)
- Virgil Johnson & Angelique Simons – Veraad Sonder Rigting (Afrikaans poetry)
Gracing the Amazwi and NLSA night was literature stalwart Mzi Mahola. After writing for many years, and having his works translated into many international languages, as well as prescribed for schools, Mahola decided to write in his home language, isiXhosa. His debut is a poetry collection, Ezingaqhelekanga.
Missing these book launches must never stress you out. Recordings of these are available online. Visit the Amazwi YouTube channel, or follow the links on the National Arts Festival.
- Zongezile Matshoba is the Manager: Education and Public Programmes at Amazwi.