Four African Writers At The Luthuli Museum

Four African writers, three from South Africa and one from Tanzania, will be at the Luthuli Museum on March 19 as part of the 16th Time of the Writer festival.

Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, the festival starts in Durban on March 18. It provides a week-long platform for writers from South Africa, Africa and around the world to discuss and exchange ideas, attend book launches and participate in discussion panels.

Tuesday’s visit next week to the Luthuli Museum is part of the festival’s broader outreach community programme that will give learners and members of the public exposure to some of South Africa’s finest writers and the opportunity to interact with literary role models.

From home soil, born in Umzinto on the South Coast, Bhekisigcino Khawula attended primary and high school at a variety of institutions including Sibonelo High in KwaMashu. He only started writing in 2004 and his debut novel Yihlati Leli won a silver award in the African Languages category at the Sanlam Youth Literature Awards.

He writes in isiZulu and his books include a collection of poems titled Izingwazi Zanamuhla, a collection of short stories titled Inyoni Kayiphumuli and Imikhombe Iyenanana – a play which won an award at the Actua Press in 2009.

The author of five novels for young people, Kabelo Duncan Kgatea studied at the Writing School of South Africa in the 1990s. He completed his diploma in business communication with Stanford in 2001 as well as a diploma in journalism and media studies at INTEC correspondence college.

While working underground as a mineworker, Kgatea’s first book Njeng manong fa ke sule! (Devour me, vultures, when I am dead!) was published in 2000. The following year it won a silver award in the Sotho category in both the Sanlam Youth Literature awards and the M-Net prize competition. As a result Kgatea was promoted to communications officer at Anglo Platinum mine in Rustenburg.

Kgatea has written 14 radio dramas that have been broadcast by Radio Setswana and Radio Mmabatho. He is married and still lives in Rustenburg.

Born in Atteridgevile, near Pretoria, Kagiso Lesego Molope is a graduate in English literature and literary theory from the University of Cape Town where she studied with other great writers like Andre Brink and Dorothy Driver.

In 2006 her first novel Dancing in the Dust was placed on the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) – making her the first black South African to achieve this. Her second novel, The Mending Season, set in South Africa in the early 1990s was published in 2005. Both books are read in schools across southern Africa. Last year she published her third novel This Book Betrays My Brother.

Previously a human rights project officer based in Canada, Molope has been involved in human rights advocacy, counseling and documentary film-making.

And last but not least hailing from Tanzania and a rural village on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Elieshi Lema studied librarianship and worked in the national library before returning to complete her degree in literature in English from the University of Dar es Salaam. She later got her masters in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco in the United States.

She started off writing poetry and then moved onto children’s stories. She wrote and published her first book Parched Earth – a love story in 2001. Recently her book for young adults In the Belly of Dar es Salaam was short listed for the Burt Award for African literature jointly run by the children’s book project for Tanzania, CODE and sponsored by a Canadian Bill Burt.

She co-owns a publishing house, was a founding director of the Tanzania Cultural Trust Fund and serves on the boards of various organizations such as the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme. She writes in both Kiswahili and English.

For more information about the Luthuli Museum event please contact Education Officer Clinton Taylor or Heritage Officer Thulani Thusi on 032 559 6822. Interested members of the public keen to know more about the festival’s full programme can go to the website

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal the 16th Time of the Writer festival is funded By the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), the City of Durban, Adams Campus Books, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and the University of KwaZulu-Natal

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