Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Wordfest South Africa

Wordfest is South Africa’s premier multilingual festival of languages and literatures with a developmental emphasis.

2019 Programme

Wordfest 2019 Recognises these South African Literary Giants on their Centenary: Eskia Mphahlele, Noni Jabavu and Peter Abrahams

All events are one hour and R25 unless stipulated. Tickets available at the door or NAF booking offices. Venues in the Eden Grove Building and NELM as stipulated

Click here to download the 2019 Wordfest programme.

Saturday 29 June

BOOK LAUNCH | I Beg To Differ: Ministry Amid Teargas – Peter Storey

The story of how apartheid was defeated is incomplete without Rev. Peter Storey’s contribution. He challenged apartheid wherever he could, leading the Methodist Church of Southern Africa into what many white congregants saw as uncomfortable ‘political’ territory, clouded with teargas…

14H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

THE DALRO LECTURE |To Ban and To Burn – The Censorship Dialogue

The previous government banned the books; under this government a mob comes to BURN the books!
Panel includes Dr. Nana Makhaula Ntsebeza, PEN SA and SANEF representatives.

15H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets


DOCUMENTARY FILM SCREENING | Can Themba: The teacher in the newsroom

You have seen the play, haven’t you? Now see the documentary and get to understand the South African literal maestro, Can Themba, as Dr. Siphiwo Mahala unleashes him.
The great writer of The Suit and The Will To Die.

17H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets

Sunday 30 June

BOOK LAUNCH | Bushmen, Botany and Baking Bread – Jean Kelly

Mary Pocock’s record of a journey with Dorothea Bleek Across Angola in 1925.Compiled and edited by Tony Dold and Jean Kelly.

10H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | Faithful to the Vision – Eric Kelly

A child’s primary education is of vital importance. It requires well-trained teachers with a professional approach to their work. Faithful to the Vision is the story of a teachers’ training college which set about preparing teachers of that very calibre; it is the history of the Grahamstown Teachers’ Training College.

10H45 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Contact author

BOOK LAUNCH | The Love Song of Andre P Brink – Leon De Kock

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been cancelled.

BOOK LAUNCH | Intimate Lightning – Dan Wylie (Unisa Press)

Dan Wylie comes with a moving biographically-framed look at the slender but rich oeuvre of a poet who was regarded as the most challenging and energised poet of his day: Sydney Clouts (1926-1982). Inspired by the surroundings of Cape Town, he found it difficult to complete poems after he and his family went into self-imposed exile in England in 1961. He spent some time at Rhodes, completing a master’s degree.

15H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

Monday 1 July

BOOK LAUNCH | Curator & Crusader – Mike Bruton

Marjorie Eileen Doris Courtenay-Latimer was a South African museum official who, in 1938, brought to the attention of the world the existence of the coelacanth, a fish thought to have been extinct for sixty-five million years.

10H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | Steinheist – Rob Rose

Markus Jooste, Steinhoff and SA’s biggest corporate fraud.

11H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | A Person My Colour – Martina Dalhmanna

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been cancelled.

BOOK LAUNCH | Christo Wiese – T. J. Strydom (Biography)

Christo Wiese, a former billionaire, acquired PEP Stores and other businesses to become richest man in the country. After 50 years of taking risks in business, he overplayed his hand with Steinhoff and lost part of his fortune…

16H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

Tuesday 2 July

BOOK LAUNCH | Death and Compassion: The Elephant in Southern African Literature – Dan Wylie

How is it that some humans can demonstrate great compassion for these extraordinary creatures, and others kill them without a quiver of compassion? What does literature tell us about these attitudes?
This book explores a number of genres, fiction and non-fiction…
From his previous works, Dan Wylie has won Olive Shreiner and Ingrid Jonker Prizes.

10H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | Broken River Tent – Mphuthumi Ntabeni (Jacana Media)

Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history, telling the story of MAQOMA, a Xhosa chief on the forefront of fighting British colonialism in eighteenth century South Africa.

11H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | Agriganda Tariro Ndoro

Tariro Ndoro is a Zimbabwean Writer/Poet. She holds an MFA from Rhodes University. This is her debut poetry collection from Modjaji Books. She has a number of previous publications.

15H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Contact author

BOOK LAUNCH | To Survive and Succeed – Khusta Jack

Tells the story of an outspoken young anti-apartheid activist who became a respected leader in the democratic movement. Today he is a successful businessman, and still outspoken.

A true story of sacrifice, courage and triumph.

17H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

Wednesday 3 July

BOOK LAUNCH | Land of My Ancestors – Botlhale Tema

While working on the UNESCO Slave Route project in the early 2000s, Botlhale Tema discovered the extraordinary fact that her highly educated family from the farm Welgeval in the Pilanesberg originated from two young men who had been child slaves in the mid-nineteenth century.

10H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | The Land is Ours – Thembeka Ngcukaitobi

A well-researched account of South Africa’s first black lawyers and the birth of constitutionalism.

11H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

LECTURE | #Braveheart With Red Lipstick – Kazeka Kuse-Mashologu

This author took up the fight against breast cancer, not armed with medical aid. This is the story of her journey.

CANSA lecture on breast cancer, in memory of late Kazeka Kuse.

14H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets


Loyiso Nqevu and Thukela Poswayo, two known oral literature practitioners who master the Indigenous Knowledge Systems, will speak on UMTHETHO WABANTU: How order was maintained before colonisation and the introduction of European law.

16H00 – NELM | Tickets

Thursday 4 July

A LIT-FEST EVENT | Decolonizing the Mind Through Language

Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO National Heritage Council (SA)

11H15 – 11H45 – NELM | Learn more about Lit-Fest


Lit-fest 2019 will take place at National English Literary Museum (NELM) in Makhanda and will be officially opened by the Honourable MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Ms Bulelwa Tunyiswa.

11H45 – 12H15 – NELM | Learn more about Lit-Fest

BOOK LAUNCH | Triangulum – Masande Ntshanga

Triangulum is an ambitious, often philosophical and genre-bending novel that covers a period of over 40 years in South Africa’s recent past and near future — starting from the collapse of the apartheid homeland system in the early ’90s, to the economic corrosion of the 2010s, and on to the looming, large-scale ecological disasters of the 2040s.

This is Masande Ntshanga’s second novel.

14H00 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

BOOK LAUNCH | An Evolutionary Review on Black Education – Nthebe Molope

A critical historical analysis into the South African educational crisis and the problematization thereof, and postulative GPS for our navigation to finding a solution.

15H30 – Eden Grove | Tickets | Buy Book

Friday 5 July

A LIT-FEST EVENT | BOOK LAUNCH | Struggle and Hope: Reflections on the Recent History of the Transkeian People – Mda Mda

Mr Mda Mda is a retired attorney and recipient of President’s Convocation Medal. AmaXhosa would refer to him as Isisele Senyathi. His knowledge now is in a book. This book.

09H10 – 09H40 – NELM | Learn more about Lit-Fest | Buy Book

A LIT-FEST EVENT | LECTURE | Indigenous Languages: Post-Colonial Era

Professor Pitika Ntuli is a renowned South African sculptor, poet, writer and academic. He spent many years in exile in Swaziland and the UK.

09H40 – 11H40 – NELM | Learn more about Lit-Fest

BOOK LAUNCH | Emathunjini Omhlaba: Kuhlala Abantu – Mlandeli Wellington Moya

Le ingaba yincwadi yokuqala ebhaliweyo ngobomi basemigodini ebhalwe ngumntu ongenileyo buqu ngaphantsi, wabuphila ncakasana ubomi baseNkomponi.

14H00 – Eden Grove | Contact author

BOOK LAUNCH | The Space Between Us – Kyle Allen

Kyle Allan has been recently appointed as editor of New Coin Poetry Journal. This launch will include a poetry performance.

15H00 – Eden Grove | Contact author


Got some poetry you want to sure? Join us for Wordfest’s open mic at Eden Grove.

16H30 – Eden Grove|

Saturday 6 July



Writing Workshop (2 hour craft talk) in isiXhosa by renowned writer M. S. Mlandu. Isakhiwo sebali elifutshane
The structure of a Short Story.

09H00 – 11H00 – NELM | Learn more about Lit-Fest