Time of the Writer is a celebration of African voices, hosting approximately 20 writers from South Africa, Africa and different parts of the world, telling their own stories as they have lived them and are living them. The festival aims to be an acknowledgement of the great minds that have contributed to the advancement of the literary arts and a space with which to inspire and develop emerging creative titans.
In November 2016, the City of Durban was awarded the first African UNESCO City of Literature and at the fore is Time of the Writer, the first literary festival to be hosted since the announcement. It is against the backdrop of this achievement and in the spirit of the celebration of Mandela’s Centenary year, that the 21st edition of Time of the Writer is aptly themed “Changing the Narrative”.
This 21st edition of Time of the Writer will consist of a day program that is hosted in 4 community libraries, art centre’s and schools around Durban where workshops and panel discussions will take place and in the evening panel discussions will be hosted at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
Ms. Chipo Zhou, Acting-Director of the CCA, said: “Nelson Mandela once said: “The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture.” A very sad statement which to a great extent, even now, speaks the reality that is our education system in Africa.” The African Educational Revolution is now taking place all over independent Black Africa to correct this sad colonial hangover” (Kakwe Kasoma, 1976). Just over two decades after South African independence, this statement has never been truer. A new generation of scholars is on the rise, demanding recognition of the African intellect and its contribution to literature, an “African Renaissance” if you will. We cannot rewrite history, but we can question and maybe alter history. And most definitely, we will write the future.”
The literary world has witnessed dynamic innovations in storytelling formats and genres that are gaining ground amongst writers and readers. Writers from the continent and the diaspora are not only challenging the tropes but are also positing interesting possibilities of the future and present.
Time of the Writer is one of the largest and longest-running literature festivals in Africa. Over the years, it has hosted a wide variety of internationally-acclaimed thought leaders such as Zakes Mda and NoViolet Bulawayo, from all over the world, with the main focus on Africa.
The festival is made possible with the support from eThekwini Municipality, National Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and Alliance Française Durban.