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The Weekly Mail
28 Oct 1988 00:00
Monday October 31, 7.30pm—Censorship: A State of Emergency
Keynote speech: Salman Rushdie
Panel: Anton Harber (chair), David Philip, Ampie Coetzee, Hilda Grobler, Mansoor Jaffer.
This will be the first opportunity to hear author Salman Rushdie on one of his favourite topics. The panel discussion to follow will not be a simple litany of the evils of censorship but an attempt to understand its effects and discuss how to address it.
Publisher David Philip will talk about the effect of censorship on the book trade; Coetzee, author of works of criticism such as Marxisme en die Afrikaanse letterkunde, a founder of Taurus publishers and professor in the Afrikaans Department at the University of the Western Cape, will offer a general overview of the extent and effects of censorship; Grobler of the University of Natal will discuss censorship and women’s issues and Jaffer from the Save the Press committee will talk about how censorship can be addressed.
Tuesday November 1, 6pm—Is history responsible?
Panel: Neville Alexander, Jeff Peires, Fatima Meer, Tim Keegan.
A group of historians will comprise the panel. Peires, lecturer in the Department of History at Rhodes University, and soon to take up a position as professor of history at the University of Transkei, is author of The House of Phalo and The Dead Will Arise. Meer is director of the Institute for Black Research and author of Higher than Hope. Keegan, a history lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, is author of Facing the Storm, interviews with a number of rural dwellers dispossessed from their land in Transvaal and the Free State. Educationist Neville Alexander is the head of the Health, Education and Welfare Society of South Africa
8pm—South Africa: The Problem
Panel: Professor Francis Wilson (chair), Essy Letsoalo, Chris Heyman, Leon Louw and Pundy Pillay.
The last year has seen a rush of books on South Africa’s problems—and proposed solutions. This panel brings together those who have outlined the problems (such as Wilson, director of the second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa) and those who have outlined their ideas of a solution (Louw, co-author of South Africa: The Solution). Others who will take part in what is likely to be a heated debate are Letsoalo, director of the Council for Black Education and Research and author of Land Reform in South Africa, Heymans, political scientist and co-editor of Government by the People? The politics of local government in South Africa and Pillay, economist and contributor to Carnegie conference papers on distribution of medical manpower and health care and a socio-economic survey of Alexandra as an urban ghetto.
Wednesday November 2, 8pm—Eietydse Afrikaanse Prosa: Die Realiste
Panel: Gunther Pakendorf (chair), Etienne van Heerden, Jeanne Goosen, Lucas Malan, Koos Prinsloo
Participants in this session will attempt to review aspects of recent writing in Afrikaans, such as a break with tradition, an examination of Afrikaner identity, the effects of the Emergency and the preponderance of the short story. Pakendorf, head of the German Department at the University of Cape Town, is preparing an anthology of Germany poetry in Afrikaans translation. Van Heerden, lecturer in Dutch literature at Rhodes University and author of a number of books, such as Toorberg and the recent Liegfabriek, has received CNA, Eugene Marais, WA Hofmeyr ATKV and Perskor Prizes for Literature Goosen is a poet and short story writer Poet Lucas Malan is head of the Department of Afrikaans at the Johannesburg College of Education and author of Tydspoor and Edenboom. Short story writer Koos Prinsloo is author of Die Hemel Help Ons, recommended by the judges for this year’s Rapport Prize for Literature, a decision Rapport directors over-ruled.
Cabaret: André Letoit, co-author of the controversial cabaret Piekniek by Dingaan
Thursday November 3, 8 pm—Church vs State?
Panel: Charles Villa-Vicencio (chair), Allan Boesak, Albert Nolan, Johann Kinghorn, Denise Ackerman.
One of the more positive aspects of recent church-state conflict is a spate of related books. This session will centre on the confrontation, the theology behind it and the likelihood of further conflict. The panel includes some of the key church thinkers and actors. Villa-Vicencio, head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town, is associate editor of the Journal of Theology for Southern Africa, co-editor of Apartheid is a Heresy and author of Between Christ and Caesar: classical and contemporary texts. Kinghorn is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at the University of Stellenbosch and one of the authors of the forthcoming Apartheid Theology: A critical assessment. His field is black liberation theology. Boesak, is president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Moderator of the Synod of the NC Sendingkerk and patron of the restricted United Democratic Front. Nolan is head of the Dominican Order in South Africa and a well-known anti-apartheid churchman. Ackerman teaches at UCT’s Department of Religious Studies, works for the Anglican Church Institute for Spirituality and is engaged in research towards a model for contextual feminist liberation theology
Friday November 4, 6.30pm—Art: Creativity and struggle
Panel: Neville Dubow (chair), Gavin Younge, Sue Williamson, Lionel Davis, Barbara Lindop.
What has the South African “struggle” done for (or to) visual art? Has it enriched the work or has it boxed the artist in visual rhetoric? This panel brings together three people about to publish major books that deal with the subject, two of them artists in their own right; and two well-known artists and teachers. Williamson will shortly publish a book titled Art as Protest in South Africa. Younge has won many awards and commissions for sculpture and Art of the South African Townships has just been launched; Lindop is editor of a soon-to-be-released book titled Gerald Sekota, Davis, a well-known painter, is co-ordinator of the Community Arts Project in Cape Town; and photographer and sculptor Dubow is head of UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art
8.15pm—Booker Prizewinners Speak
The first meeting of two of the most eminent living novelists, Rushdie and JM Coetzee, past winners of the Booker Prize, meet in a discussion which will be chaired by Jane Taylor and David Bum, who edited the special South African issue of the Northwestern University, USA journal, Triquarterly. Rushdie won the Booker Prize in 1981 for Midnight’ s Children. His other novels, which have garnered critical acclaim, include Shame, and The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey. Coetzee, a professor of English at UCT, was awarded the Booker Prize for The Life and Times of Michael K, his fourth novel, following Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians and In the Heart of the Country. His most recent work includes the novel Foe and White Writing, a collection of essays.
Saturday November 5, 8 pm—District Six: The real and the myth
Panel: Richard Rive, David Kramer, Vincent Kolbe, Vivian Bickford-Smith and Hermione Suttner
Cape Town’s District Six is a symbol of forced removals. Has it been turned into a myth by the musicals and memoirs, or is its power stronger now than ever before? Rive, author of the memoirs Writing Black and the more recent Buckingham Palace, District Six, grew up in the district. A teacher at the Hewat Training College and edited the Letters of Olive Schreiner. Kramer collaborated on the musical District Six with Taliep Petersen. Kolbe, an ex-resident of District Six, is a librarian interested in local history. Bickford-Smith lectures in history at UCT and has contributed to a book on the district. Suttner is co-author of the newly-published William Street, District Six.
Cabaret: Jennifer Ferguson, Music is a Weapon
Monday November 7, 8pm—Censorship: Wherever they burn books they will also in the end burn people
Keynote address: Salman Rushdie
Panel: Ampie Coetzee, Salmon Rushdie, Nadine Gordimer, Mi S’dumo
The first session of the Johannesburg, Book Week should set a high-powered note for the rest of the week. Two Booker Prizewinners—Rushdie and Gordimer—Coetzee, one of the country’s leading critics, and Hlatshwayo, the co-ordinator of the cultural section of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, will look at the consequences of censorship. Poetry for this night is designed to match the theme.
Poetry reading: Mzwakhe with lan Herman, Gito Baloi, Simba Morri and Sipho Madondo
Tuesday November 8, 8pm—The Documentary Photographer: Observer or Arbiter
Panel: Joyce Ozynski (chair), David Goldblatt, Omar Badsha, Herbert Mabuza, Obie Oberholzer
Some of South Africa’s finest news and documentary photographers will talk about the role and responsibility of the photographer in the current South African situation. Ozynski is an art critic. Works by Goldblatt probably the country’s best-known photographer, hang in generics and museums in this country and in London, Paris, New York and Melbourne, and he has published a number of photographic collections. Badsha, a documentary photographer based in Cape Town and chairman of the Cultural Workers’ Project will discuss the photographer as arbiter. Mabuza, a photographer for The Star, will talk about censorship and the press photographer. Oberholzer, whose Ariesfontein to Zuurfontein included photographs of 60 South African communities, will take as his topic the manipulated image.
Poetry reading: Robert Greig and Joanna Weinberg
Wednesday November 9, 2.30pm—Children’s Indaba
Eve Jammy of Young Reading is the convenor while Gcina Mhlope will tell Fables and Myths of Africa and Handspring Puppets will present Amos and Boris, a shadow play. The indaba is for nine to 12-year-olds and presents an unusual chance to introduce children to the excitement of literature.
Note: Booking For this session only at the Market.
8pm—How the imperatives of publishing affect history
Panel: Charles van Onselen (chair), Bill Nasson, Tom Huffman, Motlatse Tlabane, Isabel Hofmeyr, Peler Delius
Historians attempting to record and interpret events accurately and fairly face terrain strewn with obstacles, from the expected attempt by victors to promote their view to the unexpected—the strictures of popular taste. Specialists in history, archaeology and literature examine the issue. Four of the panelists are staff members at the University of the Witwatersrand. Van Onselen, head of the African Studies Research Unit has received the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize for his Social and Economic History of the Witwatersrand. Hofmeyr, who will look at Afrikaner history and the making of myths, is a lecturer in the African Literature Division. Delius, of the Department of History, is the author of The Land Belongs To Us and The Conversion, and will talk about the imperatives of publishing. Huffman, head of the Archaeology Department and an expert on Great Zimbabwe—among his publications is the official guidebook to the site—will discuss the Zimbabwe ruins and the Smith government. Nasson, who lectures in the Department of Economic History at the University of Cape Town, will deal with the preposition that one man’s villain is another’s hero; he is currently working in the field of oral history. Tlabane, of the University of Lesotho History Department will discuss the problems inherent in transferring oral history to the written word.
Poetry reading: Ingoapele Madingoane and Andries Oliphant.
Thursday November 10, 8pm—The Artist—a puffed-up bohemian anarchist or a socially responsible communitarian?
Panel: Steven Sack (chair), Gavin Younge, Sue Williamson, Vukile Ntuli, Morris Smithers
Has the South African artist a particular responsibility to produce art related to the “struggle”? Or is the artist’s sole responsibility to develop his or her art? Is there room for artists working at both ends of the spectrum? This panel brings together a critic, two artists who have just published major books dealing with the subject a mural artist and the founder of a silk-screening workshop. Critic and teacher Sack, who established the African Institute of Art’s fine art programme at Funda Centre, is working towards an MA degree entitled The artist as social activist. He is curator of the Johannesburg Art Gallery’s exhibition opening later this month dealing with South African black artists. Younge, who will speak about the township as a site for mobilising a new South African culture, has just published a book entitled Art of the South African Townships. Williamson is best-known for her series of portraits of women entitled “A Few South Africans” and will shortly publish a book entitled Protest Art in South Africa. Her topic will be the variety and nature of political message making in art. Ntuli, a lecturer in fine art at the University of Bophuthatswana, will talk about mural art and Smithers, founder of the Screen Training Project and currently a staff member of the South African Labour Bulletin, will discuss the collective process of poster art.
Poetry reading: Douglas Reid-Skinner and Sipho Sepamla
Friday November 11, 5.30pm—The Congress of South African Writers (Cosaw) presents readings from some of South Africa’s foremost writers
In this session, convened by Cosaw, the audience will have a chance to hear leading writers reading their own and other people’s work. Rushdie will read from his own work.
8.30pm—Writing Plays and Making Theatre
Panel: Ian Steadman (chair). Ari Sitas, Neil McCarthy, Gcina Mhlope, Henry Zondi and Malcolm Purkey
It might be argued that all theatre is workshop theatre, with participants contributing a personal interpretation that alters the playwright’s vision. But how far should the collective nature of theatre be carried? Participants are leading actors, playwrights, academics and critics. Two of the participants, Purkey and Sitas, were founders of the Junction Avenue Theatre Company. Steadman is head of the School of Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. Sitas, who lectures in industrial sociology at the University of Natal, has been involved in creating a number of worker plays. He will talk about labour and popular theatre. Actor and playwright McCarthy, who co-won the Vita Award for playwriting for Stormriders, will discuss both roles; actor and playwright Mhlope, who won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival last year for Have You Seen Zandile, will talk about the actor in South African theatre; Zondi will discuss the writer and the group; and director Purkey will discuss plays and publication.
Poetry reading: Jennifer Ferguson
Saturday November 12, 6pm—From Literary Magazines to Novels
Panel: Douglas Reid-Skinner (chair), Michael Cope, M E MacPhail, Alison Stewart, Richard Rive, Ahmed Essop
Literary magazines give their readers the chance to encounter fine and challenging fiction, essays and poetry, while offering exposure and encouragement to new writers and a forum for established authors. Participants have all appeared in literary magazines. They will each read two sections of recently published novels, then answer questions and participate in a panel discussion. Reid-Skinner is author of Reassembling World, The House in Fella District and the just-published collection The Unspoken. He is the editor of Upstream magazine. Among the works of author Rive is the recently published Buckingham Palace. Cope is the author of Spiral of Fire, MacPhail of the CNA Award-winning Phoebe and Nio, Stewart of Born Into the Country, and Essop, who won the Oliver Schreiner Award for The Hajji and Other Stories, is author of The Visitation and The Emperor.
Poetry reading: Lola Watter
9 pm—Short Stories—the best writing
Panel: Achmat Dangor (chair), Njabulo Ndebele, Damon Galgut, Koos Prinsloo, Pnina Fenster
In the final Book Week session, the short story will be examined by practitioners and students of the art. Dangor, author of Waiting for Leila and Bulldozer, is the director of the Kagiso Trust. He is an executive member of Cosaw and the Anti-Censorship Action Group. Ndebele, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Lesotho, won the prestigious Noma Award for his collection Fools and Other Stories. He is president of Cosaw. He will speak about the art of African storytelling and the use of short stories as moral counselling. Fernier is a writer on the Sunday Star magazine. Her short stories have appeared in Sesame and Fair Lady and will be featured in the Vita Anthology of New South African Short Fiction. She will discuss the disciplines of journalism in relation to short stories. Galgut has written a novel and several plays. His latest work, Small Circle of Beings, consists of a novella and four short stories. He will talk about the short story as a private voice. Prinsloo is the author of Die Hemel Help Ons, a collection which was recommended for the Rapport Prize this year by the judges whose decision was overturned by the Rapport directors. He will talk about the use of language and the deconstruction of myths in Afrikaans short stories.
Poetry reading: Lionel Abrahams and Don Mattera
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