The programme for this weekend’s M&G Litfest

The two-day event at Sci-Bono in Newtown, Johannesburg, on October 8 and 9, will pay homage to novelist, poet, translator and political activist Sol T Plaatje, drawing on the 100th anniversary of the publication of his Native Life in South Africa and marking the 140th anniversary of his birth on October 9.

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, corner of Miriam Makeba and Helen Joseph streets, Newtown, Johannesburg (GPS co-ordinates: 26°12’16”S 28°01’59”E).
Map at
Himla Soodyall and Joseph Moekoena rooms, Phase 3B, Level 2

Session 1

Saturday October 8
9.30am to 11am (Mokoena room)
“Native life” a century after Sol Plaatje’s Native Life
Lidudumalingani, Lwandile Fikeni, Percy Mabandu and Lindokuhle Nkosi in conversation – moderated by Milisuthando Bongela

Session 2

Saturday October 8
11.30am to 1pm (Moekoena room)
Reporters without borders: Journalists and the Marikana story
Paul Botes, Lucas Ledwaba, Athandiwe Saba, Luke Sinwell and Niren Tolsi. Chaired by Kwanele Sosibo

Session 3

Saturday October 8
1.30pm to 3pm (Parallel session: Moekoena room)
Publishing black writers in a new literary wordscape
Jabulile Buthelezi, Rosamund Haden and Christine Qunta. Chaired by Sipho Hlongwane

Session 4

Saturday October 8
1.30pm to 3pm (Parallel session: Soodyall room)
Sol Plaatje at 140; his “Native Life” at 100
Sabata-mpho Mokae, Bhekizizwe Peterson, Janet Remmington and Brian Willan. Chaired by Khumisho Moguerane

Session 5

Saturday October 8
3.30pm to 5pm (Parallel session: Soodyall room)
Writing white: We need to talk about Lionel
Luke Alfred, Robyn Bloch and Craig Higginson. Chaired by Darryl Accone

Session 6

Saturday October 8
3.30 pm to 5 pm (Parallel session: Moekoena room)
Alphabet Zoo facilitates a Zine Making workshop where everybody is invited to attend a session where the aim is to leave with something of your own creation

Session 7

Sunday October 9

9.30am to 11am (Moekoena room)
The nation, its stories and its myths
Terry Bell, Stanley Manong, Fanele Mbali and Thula Simpson. Chaired by Shaun de Waal

Session 8

Sunday October 9
11.30am to 1pm (Moekoena room)
Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award and Anthology event
Introducing the award, the judges and the anthology.
Poets on the anthology longlist and at the WNS festival, plus judges Thabiso Mohare and Pieter Odendaal, perform their poetry. Plaatje finalists perform their poetry.
Plaatje award-winners announced and prizes awarded by Mongane Wally Serote and EU Ambassador Marcus Cornaro.

Sunday October 9
2 pm onwards
Litfest afterparty at venue to be decided

What you need to know

Tickets are R50 a session, with half-price discounts for students and pensioners. Tickets are available through and will also be on sale at the venue on the day.

At Sci-Bono, the Litfest will take place in adjacent rooms. Sci-Bono offers age-group guided tours for children, so Litfest patrons can bring them along; they’ll be under safe adult supervision.

There is extensive parking and a coffee shop on the ground floor serves light meals.

The Bookdealers chain will have books by Litfest authors and other writers on sale outside the festival venues.

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