Two UKZN Academics and a Social Sciences student were participating writers at the recent 20th Time of the Writer Festival in Durban.
The academics were Dr Nkosinathi Sithole and Dr Nakanjani Sibiya of the College of Humanities while the student was Mr Khethani Njoko.
Sithole, winner of the 2016 Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Award for his debut novel Hunger Eats a Man, considers the Festival to be ‘one of the most highly regarded in the country, and being invited is an honour and recognition of one as an important writer- that is quite satisfying’.
The Man In Me Author, Njoko was thrilled to be a part of this year’s Festival. ‘This book was my first publication and through it, I’ve been acknowledged with such a vibrant platform. This shows that indeed anything is possible and one is able to achieve success beyond the limitations of this world.’
Sibiya, one of South Africa’s most prominent and prolific isiZulu authors, reflected on the importance of the Festival for writers. ‘The Festival gives authors a platform to share their writing experiences and engage with the audience on matters of mutual interest. Generally, authors who write in indigenous languages have been marginalised. The Festival, therefore, affords them an opportunity to showcase their craft and affirm the literary merit of creative work in local African languages.’
Sibiya was a member of two Festival panels which discussed Language of the Heart and Soul and Writing in my Language, and commented on the contemporary trends, developments and challenges in isiZulu literature, with particular emphasis on encouraging people to read and write isiZulu literary works.
Both Sithole and Njoko were also part of the Reflection and Introspection panel discussion where they shared their ideas and thoughts about writing; and the state of the country, continent and the world, while also reflecting on their own literary journeys.
‘The Festival is important as it allows writers to engage with the public and talk about the things that concern us as human beings, not just as writers and readers. It also motivates young people who are at school to take an interest in reading and writing,’ said Sithole.