Refiloe Moahloli. Picture: Supplied

Invited festival authors will be exploring how to change the narrative of literature, writes Omeshnie Naidoo.

Children's author Refiloe Moahloli will join the lineup at this year’s Time of the Writer Festival, which begins in Durban on Monday.

The 29-year-old from Joburg says female protagonists at the heart of her books are imperative for young children, girls and boys, to see and recognise.

“In light of the #MeToo campaign, I believe that gender equality needs to be learnt from a young age. I’ve had the fortune of sharing my stories with children in various schools across the country.

“Despite studying towards a BCom, I always knew I would be a writer. That was a certainty. The school tours and traditional manner of storytelling allowed me to bring out the drama.

“The one thing I found to be constant is that kids love to be engaged.

“With my book How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?, which was published in March 2017 by Penguin Random House, we touched on hello in all 11 languages. All the kids wanted to share what language they spoke at home. Kids who spoke other languages even spoke up and shared their hellos as well.”

READ: Making Durban a literary capital

Her other book, Tullula, is an animal story about a magical bird that challenges the status quo and changes things for everyone.

Moahloli says she’s always wanted to inspire her niece and nephew with her characters.

“My endgame now is for them to see themselves on multiple platforms. They don’t only read books, but watch TV etc, and so I would like to create an animated series or movie they can watch.”

She says there is definitely a gap in the market for local children’s books. “We need that in South Africa.”

She joins a compelling line-up of authors who will be sharing their thoughts at the 21st Time of the Writer International Festival.

Sizwe Mpofu Walsh

The writers convene under this year’s theme of "Changing the Narrative", and will engage with this notion as it relates to their work, and the direction in which literature is moving in this context.


This 21st edition of Time of the Writer will consist of a day programme hosted in four community libraries (Austerville, Westville, Chesterville Extension and Tongaat), art centres and schools around eThekwini, where workshops and panel discussions will take place.

In the evening, panel discussions will be hosted at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College.

Jennipher Zulu

The full programme will be released on the social media channels of the festival. Tickets for the evening programme are available on Computicket. 

* For more information, please follow @Timeofthewriter on Twitter, or like the festival on Facebook at