The 27th ‘Time of the Writer’ festival boasts a stimulating literary line-up

Professor Zakes Mda who will deliver the keynote address. File image.

Professor Zakes Mda who will deliver the keynote address. File image.

Published Mar 12, 2024


More than a 100 writers have descended upon Durban’s shores to partake in the 27th annual “Time of the Writer” festival, which kicks off on Thursday, March 14.

Led by Dr Ismail Mahomed, a multi-award winning arts administrator and published playwright, the creative gathering is presented by The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN’s) Centre for Creative Arts (CCA).

The eight-day event, curated under the theme, “Reflections, Resonance & Revival”, will be packed with live events, book launches, panel discussions, workshops and readings.

Poet and novelist Tshosheletso Chidi Bongwadi, who is this the curator-in-residence for this year’s festival, explained that the purpose of the gathering is to put creative works in the spotlight.

“We want the festival to be a site for rediscovering the resonance of literature, reflecting on shared narratives and for reviving the essence of storytelling for social justice.”

Meanwhile, Mahomed believes that Bongwadi adds a new perspective to the festival’s stimulating literary line-up.

“We believe that she brings a fresh eye to our curatorial processes and that she has an enthusiastic focus on developing opportunities for new and emerging writers to be profiled alongside established literary luminaries.”

The festival line-up is also set to feature award-winning SA novelist, poet and playwright, Professor Zakes Mda, who will deliver the keynote address.

The internationally-celebrated author will reflect on how literature has resonated with our nation, stirring conversations about democracy, freedom and equality.

Mda’s address will be followed by a conversation with Barbara Boswell, Sandile Memela and Rose Francis, which will be moderated by Sanele KaNtshingana.

Other festival participants include renowned political analyst Ebrahim Fakir, KZN-born queer poet and writer Thando Fuze and novelist Angela Makholwa.

In addition, award-winning author Nokuthula Mazibuko Msimang’s “Harmony in Legacy: A Tribute to Dolly Rathebe”, is also set to be a festival highlight.

Msimang will delve into Rathebe’s undervalued contributions to music, song-writing, composition, film and entertainment as a whole.

Then on Saturday, March 16, Zibu Sithole, Barbara Boswell, Tessa Dooms and Lynsey Chutel are anticipated to delve into the complexities of gender and identity, as they offer unique perspectives on self-discovery.

This session promises a rich and nuanced conversation, as the creatives tackle issues such as intersectionality, societal expectations and the evolving understanding of gender in the modern world.

And then during “Rhythms of Resilience”, iconic dancer and choreographer Gregory Maqoma will share his childhood experiences.

These are marked by a deep connection to Soweto’s rhythms, a passion for dance and a commitment to social justice during the politically-charged 1980s.

The last day of the creative gathering will be on March 21 and the festivities will end with Human Rights Day commemorations as well as the celebration of International Mother Language Day.

Poets Tsosheletso Chidi, Vangile Gantsho, Uhuru Phalafala, Thando Fuze and Lethu Nkwanyana will take attendees on a journey that transcends borders and celebrates the beauty of languages that is rooted in cultural heritage.

Where: Alliance Française in Morningside as well as on Facebook and YouTube.

When: March 14 - 21.

Cost: Tickets range from R30 to R150 and are available from Webtickets.

Theatre actress Cara Roberts. l INSTAGRAM

The King of Broken Things

This theatre production is an adventurous and magical excursion into the rehabilitation of broken and discarded objects.

This bittersweet journey, viewed through the unfiltered mind of a child who is wise beyond his years, is said to rehabilitate every heart that experiences it.

The award-winning 2018 production has travelled to gatherings such as The Hilton Arts Festival, the National Arts Festival as well as internationally.

It stars theatre actress Cara Roberts, who portrays the character of a bullied young boy who finds an outlet as “the king” who fixes, repairs and finds alternative uses for a variety of broken objects that litter the stage.

Written and directed by Michael Taylor-Broderick, the show is about love, loss and about how society underestimates the value and role of a father in a family.

“It is such a big thing worldwide that we lack the male presence in many homes and it’s a sad thing because kids without a male role model are completely unfinished products.

“Aside from that, it is about having hope and constantly dreaming and believing in things that you want,” said Broderick.

He added that the show will allow people to let go to cry.

“I don’t know why or how, but that’s what it does and everyone needs that. We all need a release. This gives you a place of comfort to do that.”

Where: Kearsney College Hall in Bothas Hill.

When: March 21 at 7.30pm.

Cost: R130 - R150 from Webtickets.