The aim of a Story Festival is to provide a joyous and memorable event that will spark childrenʼs interest in storytelling and reading in isiXhosa. The festivals also provide a platform for collaboration and communication between readers, writers and publishers of isiXhosa childrenʼs literature. The festivals empower isiXhosa teachers and librarians with access to resources and writers whilst generating public awareness around isiXhosa childrenʼs literature.

The annual three-day festival programme is designed to cater for all age groups – children in pre-school and primary school, teenagers, parents, care-givers, teachers members of the general public. Buskers, giant puppets, stilt-walkers, marimba and field bands all help storytellers keep their audiences, young and old, entertained.

A long line-up of storytellers and writers lead storytelling performances and writing workshops. Award-winning writers storytellers that have participated in these events include Sindiwe Magona, Gcina Mhlope, Cebo Solombela, Mhlobho Jadezweni, Grahamstownʼ s own Siphiwo Mahala and internationally-acclaimed actor and film and theatre director John Kani.

The main festival venue has changed from the Monument to the new building of the National English Literary Museum (NELM) in Worcester Street, Grahamstown. A highlight of the Festival is the Exhibition that runs daily, alongside book launches, conversations and reading, and open mic sessions. The Exhibition is curated by the National English Literary Museum, and has a display of isiXhosa children’s books and digital content.