Ngu: Bongani Godide
September 2018

Unyaka ngamunye iNingizimu Afrika ibamba imicimbi yezincwadi eziningana njengengxenye noma ukukhuthaza imisebenzi yokufunda ezweni. Lezi zindaba ezibalulekile ngokuphathelene nemicimbi yokufunda kuleli zwe kodwa ngizogxila ezindabeni ezimbili eziqakathekileko, eyodwa ibe yiyo indawo futhi okwesibili kuzoba khona ukuhlanganyela nokubamba iqhaza kwezingane ekucabangeni amazinga aphansi okufunda nokubhala kuleli zwe.

Incwadi kaZwelonke yeNcwadi ibuye yathuthuka kakhulu kusukela ekuqaleni kwayo eminyakeni eminingi eyedlule, ngiyakhumbula izinsuku ebezigcinwe eMuseum Afrika, lapho yonke into yayingaphansi kophahla olulodwa futhi abahlanganyeli bebehamba besuka kwelinye igumbi ukuya kwelinye. Imyuziyamu ye-Afrika iyindawo enkulu kodwa isilinganiso sencwadi kazwelonke yezenzo kusukela emisebenzini kuya ezinhlelweni ozoyibona ukuthi yenza kanjani indawo leyo ibonakale encane. Phakathi neminyaka abahleli balesi senzakalo bashintshe indawo kusuka endaweni eyodwa kuya komunye engicabanga ukuthi kuwumqondo omuhle ngoba uhlonipha indawo engenziwanga kuyo yonke indawo kodwa kubantu baseNingizimu Afrika.

Kulo nyaka i-Fair yafika emakethe ye-Market yaseshashalazini. Isikhala sasimangalisa ngokukhethekile kakhulu ukuthi imisebenzi yabelwe kanjani izindawo ezithile ezivela ekuzijabuliseni kwezingane ukuya ezingxoxweni ezibucayi. Empeleni indawo leyo ifanelana nomcimbi walo nyaka futhi empeleni yahambisana nendlela evezwe ngayo. Ngiphakamisa ukukhetha lolu hlobo lwendawo kulo nyaka.

Umcimbi uqale ngoLwesihlanu kuze kube ngeSonto ntambama. Ngangijabule ngohlelo lwezingane nokuthi ngabe imisebenzi yabelwe kanjani. Le ndawo yayiyizindawo ezimbili zemisebenzi yabantwana, owokuqala kwakuyi-Main Theaters lapho yonke indawo yesikhombiso senziwa khona kanti le ndawo yayiyindawo engaphandle kwendawo eseduze ne-Newtown Mall, okuyi-walk of five minutes from theater main. Ngaphandle, kwakukhona amavolontiya atholakala kalula ngamatekisi abo abamnyama enikeza usizo kunoma ubani owadinga ukusiza.

I-Newtown Mall inikeze isikhala esihle ngemisebenzi yezingane ngoba yayigcinwe kahle futhi amakamelo amathathu ayenamavolontiya abo azimisele ukusiza nganoma isiphi isikhathi. AmaCotland, abathengisi bezindaba kanye nezinye izinhlangano babesesigaba sabantwana. Kumelwe ngitshele ukuthi abazali bangashiya izingane zabo ngenkathi beya eminye imisebenzi ngenxa yokuthi ithimba lalingenelelana kanjani.

Ukuhamba kwezingane kwakungcono kakhulu kuneminyaka eyedlule, kuzo zonke izinto kwakukhona izingane ngaso sonke isikhathi. Kwakufana nabazali abaningi abazange bafike enkulumweni yezincwadi ezaza ukuletha izingane futhi ngenxa yemisebenzi izingane zazigcinwe umatasa kulo lonke ilungelo. Omunye umqondo kungenzeka ukuthi enye yemindeni yayiza emakethe futhi yabona imisebenzi eminingi yezingane ezenzekayo. Ngiyavuma njalo ukuthi imisebenzi enjalo yenzeke ezindaweni ezivamile lapho izakhamuzi ezijwayelekile zihlala khona nsukuzonke.


The National Book Fair

By: Bongani Godide
September 2018

Each year South Africa hosts a number of book events as part of promoting literacy activities in the country. With many important issues in regards to literacy, two strategic issues come to light with literacy events – the venue and children’s attendance and participation, taking into consideration the low literacy levels in the country.

The National Book Fair has improved very much since its inception many years ago. I remember the days when it was held at Museum Africa; everything was under one roof and participants would be moving from one room to the other. Museum Africa is a huge venue and with the scale of the National Book Fair, from activities to programmes, it made the venue look small. Over the years, the organisers of this event changed the venue to other areas, a good idea to decentralise the event, ensuring it didn’t belong to any one space, but rather to the people of South Africa.

This year, the fair came to the Market Theatre precinct. The space was incredible, especially as the activities were allocated to specific locations, from children’s entertainment to serious discussions. In essence the venue matched the event for this year and complemented how it unfolded. A thumbs up to the selectors!

The event started on Friday and ran until Sunday afternoon. I was especially excited with the children’s programme and how activities were allocated. Two venues for children’s activities were marked – the Main Theatre where plays and shows were taking place – and an erected outdoor area next to Newtown Mall, a five minute walk from the main theatre. Outside, volunteers who could easily be identified with their black t-shirts offered directions and assistance to anyone who needed help.

The Newtown Mall offered a beautiful space for the children’s activities. Securely barricaded, each of the three rooms had their own volunteers who were willing to assist at any time. Cotlands, storytellers and other organisations such as Mandwele and Ethnikids, were present too. Parents could leave their children while they attended other events.

The attendance by children was much better than in previous years, in each of the activities there were children all the time. It seemed as if most parents did not come specifically to the Book Fair, but instead it was an outing for the children, a place filled with activities to keep children busy.
Families that came to the mall also got to see the many children’s activities taking place. The National Book Fair also saw a multiracial audience visiting the children’s section this time.

I always advocate for activities that take place in public spaces where ordinary citizens can frequent them on a daily basis. One of the challenges with such a venue, however, is coordinating activities on the understanding of such events. As participants we had to arrange with parents and children to move from one room to another in order to accommodate everyone. At some point we ended up helping to fix the programme so that it met our needs.

Schools, ECD’s and children’s organisations were all at the event, and that enhanced the audience because the children’s theatre shows were full at all times. Many of those children wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come to such an event, but through the schools, they came.

Towards the end of the programme on Sunday, we were given books to give away and the venue was so full that most of the children did not receive books. The important thing to note is that they were exposed to puppetry, storytelling and books. The legacy can live longer in children’s minds as they remember where we get stories from, and as the parents take the process forward, buying books at home and taking children to libraries and local reading clubs.

In closing, this year the National Book Fair was a success, especially in the children’s section.

I, for one however, would like to see more book exhibitions in the children’s section and allowing the children’s side of the fair to own its own activity and freedom of movement. After all, children can easily be guided by volunteers to move in groups from one stand to the other.

BG.