Puku believes in the strong foundation that literacy and access to literature creates for our youth and their communities.  Through partner programs, we work to ensure books are available and accessible to all children. We do this through variety of initiatives and event that promote the reading, storytelling, and buying of children’s books especially in indigenous languages and across the country.  

Events and activities that we regularly engage in and/or produce include:

  • Puku Story Festival
  • Rutanang Book Fair
  • World Environment Workshop
  • Lowveld Book Festival
  • Northern Cape Writers Festival
  • Puku Afri-kids Festival
  • Abuntu Book Festival

Puku Story Festival

Puku has been the driving force behind the Puku Story Festivals in Grahamstown since 2013. Implemented in partnership with the National Arts Festival and the African Studies Department at Rhodes University, these festivals aim to facilitate access to literature and educational/recreational materials in isiXhosa. The Puku Story Festival in Grahamstown has been a successful pilot that can be replicated in other languages and regions, either as stand-alone Puku festivals or as children’s literature components of other festivals.

Puku communicates, advocates, networks and participates in the promotion of books, authors, publishers, buyers, and readers of children’s African literature content. This includes language-driven educational resources and recreational materials. Our intentions for the future include establishing online language communities that will be boosted by offline initiatives such as the Puku Story Festival.

Popular Literary Events

There are also a number of literary events that take place around the country where you can meet and interact with published as well as aspiring writers and illustrators.

Abantu Book Festival: This is an annual literary event held in Soweto, South African’s artistic heartland, featuring authors from South Africa, Africa, and the diaspora. Abantu is the Nguni word for people, which makes this the people’s festival. “Our mission is to set up a literature event that provides black writers and readers the platform and visibility they deserve. The first edition of Abantu Book Festival was held on 06 -10 December 2016, a five day experience of readings, discussions, music and other forms of storytelling folded in the mix.

Time of the Writer: During this activity-rich week, audiences can expect to hear the opinions of award-winning writers, from a variety of political and social contexts, on the creative and artistic processes and perspectives which inform their writing.

Open Book Festival: Open Book Cape Town is an annual literary festival, the first of which happened in 2011. The hubs are always the Fugard Theatre and much-loved indie bookshop, The Book Lounge.

Franschhoek Literary Festival: The annual Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place in May, featuring an array of topics from hot politics to cool poetry, love stories to the horrors of war.
South African Book Fair: The re-imagined South African Book Fair is now owned by the South African Book Development Council and will be incorporated into the exiting National Book Week which runs in the first week of September. The SABDC has drawn inspiration from current South African narratives and the new Fair will look at the meaning of being South African and having an African perspective.

Jozi Book Fair: The overall objective of Jozi Book Fair is to provide a public and visible platform where three key social partners in the promotion of a culture of reading and writing can come together.

Knysna Literary Festival: The Knysna Literary Festival is now in its 8th year. It is the Garden Route’s only annual festival that hosts an exclusive group of hand-picked authors from South Africa and is fast becoming a must-attend with bookworms and lovers of all things literary.
M&G Literary Festival The M&G Literary Festival, affectionately known as Litfest, explores literary questions in sessions ranging from fiction, nonfiction, editing and publishing to reporting and academic theorising.

Richmond Book Fair: The small dorpie of Richmond in the Northern Cape has become well-known as the “Booktown” of South Africa. This annual book fair takes place in October.