The residents of Tshwane are in for a unique treat. They will be closing off Youth Month and welcoming Mandela Month with a new, exciting edition to the cultural calendar: Tjo!StoryFest!
The inaugural Tjo!StoryFest is a literary festival that will happen at the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus. The highlights of the two-day festival include a special tribute to community activists Florence and Fabian Ribeiro, celebrating Tshwane-born writer Kagiso Lesego Molope’s novel The Mending Season being included into the Grade 12 curriculum, and interactive readings featuring South African celebrities Hlubi Mboya, Sisanda Henna, and Lindiwe Matshikiza.
“Tjo!StoryFest is an exploration on how communities can practically assert and implement the unanimous need for ‘telling our own stories’. The choice to pay tribute to Fabian and Florence Ribeiro was a way of highlighting the importance of biographies in our communities. Many of us travel along Florence Ribeiro Drive but wouldn’t know what to say if a child asked us who she was,” explains Festival Director, Kgauhelo Dube.
Dr Barbara Ribeiro (also a medical doctor), daughter of Dr Fabian and Mrs Florence Ribeiro will give a family tribute and share some insights into how her parents’ work have shaped the person she is.
The project has been a close collaboration between Kgauhelo Dube’s Orenda Arts Collective Non Profit, The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Humanities, the Mamelodi Campus, and Elinor Sisulu’s Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.
“As Dean of Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, I’m most excited to be part of the celebration of the often-underplayed yet vast cultural and intellectual output coming from our capital city. Tshwane is a place so many of our greats called home… think Nakedi Ribane, Eskia Mphahlele, Dolly Rathebe, Zanele Mbeki, Vusi Mahlasela – the list is endless. Tjo! Storyfest presents an opportunity for us to all reflect on these BIG stories, dig into collective memory with the long-term goal of building a community archive,” adds Prof Vasu Reddy.
Because the festival also coincides with the beginning of school holidays, the programme will feature exciting mini-events for the youth with young and dynamic speakers touching on different topics such as running active book clubs, careers in the media and publishing sector, and lots more. Publishing maverick, Thabiso Mahlape, is set to give a punchy motivational talk about how being a “bookworm” eventually led her to an exciting career. Tjo!StoryFest will be celebrating Thabiso’s achievements; especially Bonang Matheba’s book “From A To B” – which her imprint BlackBirdBooks will soon be launching.
Exciting times. Exciting stories.
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