Week of the African Novel with a.o. Ingrid Winterbach, Willem Anker & Andries Bezuidenhout
The Week of the African novel took place in The Netherlands and Flanders between 29 September and 8 October 2017. B-Unlimited opened the Week of the African Novel on Friday 29 September with an inspiring 'literary roadshow' full of South-African literature, language, art and music. No less then six authors performed, among which novelists, a thriller writer, a singer-songwriter and a poet, a playwright and the driving force behind a educational language project in Soweto. Six guests, admired in their own country who shed their individual lights on contemporary South-Africa. Moderator: Christine Otten.The evening was Dutch and Afrikaans spoken.
This B-Unlimited evening alternated between literature, music and
conversation. It was about African literature, from different angles,
with authors published in the Netherlands (Ingrid Winterbach and Willem
Anchor). Andries Bezuidenhout performed as singer-songwriter, Amy Jephta
performed in Cape African (Kaaps Afrikaans), the language used in Cape Flats, a region afflicted by drug wars and gangster violence. Rudie van Rensburg talked about his oeuvre as a thriller writer. Suzie Mathotalla talked about her work and the African-in-Soweto project.
Program compiled in collaboration with the Week of the African novel by
Ilonka Reintjens (Writers Unlimited) Book sales: Bookstore Van Stockum
On Friday evening September 29th B-Unlimited welcomed:
As a novelist and playwright Willem Anker won all possible prizes in South
Africa. About his recently in Dutch translated novel Buys de
Volkskrant writes: "The historical novel Buys is an overwhelming portrait of
an unspeakable quarrel finder. The value of this testosterone proza lies in
calling for a disappeared world."
Andries Bezuidenhout is a true creative centipede. He made a name for
himself as the frontman of one of the first major rock bands in Africa,
Brixton Murder and Roof Orchestra. In recent years he presents himself as a
singer-songwriter in the tradition of Koos du Plessis and Koos Kombuis.
Andries Bezuidenhout is also known in South Africa as a painter, poet and
columnist. And this all alongside his job as a university principal
professor of occupational sociology at the University of Pretoria.
Amy Jephta writes plays and film scenarios; further more she is theater
director and lecturer at the University of Cape Town. In her play,
Kristalvlakte, which has also appeared in book form, she moves the story of
Bertolt Brechts Mutter Courage to the poverty, drugs and gang-wrecked world of the Cape Flats. Amy Jephta knows the live on that flat from the inside out and writes her dialogues in raw and undisputed Cape African.
Suzie Matlhola is the driving force behind the African-in-Soweto project.
Suzie and her team of volunteers tutor Afrikaans to the children of Soweto
after school, the big township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Thanks to
this extra education the children not only get higher grades; they also
increase their chances on a better follow-up and a good job. A beautiful
example of what they call 'bemagtiging' in African. During the week Suzie
performs together with Karien Brits, an expert in multilingualism, who in
addition to African and English speaks Polish, Spanish, Venda and Tswana.
Rudie van Rensburg is one of the most important African-speaking thriller
writers of this moment. His police omnipotence on the stupid, but brilliant
captain Kassie Kasselman is characterized by a mix of crime, actuality,
colorful characters, intrigue and humor against the decor of the
breathtaking landscape of South Africa.
Ingrid Winterbach is probably the most acclaimed writer in contemporary
African literature. Her novels are selfish, poetic, associative, humorous,
critical and enigmatic. Her books do not easily give their secret away. And
that's just what makes the author so intriguing and irresistible for her loyal
readers. Two of Ingrid Winterbachs novels, Niggie and Het boek van toeval en toeverlaat, are translated into Dutch.
Christine Otten is a writer, performer and theatre producer. Her 2004 breakthrough came with De laatste dichters (The Last Poets), nominated for the Libris Literature Prize. This novel about the lives of four black Americans who became famous as "The Last Poets" was adapted for theatre. In her 2014 novel Rafael she tells the story of pregnant hairdresser Winny from Brabant and Tunesian Nizar, who become separated because of the war. We hadden liefde, we hadden wapens (We Had Love, We Had Weapons), Otten's swirling 2016 novel, is about the life of the black citizen's rights activist Robert F. Williams in America, and about taking a stand for the right to be who you are, regardless of the consequences. Starting in 2017, a musical theatre version of the book will tour the Netherlands.