Until the advent of democracy, the communities occupied by black people had limited literary infrastructure outside the school system. There were no libraries or bookstores, authors and their works were banned and exiled, and there was no mainstream literary activity.
The dawn of democracy saw libraries built in these communities, black authors returning home, writing freely and more expansively, however there are still no bookstores, not enough relevant literature or sense of ownership of the new libraries, and -until the launch of Abantu Book Festival in 2016- no mainstream literary activity.
By creating a platform where writers and readers from the black community realise the fullness of their humanity, Abantu Book Festival transforms the literary space, speaking directly to the most urgent goal of the nation.
Abantu Book Festival is the flagship project of Abantu Initiatives, which include bookselling and publishin.
Our mission is to provide a program of free events that inspires the interest of the black community in many forms of the written and spoken word, thus creating new opportunities for knowledge production, the achievement of literacy and cultural interaction.
With two glorious editions behind us, we’ve hosted some of the world-renowned writers Africa has to offer, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zakes Mda, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Lola Shoneyin, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Chika Unigwe, Mandla Langa, Wally Serote, Sindiwe Magona, Lebo Mashile, Don Mattera, Ayobami Adebayo and many others.
The 4th Abantu Book Festival will take place in SOWETO over a period of 4 days: 5-8 December 2019, featuring 40 events, 60 writers, 1000s in attendance, and 1000s of books sold.