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Saturday, January 30, 2016


(Menzi Mkhwane, whose playscript “Last Cow Standing” will be published in the Junkets10Series)

On 22 April 2005, the eve of Shakespeare’s birthday and of World Book Day, a tiny independent publishing house launched its first book: a novel Rebel Angel based on the life of the poet John Keats, by Robin Malan. The launch happened in the Centre for the Book in Cape Town.

“Ten years later,” says Junkets owner-manager Robin Malan, “we’ve positioned ourselves as the only publisher dedicated to putting into print new South African plays. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of mainstream publishers who publish plays. When that happens, it will be a play by John Kani or Athol Fugard or Zakes Mda. A few South African playwrights are published by Oberon Books in London: Lara Foot, Reza de Wet, and Craig Higginson.”

However, in 2007 Junkets found a way of publishing new plays in low-cost high-quality editions: they were produced cheaply enough to be sold in the foyer of the theatre where the play was playing as a programme-cum-text souvenir.

‘Very quickly university and school libraries saw the value of what we were doing, and now, ten years on, we have built a substantial library of plays: over 30 Playscripts, six anthologies of plays, plus books of Southern African monologues and collections of African folktales adapted for the stage.’

To celebrate their tenth birthday, Junkets has launched a new series of playscripts, The Junkets10Series, 10 playscripts that will be produced in their anniversary year. The Series has a distinctive uniform design, with production photographs distinguishing each playscript from the others.

By the end of February 2016, five of the ten playscripts will have been published and there will be an Official Launch of the Junkets10Series on 29 February, Leap-Year Day.

‘Of course, we don’t have money to publish ten new playscripts under our own steam,’ says Malan with something of a wry smile. So, with the willing assistance of the authors, Junkets launched a Sponsor-a-Playscript campaign via email and Facebook. Sponsorship includes a full Playscript (R8,000), half-a-Playscript (R4,000) or any number of pages of a Playscript @ R100 per page.

Among the plays in the series, forthcoming over the next few months, will be Last Cow Standing by Durban based actor/playwright and director Menzi Mkhwane.

For more information email or visit or contact Robin Malan on 076 169 2789.