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Thursday, October 14, 2021


The world of books and design coming together to re-imagine story telling in Africa.

The first Africa Book and Design Festival (ABDF) is set to launch on November 11 to 13, 2021, in South Africa. The festival celebrates African excellence in Literature & Design and encourages intra-African cultural exchange by connecting African authors and book designers under one roof whilst connecting their works to Africa’s growing consumer market.

The goal of the festival is to demonstrate the value of reading and design thinking to Africa’s younger generations with one of the key messages being that “If you don’t read, make sure your children do” because books open the mind in ways that no other medium can.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, the launch will be a hybrid event of physical (limited capacity) and virtual experiences. Content will be unpacked in small settings to allow attendees to stream discussions and presentations from various authors on the ABDF website, YouTube and other social platforms, with a virtual exhibition experience that will allow book sellers to showcase and sell African works that are a must-have in your personal library.

The festival is supported by South Africa’s Department of Sports, Arts & Culture: Literacy Department with the intention to expanding the literary conversation to Africa’s young audience.

The announcement comes as the Department makes evident its commitment to re-igniting the arts and cultural sector which took a hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lisa Combrink, Head: Literacy, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, says: “Covid-19 has forced the world to think local and for the most part, local means one’s country. But for Africans, it is important that we continue to engage at a continental and global level. Not only to enable our authors to continue to access a larger consumer base but for all of us to connect to our shared African history, our shared culture and our shared goal – to continue to create new narratives for and about our people.”

Nonhlanhla Matshazi, Festival Director for Africa Book & Design Festival, adds: “Africa is abundant in creative talent and at the base of creativity is literature and design. Not only do books tell our authentic African stories, they are the documentation of our told and untold history, - the guides that inspire the future. Design is at the root of all creativity – the very first story tellers were designers, telling our stories through images. At Africa Book & Design Festival, we believe books and design are key resources to documenting and informing African culture. Connecting Africans to and through these resources, empowers us all with the tools to build the Africa we want.”

Trace Africa are the exclusive broadcast partner for the festival speaking to the organisers objective to expose more young people to African literature.

“Trace aims to empower people through storytelling, entertainment and creative content campaigns. This is why it’s so important for TRACE to be a part of the first African Book and Design Festival. We recognise the need to celebrate the excellence of these authors and believe that it is our duty to encourage the intra-African cultural exchange to help build Africa’s growing youth market,” shared Trace’s Managing Director – Southern Africa & Regional Director Anglophone Africa, Valentine Gaudin-Muteba

This is but one of many events and initiatives that the department will be unveiling over the next few weeks.

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