Press release: Madibaland World Literary Festival, 20–30 November 2020

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Darryl David

It’s going to be the festival of the year, beams Darryl David! “It might very well be the only festival of the year, but boy will it make up for the many that we missed!”

At the end of April, I announced nothing more than a dream to create the world’s largest online literary festival. Four months later, I can proudly announce the launch of the inaugural Madibaland World Literary Festival from 20–30 November 2020. For those not familiar with South Africa, the festival name was inspired by a travel book of the same name by well-known writer and journalist Denis Beckett, which in turn was inspired by a man who needs no introduction, a man known the world over – Nelson Mandela, who was lovingly called Madiba in this part of the world. The festival is a partnership between the University of the Western Cape and Book Town Richmond, the only Book Town in South Africa and on the African continent. The University of the Western Cape, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, will take charge of the online architecture for the festival, leaving Book Town Richmond to concentrate on what they do best – create unforgettable book festivals. And when you see the line-up for the inaugural festival, it will become clear why this festival has the potential to become the flagship international book festival for South Africa.

And few would argue with the statement above when they peruse the list of writers set to speak at the inaugural festival. There are literally writers from every corner of the world. And the who’s who of South African writers have also assembled for this festival. 

Although we are waiting for a few more writers, including a large cohort from India, to confirm their participation, here is the preliminary line-up for the Madibaland World Literary Festival:

    1. Shilpa Raj: The elephant chaser’s daughter
    2. John Connell: The cow book
    3. John Connell: The running book
    4. Greg Marinovich: Shots from the edge: A photojournalist’s encounters with conflict and resilience
    5. Jacob Dlamini: Askari: A story of collaboration and betrayal in the anti-apartheid struggle
    6. Jacob Dlamini: The terrorist album: Apartheid’s insurgents, collaborators and the security police
    7. Gabeba Baderoon: The history of intimacy
    8. Christopher Merrill: Poetry
    9. Christopher Merrill: Walt Whitman, Song of myself
    10. Michael Green: For the sake of silence
    11. Christopher Nicholson: Winter
    12. Christopher Nicholson: Among the summer snows
    13. Angie Butler: Explorers of the heroic age
    14. Emma Neale: Billy bird
    15. Emma Neale: Poetry
    16. Karen Karbo: The stuff of life
    17. Karen Karbo: The gospel according to Coco Chanel
    18. Kiki Petrosino: Witch wife
    19. Kiki Petrosino: White blood: A lyric of Virginia
    20. Sumayya Lee: The story of Maha
    21. Chris Abani: The secret history of Las Vegas (tbc)
    22. Etienne van Heerden: Die biblioteek aan die einde van die wêreld (The library at the end of the world)
    23. Fred Khumalo: The longest march (tbc)
    24. Hugh Bland: The trappist missions
    25. Hedi Lampert: The trouble with my aunt
    26. Ashwin Desai: Inside Indian indenture
    27. Breyten Breytenbach: Poetry (tbc)
    28. Dominique Malherbe: Sarah Goldblatt biography
    29. Chris Nicholson (South African judge) (tbc)
    30. Erica Platter: Durban curry
    31. Vernon Head: A tree for the birds
    32. Athol Williams: Poetry
    33. Fikile Hlatshwayo: Blacks do caravan
    34. Carol Campbell: The tortoise cried its only tear
    35. Zoë Wicomb: Still life
    36. Lauri Kubuitsile: But deliver us from evil
    37. Rumena Bužarovska: My husband
    38. Amanda Michalopoulou: God’s wife
    39. Nikola Madžirov: Remnants of another age
    40. Dana Snyman: On the back roads / Soekmekaar
    41. Antony Osler: Mzanzi Zen
    42. Mike Lowry / Steve Wimberley / Phillip Kretzman: Inspirational animal stories
    43. Tracy Going: Brutal legacy
    44. Vladimir Martinovski: Poetry
    45. Riana Scheepers: A writer’s house (tbc)
    46. Diana Ferrus: Poetry
    47. Jan van Tonder: Die verevrou
    48. Ronnie Kasrils: Catching tadpoles
    49. Raashida Khan: Fragrance of forgiveness
    50. Ronnie Govender in conversation with Rajendra Chetty (tbc)
    51. ZP Dala / Sylvia Garib: Durban in words (tbc)
    52. Philippe Menache & Darryl David: Churches of South Africa: A platteland pilgrimage
    53. Hattie Edmonds: The spectacular vision of Oskar Dunkelblick
    54. Jolyn Phillips: Bientang (tbc)
    55. Shanthini Naidoo: Women in solitary (tbc)
    56. Jerzy Koch: Pleks van plaas
    57. Elleke Boehmer: Southern imagining: To the volcano
    58. Nico Moolman: Russia in the Anglo-Boer War
    59. Mongane Wally Serote: Sikhahlel’ u-OR: A praise poem for Oliver Tambo (tbc)
    60. Mandla Langa: Dare not linger (tbc)
    61. Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
    62. Paul Weinberg: Traces and tracks: A 30-year journey with the San
    63. Lizzie Collingham: The hungry empire: How Britain’s quest for food shaped the modern world
    64. Lizzie Collingham: Curry: A tale of cooks and conquerors
    65. Kirsten Miller: All that is left
    66. Andrew Miller: Dub steps
    67. Don Pinnock: The last elephants
    68. Patricia Schonstein: The inn at Helsvlakte
    69. Petro Hansen: Vervleg
    70. Andries Bezuidenhout: Onplaats
    71. Ronelda Kamfer: Chinatown (poetry)
    72. Marguerite Poland: A sin of omission
    73. Natalie Conyer: Sisters in crime – three Sydney crime writers
    74. AM Kamaal: Nigeria / Nome Patrick Emeka: Nigerian poets (tbc)
    75. Nathan Trantraal: Oolog (poetry)
    76. James Daschuk: Clearing the plains
    77. Pieter-Louis Myburgh: Gangster state (tbc)
    78. Chris Marais & Julienne du Toit: Karoo roads
    79. Bronwyn Davids: Lansdowne dearest: My family’s story of forced removals
    80. Zirk van den Bergh: Ek wens, ek wens
    81. Erns Grundlingh: Sushi en Shosholoza: Rugbyreise en pelgrimstogte in Japan
    82. Antjie Krog: Poetry
    83. Petrovna Metelerkamp: Jeanne Goosen: ’n Lewe vol sinne
    84. Lynn Joffe: The gospel according to Wanda B Lazarus
    85. Mike Nicol: Espionage fiction
    86. Obie Oberholzer: Photography
    87. Christy Lefteri: The beekeeper of Aleppo
    88. Zanele Dlamini: Wounds of ignorance
    89. Landa Mabenge: Becoming him: A trans memoir of triumph
    90. Audrey Schulman: Theory of bastards
    91. Cherry Lewis: The enlightened Mr Parkinson
    92. Chris Mann: Troubadour
    93. Irene Fisher: I am still here
    94. Clinton du Plessis: Poetry
    95. Cameron McNeish: Scotland’s 100 best walks / There’s always the hills
    96. John T Edge: The Potlikker papers: A food history of the modern South
    97. Kobus Moolman
    98. Gerbrand Bakker: Boven is het stil (The twin) / De omweg (The detour)
    99. Sjón: The whispering muse (author an Academy Award-nominated singer)
    100. Deborah Rodriguez: The little coffee shop of Kabul
    101. Amy McDaid: Fake baby
    102. John Matisonn: Cyril’s choices
    103. Sharon Gosling: The house of hidden wonders – in conversation with Hugh David
    104. Chigozie Obioma: The fishermen / An orchestra of minorities
    105. Gaireyah Fredericks / Jaja Binks: Kaaps oppie Richterskaal
    106. Johan Jack Smith: Zola
    107. Colleen Higgs: My mother, my madness
    108.  Ria Winters: Reise met Schoeman
    109. Thomas Mollett: The Anni Dewani murder
    110. Christine Barkhuizen-le Roux: My naam is Prins
    111. Anel Heydenrych: Die afloerder
    112. Carla van der Spuy: Plaasmoorde (tbc)
    113. In memoriam: Session dedicated to all writers who lay down their pen in 2020
    114. Anton Harber: Southern African muckraking: 300 years of investigative journalism (tbc)
    115. Andisiwa Kawa: Enough
    116. John Costello: The Wild Coast
    117. Raks Seakhoa: Halala Madiba (poetry)
    118. Daniel Hugo: Die verdriet van België / Oorlog en terpentyn
    119. Lize Albertyn-du Toit: Die kinders van spookwerwe
    120. Paul Weinberg: On common ground – an exhibition of Peter Magubane and David Goldblatt
    121. Bridget Krone: Small mercies
    122. Marita van der Vyver: Borderline (Grensgeval)
    123. Hector Kunene: Poetry
    124. Sindiswa Seakhoa: Songs for Madiba (music)
    125. Irna van Zyl: Bloedsteen (Blood stone)
    126. Barbara Boswell: Black South African women’s novels as feminism
    127. Deena Padayachee: Poetry / short story
    128. Rajie Tudge: Teaching the canna bush

For further queries, please contact Darryl Earl David at or on WhatsApp on 066 455 8822; website:

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    Hi Darryl,
    Philip Kretzmann here. Mike Lowry notified me that I had been included as a participant. I am happy with that. Please record me going forward as follows.

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