2014 South African Book Fair Satisfies Book Lovers' Appetites
The 2014 South African Book Fair, which took place between 13 and 15 June at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, has been hailed as a success.
With over 120 events, access to 100 authors, illustrators, storytellers, book critics, puppet shows, book launches and book club brunches on offer under one roof, visitors were truly spoilt for choice.
For Batya Green-Bricker, the Fair’s Programme Director, the 2014 South African Book Fair attracted crowds from all walks of life, “Book lovers and casual readers were drawn into the magic of what the Fair had to offer. Books provided an escape, inspiration, education and entertainment. Whoever you are, whatever your reason for reading or picking up a book, the SABF was a space and time dedicated to making all sorts of books come to life.”
This year the fair attracted several thousand visitors, which is on par with the 2012 South African Book Fair. Other memorable highlights of the 2014 South African Book Fair included:
• Children shrieking with glee at the sight of the larger-than-life Gruffalo, Peter Rabbit, Spot the Dog, Maisy Mouse, and Where’s Wally. Children were also transported into a whimsical world with the Two Oceans Aquarium puppet shows
• Hearing the views of three brilliant minds and personalities in three judges, Justice Edwin Cameron, Justice Albie Sachs and Justice Lee Bozalek
• Seeing how education publishers have so successfully bridged the physical-digital divide. This includes the technological advancement of the Humanware Braillenote Apex BT32 Braille notetaker, which will empower South Africa’s visually challenged students in the 21st Century. This was showcased by Pearson and Edit Microsystems
• Squeezing more chairs into an event venue to accommodate the overflow of listeners – especially in the self-publishing slots
• Neil Stemmert talking heritage food with his poetical and authentic combination of English and Afrikaans
• The diverse audience drawn by Professors Njabulo Ndebele and Harry Garuba’s talk on how to write our African story.
According to Siphiwo Mahala, Head of Books and Publishing at the Department of Arts and Culture: “The South African Book Fair is an important platform in our endeavour to develop a literate and reading society. The importance of literacy and a vibrant culture of reading cannot be overemphasised. Literacy underpins development in all sectors of society in a modern world and contributes not only to a knowledge economy, but also stimulates economic growth and job creation.”
Due to the widespread popularity of the South African Book Fair, the Publisher’s Association of South Africa (PASA) has opted to nationalise the Fair. The 2015 South African Book Fair will take place in Johannesburg. “In line with requests from a number of key stakeholders, PASA believes that by positioning the Fair nationally, this will increase interest with current participants from a location point of view. In addition, we are targeting increased involvement with new regional stakeholders,” comments Mpuka Radinku, the Executive Director of PASA.