CityLife Arts

Race and identity to be dissected at the 2020 virtual South African Book Fair

By CityLife Arts Writer

This year’s virtual South African Book Fair has seven unmissable sessions for anyone interested in race and identity.

Up first is The World Looks Like This From Here: masculinity, misogyny and African psychology on September 12th at 11h30. In a session moderated by award-winning author Malebo Sephodi, the gendered journeys of boys to men and girls to women in contemporary SA townships will be discussed by Malose Langa (Becoming Men: Black Masculinities In A South African Township), Kopano Ratele (The World Looks Like This From Here: Thoughts On African Psychology) and Ayanda Borotho (Unbecoming To Become: My Journey Back To Self)

White Privilege takes centrestage in another Saturday session (13h00 to 14h00). Melinda Ferguson (Smacked; Hooked), Fiona Snyckers (Lacuna) and Dr Sarah Godsell (Liquid Bones) will speak frankly to Prof Christi van der Westhuizen about the meaning of white privilege – globally and in the context of South Africa. 

Dr Alma-Nalisha Cele of Cheeky Natives will facilitate the session Feminism: Our Bodies, Our Truths from 16h00 to 17h00. Mishumo Madima, Terry-Ann Adams, Jen Thorpe and Anelile Dlamini-Gibixego will together explore how women’s bodies filter their life experiences and can be tools for conformity or resistance. 

The programme on Sunday September 13th features more fascinating sessions around race and identity.

Dala what you must: Diverse Stories from Coloured Perspectives (10h30 to 11h30) will see broadcaster Lester Kiewit lead what promises to be an entertaining and also serious conversation on the heterogeneity of coloured identities and cultures through language. Authors Bernie Fabing (Is Alles Oraait Byrie Hys?), Lynthia Julius, (Uit die Kroes) and Mia Arderne, (Mermaid Fillet) make up the panel.

Breaking through shame: Overcoming societal norms is the topic under scrutiny between 12h00 and 13h00. Jamil F. Khan, (Khamr: The Makings Of A Waterslams), Chiké Frankie Edozien (Lives Of Great Men) and Mark Gevisser (The Pink Line) will discuss their queer journeys, and past, present and future LGBTQ+ frontiers with facilitator, lawyer Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane. Also at noon, is a session on Perils Of Patriarchy, a collection of 10 honest essays by 10 womxn giving their real-life accounts of the patriarchy in their spaces, bodies, skin, hair and sexuality. Writers Cassandra Moodley, Felicia Thobejane, Thuli Nduvane and Yasaar Moosa, and editor Candice Chirwa make up the panel.

Finally, from 14h00 to 15h00, a trio of authors – Zukiswa Wanner (Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir Of Sorts), Sisonke Msimang (Always Another Country) and Munnira Katongole – interrogate the most important decentralised movement of our time, examining how marginalised segments of larger communities remain on the periphery. This session on Black Lives Matters is moderated by Letlhogonolo Mokgoroane.

Tickets for full three-day access cost just R50 and are available at

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