Literary feast heads to Mitchell’s Plain

Plainsman reporters Marsha Leitch and Fouzia van der Fort, Cape Community Newspapers assistant editor Simonéh de Bruin, editor Chantel Erfort, sports editor and content producer Fuad Esack and team leader Lauren OConnor-May.

This weekend will see the inaugural Cape Flats Book Festival in Mitchell’s Plain where bookworms will get to meet local authors and take part in panel discussions and workshops.

Festival organisers, Read to Rise, a non-profit organisation which promotes youth literacy in under-resourced communities, has left no stone unturned to ensure there is something for every interest and personality at West End Primary School in Lentegeur where the event is taking place,

Authors, illustrators, publishers and literacy groups will be at the school, in Merrydale Avenue, from 9am to 5pm on Saturday August 31 and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday September 1, telling their stories, selling books and sharing their reading experiences in the form of panel discussions and workshops. Entry is free.

The packed programme includes a poetry reading by acclaimed poet and writer, Diana Ferrus, a discussion with Yusuf Daniels on his book Living Coloured, a nod to history and nostalgia with My Lover, My Country author Farieda Abrahams, a discussion with author of Shades of Cape Flats, Rodney Brown; a look at social struggles with author of I am, Luthando Lucas; a cookbook discussion with twins Gadija Sydow Noordien and Fatima Sydow, a motivational talk with Lance Brown, author of The Driver of Change, a discussion with young authors Lameez Abrahams and Amr Salie and a puppet show with Oaky from the books series.

The team from the Plainsman, which marks its 40th anniversary next month, will also be there at noon on Sunday September 1 to facilitate a workshop on community journalism.

Chantel Erfort, editor of Cape Community Newspapers (CCN), which publishes the Plainsman and its 14 sister titles, said CCN was passionate about promoting literacy, and celebrating the work of local authors.

“We are thrilled to be sharing the platform of the Cape Flats Book Festival with local authors who are making great strides in telling local stories and affirming the diverse lived experiences of people in Cape Town, through their work,” she said.

In the past month the Plainsman has run a short story writing competition for Mitchell’s Plain pupils, in partnership with Read to Rise, and profiled some of the organisations and authors who will be at the book festival.

One such organisation the Mikhulu Child Development Trust, which encourages parents to help their young children to develop important skills that will help them get ready to read, and to do well at school, will also be at the festival.

Helen Alexander, spokesperson for the trust, said children need to develop a range of skills, including language, thinking, emotional and social skills, before they go to school if they are going to learn well.

“Children also need to develop pre-literacy skills, like understanding how books work, that you read from left to right and that stories progress in a particular order,” she said.

Ms Alexander said book-sharing has been proven to boost children’s development in all these areas.

For more on this weekend’s book festival, log on to www.readtorise.co.za or follow the Read to Rise Facebook page.