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Community Engagement

The Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the Sol Plaatje University entered into a partnership late in 2016 to develop and promote reading and writing in the Northern Cape.

As part of the partnership the university co-hosts the annual Northern Cape Writers Festival with the DSAC. So far, the two institutions have co-hosted the NCWF twice, in 2016 and 2017. Writers who have participated in the two editions of the NCWF are from across the country as well as some from outside. They include Niq Mhlongo, Fred Khumalo, Lesego Malepe, Sibongile Fisher, Jacque Zimba, Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, Shole Shole, EKM Dido, Diana Ferrus and Letepe Maisela. At the festival we have panels discussing various literary issues such as publishing, post-apartheid writing, writing in African languages etc. A major part of the festival is the annual Sol Plaatje Lecture which was delivered by UK historian Dr Brian Willan in 2016 and US-based Senegalese historian Professor Jean-Jacques Sené in 2017.

The DSAC and SPU also run a series of community writing workshops and these have taken place in Kimberley, Upington, Springbok, Kuruman, Pampierstad and Warrenton. These workshops are aimed at aspirant Northern Cape writers who are not in any university creative writing programme. These workshops are facilitated by nationally and internationally recognised writers who are also requested to have public readings at the SPU. To date we have hosted Dutch novelist Franca Treur, Ghanaian novelist Mamle Kabu, Kenya-based South African novelist Zukiswa Wanner and Ghanaian novelist Martin Egblewogbe.

At the beginning of each year, we also host the Summer School of Writing. This is a week-long intensive writing programme held in Kimberley. Aspirant writers are requested to send writing samples from which not more than twenty are selected to be part of the programme. Each summer school has three facilitators at the same time, with each focusing on a specific genre. These genres are poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction. The first one was in 2016 and the facilitators were Zukiswa Wanner, Lesego Rampolokeng and Moagi Modise. In 2017 the facilitators were Bongani Madondo, Primrose Mrwebi and Niq Mhlongo .

There is also an ongoing prison writing programme involving aspirant writers behind bars. These aspirant writers are incarcerated at the Kimberley Correctional Centre (women and juveniles) and Tswelelopele Correctional Centre (men).


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