Celebrate Africa Day with fine writers

WRITERS are ready to celebrate Africa Day. This year the day will be celebrated through the Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club in Johannesburg on May 22.

WRITERS are ready to celebrate Africa Day. This year the day will be celebrated through the Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club in Johannesburg on May 22.

Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), celebrates African unity, as declared in a unique charter. The charter was signed on May 25 1963 by 30 of the 32 independent states on the continent at that time.

The OAU, now the AU, is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 African states. Significantly, 17 countries gained their independence from colonial rule in 1960. These are Cameroon, Togo, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast , Chad, Central African Republic, Mali, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria and Mauritania.

In subsequent years - and in what was a golden African decade - 15 other countries also tasted freedom from colonial clutches. These are Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The venue for the South African Literary Awards and the Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club's Africa Day celebrations is the African Literature Bookshop on 191 Louis Botha Avenue (corner 8th Street), Orange Grove.

It will feature readings, discussions and other artistic spoken-word performances by veteran author Tlali and other artists.

It will be preceded by a kiddies reading, writing and storytelling programme.

Tlali is a scholar, novelist, short-story writer and struggle activist. Her debut novel, Muriel at the Metropolitan, was originally titled Between Two Worlds.

Tlali's subsequent books are Amandla, Footprints in the Quag, and Mihloti, and the play Crimen Injuria.

She has received many international and domestic awards, including the South African Lifetime Achievement Literary Award in 2005 and the South African National Orders' Presidential Award, Ikhamanga, in 2008.

The club invites writers, readers and the general public to discuss books and literary issues and to take part in other interactive platforms to promote the culture of writing and reading.

The book club is a legacy project of the South African Literary Awards, a bold nation-building campaign that recognises, acknowledges and rewards emerging and established writers.

The campaign, which is a nation-building partnerships project of wRite Associates, Nutrend Publishers, Sowetan, the Department of Arts and Culture and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, has honoured 56 people so far.

A special collection - Band of Troubadours - contains the samples of the work of 47 writers, who were honoured through the South African Literary Awards between 2005 and 2007.

The Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club is calling for book donations. Books can be sent to 74 Mimosa Road, Randpark Ridge.

For more information, please telephone 011-791-3585.