The Lowveld Book Festival (LBF) begins tomorrow at the Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River, Mpumalanga, and the Lowvelder spoke to two of the region’s well-known personalities about their expectations for the weekend and what the event means for the area.
Melanie Reeder-Powell, writer, lecturer and restaurant owner, said the festival was a huge deal for the province.
“Book publishing in South Africa is a tricky industry. With literacy levels being low and poverty levels being high, the reading market is not very big,” she said.
“This event is going to promote reading and literacy and is incredibly important for the province.”
Reeder-Powell lectures English literature part-time at the Mbombela Campus of the Midrand Graduate Institute and she focuses on the education and literacy side of things. She also believes that her book, A Sangoma’s Story, is about deconstructing the myths around traditional healing.
It was on a travel assignment for a magazine in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands where she encountered Elliot Ndlovu, a traditional healer; sangoma and inyanga, who had a remarkable tale to tell.
“There are wonderfully insightful healers in the community. Often, the media give the public a negative impression about these people and what they do. I wrote this book for an audience which doesn’t know this. Elliot does incredible work; he lectures all over the world with the South African National Biodiversity Institute about conserving and healing with indigenous plants,” she said.
Reeder-Powell and Ndlovu will speak at the LBF on Saturday from 11:00 to 11:45 and again on Sunday from 12:00 to 12:45. Ndlovu will also be available for consultations throughout the weekend.
Tracy Todd, motivational speaker, blogger and writer, will be speaking on Writing in Dragon: How Using Voice Technology Could Aid Both Able and Disabled Writers on Sunday from 11:00 to 11:45. She is looking into getting her own memoir published and is excited to be involved in the festival for many reasons.
“I think the LBF is a wonderful initiative and that it is about time the Lowveld supported authors and literature in general. It’s also a wonderful winter weekend away for those people travelling from upcountry,” Todd said.
Her life changed in an instant in 1998 when a car accident left her paralysed from the neck down. She travels all over the country addressing business people, ladies clubs, schools, churches and corporate conferences on how she adapted to coping with massive trauma and changes which are applicable to people from all walks of life.
“Technology has come a long way over the years. Anyone can use voice technology because it works so well. I will be demonstrating how it works during my talk,” she added.
“I hope that people will support the festival as it is all part of making our community grow. There will be something for everyone and it is a good way to encourage our youth to get reading too.”
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– Caxton News Service