15 Jun

I love the Cape Town Book Fair: I do not know any other…It is vibrant, busy, filled with people and books. I go each year and each year the same thing mars the event for me: It remains a predominantly white event. In a room of about 70 people Rodney and I were the only black persons and he is not a South African and only came because I invited him having recruited him as a member for EVE. The most black people I saw in a room was 7 and that was in a room thrice the size of those where Rodney and I were often the only blacks.

The authors and the publishers talk about their books about Transformation; about South Africa Now; They explore white – black and black – white relationships and discuss changing the perception of the rest of Africa that South Africa might be ‘colonising’ them through investment and business development that do not develop the local people there where South Africa starts new business and industry. This perception has to be changed they say and I sit there thinking that the Book Fair Logo is typically colonial and less than 10% of the people- authors; staff; publishers and visitors are black despite the 90% of the fact that the black/ white ratio in the country is still 90% black and 10% white.

I wonder about the blind spot: about professors and doctors and authors and publishers telling this white audience that change is happening; blacks are being empowered; integration within and across the borders are real- are they in denial?

They have not explored the logo and what it represents? They have not made definite arrangements to get masses of black people to the Book Fair? What more than a book represents what we are and what we can be taking in reality, the economy and dreams?

This post is open to amendment, to refinement in argument and presentation- also from you through comments: I am still deeply emotionally involved as I write but let me say it clearly to those that would raise things like reverse racism (what on earth is this?) that the chips that you see on my shoulders come from the quarries in your mind.

bfair logo

Jeanihess Blog South Africa


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