Jozi Books & Blogs Fest A Success!

The Jozi Books and Blog Festival 2017 (JBBF), proved to be the literary highlight for 2017 on Lenasia’s social calendar.

Powered by 81 literary greats; what better way to combat illiteracy, entice new readers and motivate writers into this beautiful and dynamic literary world. Hosting a successful book festival is not an easy task. Zaheera Jina Asvat and her team truly did a fantastic job incorporating various elements.

The foyer of Patidar Hall welcomed guests with photography from Fakir Hassen, Saaleha Idrees Bhamjee and the Roshnee Photography Club. There was a diverse array of passionate authors, bloggers, TV and radio personalities, poets etc. from Jozi and other provinces accessible to the community.

There is a clear vision from Zaheera and her team.

“Our Vision for #JBBF2017 is to get literary personnel down the ground level, to get them to engage with the young and old from our smaller communities; to break wall, build relationships and to make reading and writing a reachable goal for all. Jozi Books and Blog Festival creates an initiative for other communities to do the same.”

#LetsDoItTogether | #CelebratingReadersAndWriters | #CreatingReadersAndWriters

Without taking anything away from ‘literary personnel”, the highlight was guest speaker former Minister, Pravin Gordhan as well as a tribute to literary legend, Achmat Dangor.

For an event to be a success, one needs the support of the community, and the community did not disappoint. To see so many people walking through, browsing, meeting authors, poets, bloggers, TV personalities and other various literary personnel exceeded expectations.

Parents encouraged their children to acquaint themselves with authors, budding writers asked for tips & ideas on how to ‘start’ writing. Thank you Zaheera for inviting me to chair a session, alongside Khalida Moosa,

Our session “Love in Stories” had moments of serious introspection; light-heartedness and humorous banter. The atmosphere was warm and friendly; allowing the audience to ask questions and engage with authors.

Showcasing eccentric Yousuf Tilly (Come Back Abayomi), Zaheera Walker (Beautiful Chaos) a hopeless romantic with rose petals strewn on her table; Ashleigh Giannoccaro (28 boys) who published her first book in 2014, her 11th book published last week, with 790876 words later; Tumelo Moleleki (Her Heart) with a warm demeanour, and vibrancy to Qarnita Loxton (Being Kari) an eloquently soft spoken with such a calm disposition. Our session was definitely worth the attendance.

I also discovered a few fans who came to meet and greet. Fans even took “selfies” with me. It was “all about the selfie” especially in the Hall where authors were seated at their respective tables. I also had my own moments of being a fan. I was honoured to meet Achmat Dangor; a truly humble and remarkable man! Fakier Hassen whom I have known since childhood.

I think the key to a successful event like JBBF is the quality of the discussions offered to audiences, the accessibility factor to the community and the fun side of encouraging children/youth to attend festivals of this kind.

Looking at the feedback just from social media buzz, JBBF was a resounding success.  This was the second JBBF; it can only grow bigger from this point. Zaheera and her team have harnessed a unique event for Lenasia. We encourage people to create their own initiatives for their communities.

JBBF has definitely secured its longevity. I look forward to #JBBF2018


About Saffiya Ismail

Born in Pietermaritzburg, she now resides in Johannesburg and says her most important role in life is being a mother. Saffiya is a freelance writer. A contributing author in “Riding the Samoosa Express” (Anthology launched 21st March 2015). With a second chapter submitted for the next book, Saffiya says her passion is writing.

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