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ZIBF press statement
International Book Fair
September 03, 2013
Chair of The Zimbabwe
International Book Fair, Members of ZIBF General Council and Executive
Board, representatives of our funding partners here present namely,
Culture Fund in partnership with The European Union, British Council
and Hivos in partnership with The Norwegian Embassy, members of
print and electronic media, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to welcome
you all to this occasion where we now confirm our state of preparedness
to hold the main edition of our 2013 Zimbabwe International Book
Fair and inform you what the nation and the international community
of publishers and writers may expect to experience between the days
of 30th September and 5th October.
Back in December 2012
we had scheduled our Book Fair to take place from 29th July to 3rd
August 2013. Unfortunately, none of us could have been prophetic
enough to foresee these dates clashing with the period of our national
plebiscite. Given that we all experience an unusual concentration
of energies, some positive, others negative, prior to, during and
after the elections, we found it prudent to push our dates further
back, however inconvenient it seemed at the time. Of course, the
last straw that broke our back was the announcement to close schools
four days before our planned dates. We all know that schools are
the biggest clientele of our book sector and that young scholars
provide the majority of visitors to the Book Fair. As well, we have
several programmes targeting the youths including Young Persons
Indaba, Live Literature Centre, Children's Reading Tent and The
Digital Zone, without which the Fair would be practically soulless.
I provide all this information to help you put into context the
rather viral and gratuitous speculation on the social networks wildly
suggesting that we stopped running the Book Fair for fear of the
impending violence and chaos of our elections.
For those who
may not be informed, this year we commemorate 30 years of our existence
as the closest thing to Africa's prime Book Fair. In this spirit,
we have chosen a Theme that sums up our focus all these years: ZIBF@30:
ENABLING CREATIVITY, WRITING, PUBLISHING AND READING FOR AFRICA'S
GROWTH. So far, we have already run The Bulawayo Book Fair (March)
and launched for the first time The Masvingo Book Fair (May). Our
thrust is driven by a vision to spread the exhibitions and love
of books as far and wide across the nation as possible and strive
to be relevant to our stakeholders at all times, and so far we have
received enormous encouragement and support from the two Book Fairs
to suggest that we are going in the right direction. In both these
book fairs we have introduced a new event called "The Literary
Evening" where selected writers are invited to perform, read
or discuss their works before fellow authors and interested members
of the general public. The enthusiasm of these evenings provided
us with an inspiring trial run for the Main Book Fair in Harare
and The Mutare
Book Fair in October. The idea is to bring back the buzz and ambience
or atmosphere for which The Book Fair was famous at its height.
So we have plans for "The ZIBF Harare Literary Evenings".
About this, more information will be provided as we draw nearer
to the occasion.
And, as with last year,
we are also dedicated to running a digital sub-theme through The
Indaba, The Young Person's Indaba, The Writers' Workshop and the
Exhibitions. We are especially grateful to the Office of the President
for a generous donation of computers to ZIBF for the purpose of
fulfilling this very objective.
By now, you will also
be aware that we ran a two-day All-Stakeholders Anti-Piracy Workshop
in May where representatives of the primary, key and secondary stakeholders
of the book industry met to discuss the extent of piracy, its causes
and characteristics in Zimbabwe as well as identifying possible
solutions. A Focus Group was created to draw up an action plan and
present a preliminary report during the coming Indaba. Everyone
is anxious to discover the contents of this report and what hope
there is to rid the country of this economic curse.
So, the 2013 Main Book
Fair is upon us now, bar an unforeseen crisis. We had an overwhelming
response to our Call for Abstracts for our Indaba and can confirm
that we had to disappoint not a few prospective presenters. Our
sessions cover a variety of topics, some of which fall under the
following Sessions: "Indigenous Languages and Knowledge Systems",
"Digitization", "Dialogue and Tolerance in African
Communities" and "Health and Environment", to name
but a few. We also plan an Evening to Commemorate 30 Years of The
Zimbabwe International Book Fair. Yet again, more information will
be availed closer to the event. For The Writers Workshop, we have
decided to run on the Theme: "Writing for Children Now".
As you may agree, it is very crucial for our literary and book sector
to revisit this theme in the light of our changing society and technological
revolutions that demand adjustment in order to remain relevant to
our children and future citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen,
comrades and friends, I would like to finish these few words with
acknowledging the trust and support in cash and kind we have received
for our programmes and activities from the following:
Culture Fund in partnership
with The European Union Kopinor And Norcode British Council; Hivos
in partnership with The Norwegian Embassy and The Office of the
President and Cabinet I should also pay tribute to our media partners
for continuing to support us throughout the year. Long may you continue
to serve the nation in support of education and literacy.
Thank you very much
Chair, Executive Board, ZIBF
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International Book Fair fact
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