Authors, publishers engage at Central Book Festival in Bloemfontein

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Heritage, culture and history is mainly preserved in books. These are sentiments shared during the inaugural Central Book Festival in Bloemfontein.

The festival, which culminated on Sunday, creates a platform for authors and publishers to engage on opportunities within the sector as well as challenges they face and interact with readers. It featured Mosibudi Mangena, former Minister of Science and Technology, with his book, We Can Ourselves, — former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana player, Bernard Parker, among other authors attending the festival.

Festival organiser and publisher, Trevor Mokeyane, says this is a platform for book lovers to have an opportunity to engage on different subject matters. Mokeyane says even though they did not have all the authors they wanted for the festival, he hailed the launch as a success.

“So we thought that if we have a book festival in this part of the country, not only in Bloemfontein or Free State, it will include North West as well as Northern Cape, it brings readers, writers, as well as publishers together. And it engages on the written word. Yes this is inaugural festival so even next year same time Heritage month we will be having a book festival,” says Mokeyane.

Former Bafana Bafana soccer player currently playing for TS Galaxy in the PSL Bernard Parker recently published his autobiography “From A Shack To A Destiny.” Parker says its important for the youth to start reading at an early age, in order to broaden their knowledge.

“One thing about reading, reading helps to gain knowledge and our readers become leaders and our leaders read. So reading is very important everywhere you go whether it’s any field that your in that little bit of knowledge that you’ve gained from reading that really helps and improves a person. And with youth whether a boy child or a girl child – reading improves the mind and also the person itself. ”

Advantages of reading

Book lovers and language enthusiasts were reminded about the importance and the advantages of reading during the festival, which started on Friday and ending today. Professor Mandla Radebe says reading is the only thing that can help to grow the minds of citizens.

He says there’s no other way you can acquire knowledge other than reading books as they have an important role to play in making people think critically.

“Books have got a very important role to play in making people think critically to question things but also just to get to understand their environment, their surroundings. The many problems that as a country we are faced with we can only resolve by the ability to read and understand and come up with solution that are relevant for us as the people. So such events are quite important because they encourage particularly the youngsters to really understand the importance of reading and understanding the environment where they are.”

Organisers say the festival is vital for promoting a culture of reading.