Knysna in the Garden Route hosted a successful 11th annual Knysna Literary Festival at the seaside town this weekend, with an array of literary giants attending the event.

The authors engaged in robust debates with the public on their books and other topics.

Among those who took to the stage were Former Intelligence Minister and anti-apartheid activist, Ronnie Kasrils and acclaimed author Mandla Langa.

Political journalist Pieter du Toit’s book, The Stellenbosch Mafia, was a hot topic – as was Adriaan Basson’s take on state capture in his book, Blessed by Bosasa. Lesego Tlhabi and her alter ego – Cocunut Kelz – had audiences in stitches.

Kasrils took the audience on a journey into his youth with his memoir, Catching Tadpoles. 

“When I was a little boy with my grandmother I used to catch tadpoles. At first I would try and catch them with my bare hands. She had to show me how to use a net. In this book I delve into memory and catching the tadpole is a metaphor for catching the memories I had in the recesses of my mind,” says Kasrils.

Audiences were enthralled with Mandla Langa’s stories. Langa completed Nelson Mandela’s unfinished book, Dare Not Linger, which tells of Madiba’s time in office as the President. He describes this feat as an honour.

“I also felt very proud because if there’s ever a person whose work I would have liked to have enlarged on its Madiba’s work. And so it was with those sentiments that I accepted this task,” says Langa.

The organiser of the event Gordon Shutte hailed it as a success.

“The feedback has been absolutely fabulous, depending on what they’ve come to watch. People have really enjoyed what they’ve seen. They’ve asked probing questions of the authors who’ve answered very difficult questions very well,” says Shutte.

While the names of the authors who will be feature in 2020 at the festival are still under wraps, organisers say Knysna residents more is yet to come.