Books: Open Book Festival returns as a two day in-person event, March 26 and 27, 2022

What: Open Book Festival- March 2022 #OBF2022
When: March 26 and 27, 2022
Where: Bertha House- 67, 69 Main Road,Mowbray 
Tickets: R50 per session

Event Passes:

Buy 5 tickets for the price of 4: R200
Buy 10 tickets for the price of eight: R400

Bookings: Webtickets
Direct booking link:


Twitter: @openbookfest    

Thrilling news: Open Book Festival is back as a two day in-person event, March 26 and 27, 2022. This is a mini festival AND there will be another Open Book Festival event in September 2022, and happenings and interventions throughout the year. Watch this space for more. Info as supplied:


After an absence of two years as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, Open Book Festival returns with an exciting two-day, in-person event. Participants and authors will finally have the chance to sit in the same room again at the more compact Festival, which will take place on March 26 and 27 at Bertha House in Mowbray.  Tickets are available through Webtickets.

Limited seating – as per lockdown regulations for March 2022 event

Seating will be strictly limited due to Covid-19 protocols and the capacity of the venue, so early booking is more important than ever.

Innovative literature festival

Open Book Festival is one of the most innovative literature festivals in South Africa. It has twice been shortlisted for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards. Nearly 10 000 people attended the most recent annual event, which ran for nine years, up to 2019. During the past two years (2020 and 2021), Open Book Festival’s podcast series has kept engaging conversations going, while highlighting some of the incredible books that have been published.

Open Book Festival is committed to creating a space to celebrate South African writers. It strives to instil a love of reading among young attendees, with the programme designed to engage, entertain and inspire conversations among festival-goers long after the event.

Message from Open Book Festival Organiser Vasti Calitz

Our digital engagements have provided a good platform to talk about the compelling books South African authors have continued to write, but nothing can beat the experience of an in-person event,” says Open Book Festival Organiser Vasti Calitz.

We are delighted to be hosting our first live, post-pandemic Festival. With the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on the creative sector, we have decided to present an all-South African line up for this event.”

Although the March edition is a miniature version of our usual festival, audiences will be able to enjoy everything they have come to expect from the Open Book Festival experience – engaging, entertaining discussions followed by great conversations long after the session in the venue’s on-site café.”

In other good news, look out for our events throughout the year, including another Festival in September.  There’s a lot to look forward to and we expect the year to be a thrilling one,” says Calitz.

The March 2022 Open Book Festival- participants

Authors, activists, journalists, academics and poets come together to debate topics that shape and inform us. Festival-goers can look forward to discussions ranging from loss, land and city landscapes to courage, capitalism and the power of memory.

Participants at the 2022 Open Book Festival include:  Sindiswa BusukuAzille CoetzeeC. A. DavidsFinuala Dowling, Andries du Toit, Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrikaShana Fifevangile gantshoPumla GqolaTapiwa GuzhaRobert Hamblin, Imran Hamdulay, Ingrid JonesJoanne JosephFaye Kabali-KagwaSara-Jayne KingBongani KonaKelly-Eve KoopmanAoife Lennon-RitchieAlistair Mackay, Jessica Mbangeni, Bridget McNultyThenjiwe MswaneTembeka NgcukaitobiSue NyathiJulie NxadiEdgar Pieterse, Mpho Raboeane, Katlego Ramantsima, Nancy RichardsQuaz RoodtKeely ShinnersKelly SmithToni Giselle Stuart, Sarah Summers, Jen ThorpeHedley Twidle and Joy Watson.

The programme line-up (excluding workshops happening in the week) is:  

Saturday March 26:  

10.00 -11.30:             

Getting Real about Land (with PLAAS): Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Mpho Raboeana and Andries du Toit speak to Katlego Ramantsima about the real politics of land    

12.00 – 13.00:   
A Map of Loss: Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Bongani Kona and Bridget McNulty speak to Joy Watson about how we survive  

14.00 – 15.00:            

Present Dystopia: Kelly-Eve Koopman, Alistair Mackay and Keely Shinners speak to Edgar Pieterse about imagining a landscape of the future on that of the present  

16.00 – 17.00:            

Unmaking Fear: Shana Fife, Pumla Gqola and Sue Nyathi speak to Sara-Jayne King about everyday acts of courage and resistance against the patriarchy  

17.00 – 19.00:             

Our Move Next: Speculative Fiction E- anthology launch. The launch event for this exciting open-source anthology features music, artwork and readings from selected pieces by young South African performers.  

18.00 – 19.00:            

Politics of Memory: CA Davids, Joanne Joseph and Bongani Kona speak to Sindiswa      Busuku  about what we choose to remember and why    

Sunday March 27  

10.00 – 11.00:            

The Pressure to Produce: Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Tapiwa Guzha and Jen Thorpe explore the effect of capitalism on creativity and mental health in the company of Faye Kabali-Kagwa

12.00 – 13.00:            

Queering Family: Robert Hamblin, Thenjiwe Mswane and Keely Shinners explore what family can mean in the company of Kelly Smith  

14.00 – 15.00:            

Playing Along: Azille Coetzee, Pumla Gqola and Joy Watson speak to Ingrid Jones about the roles women must play in order to survive  

16.00 – 17.00:            

The Architecture of Words: C.A. Davids, Finuala Dowling and Nancy Richards speak to Aoife Lennon-Ritchie about their writing processes  

17.30 – 19.00:            

A pandemic. pause. poetry: vangile gantsho and Toni Giselle Stuart hold a conversation about surviving the pandemic through poetry, with Jessica Mbangeni, Julie Nxadi and Quaz Roodt. What this time teaches us, what we remember and how we move forward.  

Event details Open Book Festival will take place on March 26 and 27, 2022, at Bertha House in Mowbray, which is situated at 67, 69 Main Road, Mowbray, Cape Town.  

Tickets: R50 per session

Event Passes:   Buy 5 tickets for the price of 4: R200 Buy 10 tickets for the price of eight: R400    

Bookings at Webtickets:  

For additional information visit:  

Copies of books by all the authors will be available for sale through the Book Lounge.  

Open Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, as well as the Department of Arts and Culture.

Connect with Open Book Festival on the following platforms:

Facebook: @openbookfestival
Twitter: @openbookfest

About the Open Book Festival  

Open Book Festival has established itself as one of South Africa’s most innovative and leading book festivals. Attended by 10 000 visitors annually, it is committed to creating a platform to celebrate South African writers, as well as hosting top international authors. The Festival took place for nine years up to 2019.  

Open Book Festival – podcast series

In 2020 and 2021, Open Book Festival presented two seasons of its podcast series which kept the engaging conversations going, while highlighting some of the incredible books that have been published.  

Instilling a love of reading

The Festival strives to instil an interest in, and love of, reading among young attendees, while the usual programme of more than one hundred events over five days is designed to resonate with festival goers long after the event.  Elements of the festival programme include talks by international authors and South African writers; poetry; a comic book marketplace; panel discussions; book launches; outreach reading initiatives; youth programmes; and writer sports. The festival has been recognised internationally, having been shortlisted twice for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards in the category of Literary Festivals.  

Open Box School Library Project

The Open Box School Library Project increases learners’ and teachers’ access to books. The books remain in classrooms in mobile book units to be used by learners and teachers during the school day. Seven Open Boxes have been placed at St Mary’s Primary School with three book handovers to Grade R classes at Siyazingisa Primary School in Gugulethu and two to Intshinga Primary School, also in Gugulethu. Other schools where the Open Box initiative has been active include Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School, Parkhurst Primary and Westridge High School.  

Two Open Book Festivals in 2022

In 2022, there will be a miniature, two-day Festival on March 26 and 27 and events throughout the year. There will be another Open Book Festival in September.  

❇ Info as supplied.
Open Book Festival: Toni Stuart is on the March 2022 programme. Supplied.
Open Book Festival, March 2022: Finuala Dowling. Pic: Retha Ferguson. Supplied.

 ❇ Sponsored content. Featured image of Faye Kabali Kagwa by Chris de Beer Procter. Supplied.