SOUTH AFRICA: Wits starts first writer residency

Residence programmes are the best breeding grounds for good literature around the world - and the first South African university-based writers' residency programme has just been established, reports The Weekender. Pumla Gqola, associate professor of literary, cultural and media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, and her colleague Thembinkosi Goniwe are spearheading the Wits Humanities Writers Residency.

Gqola and Goniwe are equally passionate about the initiative and co-wrote a funding proposal. Trust Africa, a Senegal-based foundation that promotes peace, economic prosperity and social justice in Africa, agreed to provide funding. Gqola admits the funders were enticed by the prospect that Ayi Kweyi Armah, writer of The beautiful ones are not yet born, would be involved with the residency.

With the recent xenophobic violence in Johannesburg, a residency programme may seem like something of an indulgence, a bit of fun when there are more serious national issues to consider. Not so, says Gqola. "We need to start having conversations with other Africans - it's important to encourage conversation and interaction."
Full report on The Weekender site