African Narratives


A partnership that could offer important new opportunities for writers, small publishers and book distributors has been launched by African Narratives (AFNA) and the Bookshop Association of South Africa (BASA).

A memorandum of understanding has now been thrashed out between the two organisations and will be signed in May 2015.

AFNA, organisers of the country’s first Indie Book Fair for independent publishers held in Johannesburg in March, is a not-for-profit entity committed to the development of a thriving local literature in SA. BOASA is also a not-for-profit entity which already has 173 members including 120 black-owned SME bookshops across the country.
‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise the potential of such a partnership,’ says AFNA board chairperson, Gail Robbins.

AFNA is developing a programme that will include membership-based lobbying power for independent writers, small publishers and distributors; NQF-rated training courses; subsidised publishing opportunities in exchange for author involvement in distribution, and a comprehensive national distribution network for small publishers and independent authors.

BOASA is seeking a greater share of the book and stationery supply to schools. This will bring greater financial stability to BOASA bookshops, thereby generating a retail network in previously under-resourced urban and rural communities that will be of huge value to South Africa’s pursuit of a culture of reading and lifelong learning. It will also greatly improve on current supply systems which are susceptible to abuse and inefficiency

Says Simon Mataboge, spokesperson for BOASA and himself a bookshop owner: ‘This partnership is what we have been waiting for. It will greatly strengthen our efforts to place our bookshops at the service of the many communities that have so far been excluded from the massive rewards that books and reading can bring to individual lives.’
Co-operation between the two organisations will take the form of joint proposals to relevant government agencies and a programme aimed at transforming BASA bookshops into exciting cultural centres that will feed into South Africa’s nascent culture of reading and life-long learning.

AfricanNarrativesBASAIt’s a Partnership! Simon Mataboge of BASA shakes hands with Clare-Rose Julius of AFNA.
Others in the picture (from left) are Bulelwa (BOASA), David, (AFNA), Thulani (BOASA) and Gail (AFNA).