A powerful Knysna Literary Festival entertained book lovers and critical thinkers alike this past weekend.
More than 12 authors and speakers descended on Knysna from Thursday onwards and some of the topics under the spotlight included current affairs, poaching, great food and wine and Springbok rugby.
Festival founder and sponsor Ling Dobson from Pam Golding Properties Knysna & Plett, described the three days as the “most wonderful journey of emotions for South Africans, understanding and respecting where we are at the moment in our country, what is motivating us, what is exciting and what makes us South Africa.”
Dobson said almost all the events on the programme were sold out. “Our aim was to have a diverse programme that offers something for everyone and the ticket sales showed that we succeeded. We had 1600 people attending 10 events over the three days, which we are very happy with. We were also fortunate to have two “sneak peeks” of books that literally just hit the shelves. Adam Habib’s book, Rebels and Rage, about the recent student protests, will certainly ruffle some feathers when it is launched this week in South Africa. Festival attendees had the privilege of getting some background information and a firsthand encounter of why he decided to write it, and the effect the protests had on him and his family personally, and other academics. He felt obligated to tell the story as what was published in the media was not a true reflection of events at the time.”
“David Higgs, acclaimed South African Chef and his cook book ‘Mile 8’ were the main inspiration for the Chef’s Playdate #2.0 event with the team of île de pain on Friday evening. Higgs himself described the event as a ‘soft launch’ for his book with the 8 course menu on the evening taking its direction from the 8 chapters of the book. The evening did not disappoint. Dishes served included traditional dishes from his childhood, growing up in the West Coast, to dishes prepared in the kitchen at Rust en Vrede for Michelin star Chef Ferran Adrià “
The panel discussions during the Festival are renowned for their straight talk and debate on current issues, and the lively conversations certainly met the expectations of audiences. Peter Mohr, a ‘swallow’ from Germany said he tries to attend most events every year. “It is a way to get to know the people of South Africa better – the politics, mentality and their thoughts about the future. It is a great event and we think a fantastic asset for Knysna.”
Humphrey Price from Sanlam that sponsored two of the events, said that it is a privilege to have the quality of people in Knysna and to be part of the conversations. “We value these discussions and think it is important to have for everyone interested in the future of our country, and I want to thank Ling and her team for creating this platform.”
This was echoed by local businessman Andries Fourie. “It is an opportunity to hear these great minds debating the outlook for our country, and to find out what the perception is with regards to South Africa’s economic future and the main factors influencing these.”