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South African Collective Of Illustrators

Thursday 20th October 2011

Ibby Africa Conference

31st August to @2nd September 2011

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Founder member, Colette Kemp, who gave a talk at the IBBY Africa Conference (“An Illustrator’s View on Educational Publishing in South Africa”), shares her impressions of the conference:-

“What I learned from the IBBY Africa Conference is that the challenges that writers and illustrators of children’s literature face in South Africa are a common problem right across the African continent. I met a great many people from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa who feel that the youth in their country are losing contact with their roots, and their culture. African languages are struggling to survive in cultures that are heavily flooded with easily digestible entertainment that contradicts the moral code of their people.

In APNET’s (African Publishing Network) 2010 Publishing Review, Philip Altbach is quoted as saying, “Publishing, because it is absolutely essential to the cultural, scientific and educational life of nations, has an importance beyond its limited economic role. The production of books that directly reflect the culture, history of a nation or people is something that cannot be left to others.”

Publishing in most African countries was initially developed by multi national publishers, who are still largely entrusted with creating text books and reading material that shape society and the future lives of African children. It has been suggested from many sources that these corporate companies buy their way into favor and the local publishers are excluded from participating in lucrative textbook deals with governments. It is absolutely essential for the creative development of writers, illustrators and local publishers to have a market in which to grow. Countries like Finland, Korea and New Zealand have used theopportunity to develop and nurture their own publishing industry, when reforming their curriculum.

I would love to see what African children’s book writers and illustrators could contribute to their cultures if they had the support and status that good writers and illustrators in other countries have!!


Colette Kemp

Ibby3 Ibby1a

The sketchbook display by SCBWI - Hazel Cuthbertson from SCBWI gave a very enjoyable talk on the importance of sketchbooks, and some interesting insights into local illustrator's creative process.

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