The School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) hosted the Fine Lines Festival at Wits University today. The festival was used to showcase, celebrate and discuss feminist aspects of African literature, as well as launch Writing What We Like, a new student publication.

The School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) hosted the Fine Lines Festival at the South West Engineering building on Wits University’s East campus today. The festival was used to showcase, celebrate and discuss African literature, as well as to launch Writing what we like, a new student-produced literary publication.

The festival began with a career fair which brought together students and “members in African literary spaces”, among the Writer’s Guild of South Africa and the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies.

Cuan Humphries, secretary of the SLLM student council, said the fair was held to give students an idea about the “professional organisations”, they can get involved with to showcase their creative work.

Fine Lines focused on feminist aspects of African literature this year with a packed line-up of female poets and literary thinkers. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, a Wits Creative Writing lecturer, and the 2014 Commonwealth Poet, opened the event which also saw SLLM students share items of poetry highlighting their personal experiences as females in South Africa.

“African literature at this institution has not found the kind of expression and platform that it needs,” said Otsile Seakeco, deputy chairperson of SLLM. “The way the university is structured deviates from giving attention to and recognising the arts of Africans,” he added.

Humphries said the purpose of the event was “making space for Africa, in a space where African literature is not celebrated”.

He added that the “biggest draw card is the Q&A with the Feminist Stokvel”, happening this evening.

“The Feminist Stokvel is a group of vibrant women who speak on black women issues,” said Mpho Masuku, deputy secretary of the SLLM student council.

The Stokvel includes Witsies such as the 2015 Ruth First fellow, Panashe Chigumadzi, Pontsho Pilane and Nova Masango, among others.

He added that the student publication, Writing what we like, which showcases the creative work of students in the SLLM, will be handed out to those in attendance this evening.

“The aim with this, is for students to find expression through literature and decolonising literary spaces within the university,” Humphries said.

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