Braamfontein opens its doors to a new pan-African book store

The Commune, a non-profit bookshop on 14 Reserve and De Korte Street, Braamfontein, opened its doors on Tuesday October 1.

The bookstore, named after the 1871 Paris Commune, had its launch on Saturday September 28. The mandate of the store is to be pan-African, leftist and radical.

The cozy coffee-shop style bookstore is perfectly located in a quiet corner in Braamfontein. Its calm atmosphere lends itself to an open floor seating area and an upstairs reading area which will soon become a reference library.

The bookstore is a non-government organization by online newspaper, New Frame.

Lweendo Hamukoma, an employee at The Commune, told Wits Vuvuzela, “We are able to buy quite a lot of books from overseas, that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to access.

“And then we are able to bring down the prices so that our core function is actually to getting these books out and getting people to read and engage with new ideas.

“The nice thing about The Commune is that this space can be used to screen films, it can be used for book launches, [and] it can be used for panels and debates. It’s a multi-youth space,” said Hamukoma.

She further said that Braamfontein gives them access to students, lecturers and people whose main priority is learning and a variety of people with different experiences from different corners of life.

They will also reintroduce a space called The Forge across the street. It will be for film screening and plays.

A customer, Timit Ghebregziaher, who walked in for a cup of coffee said, “I came for the coffee. It is from my home country”.

“I don’t have a lot of time to read because I am a mother and work full time. I am not a reader but this a really nice, it motivates you to read. One page at a time. That is how it starts,” said the Ethiopian native.

FEATURED IMAGE: The curators of The Commune at the morning meeting on October 1. Photo: Tsholanang Rapoo