Students showcase their “Fine Lines”

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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New student publication aims to showcase creative work

The School of Literature, Language and Media is planning to publish a school newsletter at the end of next block, focusing entirely on student-generated creative content. The newsletter calls for submissions in the poetry, short story and intellectual dialogue categories. It will be launched at a school event called Fun Lines, later next block. 

A new creative publication is on the cards for the Wits School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) and its first issue to be published at the end of next block. The newsletter aims to showcase poetry, short stories and intellectual dialogue pieces from the student body.

SMART THINKER: It was the idea of BA student, Mpho Masuku, to start a school newsletter in order to foster intellectual thinking among students in the School of Literature, Language and Media. Photo: Riante Naidoo.

SMART THINKER: It was the idea of of 1st year BA student, Mpho Masuku, to start a school newsletter in order to foster intellectual thinking among students in the School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM). Photo: Riante Naidoo.

The idea came from 21-year-old Mpho Masuku, a 1st year BA student who is also the deputy- secretary of the SLLM student council.

“It was necessary to have a platform like this to express their (students) art and to develop themselves,” he said.

The current student council was on board and agreed the publication would be a platform for students to “groom others as well and groom the art of literature”, according to Masuku.

The newsletter format was chosen as Masuku said it would not be a “taxing process”. He added that they could have had a newspaper, “but we already have Wits Vuvuzela for that,” he said.

“We are going to accept as many publications that come,” he added. However, only submissions from students within the school will be accepted.

“There is a possibility that in the future, we’ll have a publication that encompasses all students, but right now we are constitutionally bound to serve our school,” Masuku added.

There are also three categories which one can submit to: poetry, short stories and intellectual dialogue about university related topics.

So far, Masuku has received six submissions.

He added that the council would like for the newsletter become sustainable. “This should exist beyond this council and beyond next year,” he said.

Submissions can be sent to wiltonsimson@gmail.com.

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