There are more than 100 libraries in Durban which run inspiring library programmes throughout the year. These include book launches, educational programs, reading programs, economic development programmes as well as a One City, One Book programme. The department includes a Reference Library including Rare Books in the Don Africana collection and the Hillier Shakespeare collection, mobile libraries, special libraries and branch libraries.
Durban is home to three major annual literary festivals: Articulate Africa, Time of the Writer, and Poetry Africa, as well the Durban Film Festival.
Professor Lindy Stiebel of Durban’s University of Kwazulu-Natal has developed several literary trails in and around the City to follow in the footsteps of local authors. These include the Grey Street Writers Trail, the Inanda Writers Trail, the Cato Manor Writers Trail, the North Coast Writers Trail, the South Coast Writers Trail and the Midlands Writers Trail. These are collected on the KZN Literary Tourism site.
Durban is the home of the Mazizi Kunene Foundation. Professor Mazisi Kunene was a great freedom fighter, literary icon and poet. A talented writer whose inspiration was the history of Zulu people, the liberation of Africans everywhere and the oral traditions of African literature.
Durban is rich in history and offers an enviable diversity of cultures. Cultural diversity is apparent everywhere; in literature, traditional and contemporary music, dance, architecture, theatre, food and art, and even the agriculture of the local people. The variety of spiritual beliefs is also most interesting, and there are many beautiful churches, temples and mosques to be seen and traditional ceremonies to be experienced. Situated in the centre of Durban is one of the largest African traditional healer’s markets in the southern hemisphere, and there are traditional Indian Ayurvedic health treatments to be experienced as well.
Articulate Africa Book and Art Fair is Durban’s flagship annual event to showcase talent relating to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the designation of the City as a UNESCO City of Literature. It creates a hub for practitioners in knowledge and artistic production to connect with their audiences and buyers, whilst participating in exchanges to drive continued engagement with these activities on a local and international level.
Durban’s annual international Time of the Writer Festival provides a thought-provoking week of literary dialogues and stimulating discussions. The festival features a diverse gathering of leading novelists, social commentators, activities, playwrights and short story writers. The festival actively partners with the City’s Libraries department to deliver a community engagement programme to promote reading and writing across the libraries in the City.
The Poetry Africa International Festival held annually in Durban moves poetry off the page and onto the stage, launching the careers of many critically acclaimed performers and writers. Poetry Africa strikes a balance between literary poets and emerging voices of dynamic performers in an effort to remain true to existing traditions and be at the cutting edge of lyrical expression today. Poetry styles include izimbongi, hip-hop, rap and slam poetry, all with a focus on indigenous languages.