“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

People for whom this quote by Neil Gaiman rings true are in for a literary feast this August when the Lowveld Book Festival takes place at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River.

The 2016 Lowveld Book Festival will take place from 5-7 August this year in Mpumalanga.
Authors involved in the festival this year include Jayne Bauling, Mabonchi Goodwill Motimele, Joanne Macgregor, Cynthia Robertson, Arja Salafranca, Bontle Senne, Kiran Coetzee, Linzé Brandon, Fiona Snyckers, Jacquie Gauthier, Tony Park, Sindiwe Magona, Wynie Strydom, Melanie Reeder-Powell, Samkela Stamper, Pamela Power, Onkgopotse JJ Tabane, Alita Steenkamp, Paul-Constant Smit, Eric Miyeni, Siphesihle Shabalala, Jessica Pitchford.

* The programme will be announced soon.

Event Details
Date: Friday, 5 August to Sunday, 7 August 2015
Venue: Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre
White River
Mpumalanga | Map
Email: lowveldbookfestival@gmail.com
Phone: 071 134 8172

Visit their webpage to book tickets:


Some of the authors who will feature at the Book Fest:

Alita Steenkamp

 Alita Steenkamp

Boeke, verhale en mense se stories is alles onlosmaaklik deel van wie Alita Steenkamp is. Sy het grootgeword in Pretoria en ’n BA graad in Kommunikasiekunde, en ’n BA Honneurs in Afrikaans-Nederlands aan die Noordwes-Universiteit behaal. As vryskutjoernalis skryf sy sedert 2002 artikels vir ’n wye verskeidenheid publikasies soos Vrouekeur, Lig, Taalgenoot, Rooi Rose, Rapport Tydskrif, Lééf, en Idees. Die artikels is wisselend van aard: profiele van bekendes, huweliksake, kinderopvoeding, menswees en reisartikels.

In 2008 tree sy as spookskrywer op met die skryf van Hestrie Cloete-Els se outobiografie, My pyn, my glorie. (Joho Uitgewers.) Die volgende boek wat sy skryf is Mathys Roets se outobiografie, Steeds Mathys wat in Julie 2010 by Naledi verskyn. Hierna skryf sy Loui Fish se boek Onsinkbaar wat in Oktober 2012 deur Lapa gepubliseer is. Die boek is ook in Engels vertaal as Walking in my Choos. In 2013 verskyn nog ’n boek van Alita, Veronica, die Kleur van Liefde, by Lapa. Die boek is gebaseer op die ware verhaal van Veronica van Vollenhoven, ’n bruin vrou wat onder baie slegte omstandighede grootgeword het. In 2015 verskyn Wynie, My Bloed is Blou, by Penguin Randomhouse, ’n outobiografie van die Bloubul-spanbestuurder, Wynie Strydom. Daar het ook verskeie tydskrifkortverhale uit die pen van Alita verskyn. Van haar kinderversies is in Rympies vir Pikkies en Peuters (NB Uitgewers) opgeneem.

Sy is getroud met die ondersoekende joernalis en skrywer, De Wet Potgieter en hulle woon in Centurion. Sy hou van tuinmaak, lees en fliek en die drie hondekinders en een katkind, maak haar lewe vol noudat albei haar dogters, en De Wet se seun, reeds op hul eie voete staan.

David Patient We Are White River

 David Patient

David is one of the world’s longest medically documented HIV survivors, with over 30 years’ experience in mentoring, is now interviewing potential teams and individuals to work with.

Over the past 30 years David has developed a sustainable and powerful mentoring process, having worked with both international, national and local businesses and NGOs.

David has spent his life mentoring successful community and business leaders to achieve their organisation’s goals by listening, asking powerful questions, eliciting the existing abilities and resources the client already possesses, and building upon this. He uses a strengths-based approach.

He helps teams and project managers throughout the world apply specific value-based tools to enhance innovation, critical and strategic thinking. He does so by examining and defining the structure and principles within the team dynamic to effect clear, consistent and measurable outcomes. Shifting team members from competitiveness, to mutual trust and respect, is paramount to successful completion of business or project goals.

Eric Miyeni

Eric Miyeni

Eric Miyeni is a South African born author of five books. He first wrote and published “O’Mandingo! The only black at a dinner party”, which was a compilation of thoughts on various aspects of South African life, musings on local and international politics and commerce, and reminiscences on travel. Miyeni’s follow up book was “Before Mandela was Mandela” at the centre of which was a piece that predicted exactly how the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela would act were he to become South Africa’s president after his release from prison. “A Poetic Journey with Eric Miyeni” was a collection of poems that Miyeni wrote over a twenty-year period. Miyeni’s fourth book, “A letter from Paris”, was a collection of essays on and photographs of the French city of Paris. “The Release”, Miyeni’s first and only novel to date, and his last published work, explored the idea of trapped energy, asking; since there was no South African bloodletting to end apartheid, where did that energy go?

Miyeni is working on his next book, is a collection of short stories called “All the things I should have known before I turned 21”.

JJ tabane lowveld book festival

JJ Tabane

ONKGOPOTSE JJ TABANE is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Executive Director and Founder of Oresego Holdings, an international advisory company as well as the Chief Executive of EnviroWorld Productions – specialising in environmental programming for community TV and radio. He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent, Pretoria News, Daily Dispatch as well as The Daily Maverick. Tabane is currently the host of ‘Frank Dialogue’, a weekly talk show on Ubuntu Radio, South Africa’s new online radio station owned by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Melanie Reeder-Powell

Melanie spent her childhood in the politically turbulent Transkei in the 1980s, before completing her schooling in Port Elizabeth, and then Colorado in the US. She went on to obtain degrees in media studies, English literature, and publishing, from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes, and Wits University respectively.

Her career has always flitted between print media and tertiary education, having written and edited for magazines and newspapers including Longevity, Elle, Marie Claire, Food & Home Entertaining, Grazia, and the Mail & Guardian. As far as education is concerned, she has been involved in numerous Adult Basic Education and Training projects across the Eastern and Western Cape, and has lectured undergraduate English literature and literary theory.

It was on a travel assignment for a magazine in the KZN Midlands where she encountered Elliot Ndlovu, a traditional healer (sangoma and inyanga) who had a remarkable tale to tell.
She pitched her idea to Penguin Books, and soon packed up her life in the Big Smoke of Johannesburg for a three-year sojourn to Kwa-Zulu Natal to write the life story of Elliot Ndlovu. The majestic Kamberg Valley in the Drakensburg Mountains proved a fitting backdrop for this narrative journey, as she attempted to unpack the stereotypes, mystery, and misrepresentations surrounding South Africa’s traditional healers.

Mr Ndlovu proved to be a fascinating subject, with his tales of holding counsel with Thabo Mbeki, meeting Queen Elizabeth and exhibiting his indigenous plants at the Chelsea Flower Show, and attending a pre-Academy Awards Hollywood event.
Melanie also journeyed with him to the place of his uThwasa, the necessary period of mental illness and spiritual upheaval which all sangoma’s must endure. The violence and bloodshed of a politically-charged Kwa-Zulu Natal created an appropriate back story to Mr Ndlovu’s own personal turmoil.

The book, A Sangoma’s Story, went on to receive favourable media attention from reputable critics and outlets such as Jenny Cryws-Williams and Kate Turkington on 702, The Sunday Times, The Herald, The Mercury, and was showcased at The London Book Fair.

After a three-year break to raise her two small children, Melanie is now co-owner of The Food Fundi, an Eat Out magazine award-winning daytime restaurant, and she lectures part-time to Bachelor of Arts students at the Nelspruit Campus of the Midrand Graduate Institute.

Nozizwe Cynthia Jele

Nozizwe grew up in KaMaqhekeza near Komatipoort, Mpumalanga. Her debut novel, Happiness is a Four-letter Word (Kwela Books, 2010), has won numerous awards, including the Best First Book category (Africa region) in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011 and the 2011 M-Net Literary Award in the Film category.

The book was adapted into film and released at the box office countrywide in February 2016. Nozizwe also writes shorts stories and contributes to magazines and newspapers. She is one of the ambassadors for The FunDza Literacy Trust and is currently working on her second novel.

Pamela Power Lowveld Book Festival

Pamela Power

Pamela was born in Pietermaritzburg. She was educated at the Dominican Convent School in Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, and finished her secondary education at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg. She completed her B.A. in English and Drama Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in 1988 and then went on to do her Honours Degree in Drama Studies in 1991.

She trained as an AIDS counsellor and worked with a drama in AIDS education company based in KZN, called DRAMAIDE, for two years during 1993 and 1994. She was part of the young people’s theatre company at the Civic Theatre during 1995 and 1996 and also got involved in stand-up comedy during that time.

Pamela started her own educational theatre company in 1997, which ran until 2000 when she took some time out to have her first child. From 1998 – 2003 she taught acting, directing, voice and script-writing at the School of Dramatic Art at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2001 she worked as a part-time director for the television show, Top Billing and in 2003 she began working as a scriptwriter for local soapie, Generations. She left Generations in 2004 and moved to Muvhango where she has worked ever since as a scriptwriter and script-editor. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Wits University in 2006.

Pamela has also worked as a scriptwriter on the popular TV series Rockville and Uzalo and on the sitcom Gauteng Maboneng. Pamela’s novel Ms Conception was published digitally by eKhaya (an imprint of Random House Struik) in 2012 and was released in hard copy by Penguin Random House in 2015. Her psychological thriller Things Unseen is due for release by Clockwork Books in October 2016 and her domestic suspense, working title: De(lie)lah will be released by Penguin Random House in early 2017.

Paul Constant Smit Lowveld Book Festival

Paul Constant Smit!

Paul was born in Pretoria. While at the Deutsche Schule Pretoria, his family relocated to Europe for a while, infusing him with a wonderlust that has never waned. He is equally at home when spearfishing in the cold Cape waters or when on safari in the bush. A keen golfer, guitarist and traveller, he has worked as a translator, art dealer, bespoke furniture designer and international trader. He lives in Johannesburg with his wife and three children, where he runs his own business.

Samkela Stamper

She is a poet and playwright, a performing and visual artist and author of the memoir Not for all the Apples, Peanut Butter and Jam. She was a participant in the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh World Writers Conference at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Open Book Festival in Cape Town.

Since 2008, Samkela has been working with various NGOs, performing arts companies and other artists in Mpumalanga, where she worked with youth in schools in previously disadvantaged communities by teaching children art skills and engagement in community arts projects with a view to audience development.

She has exhibited and performed in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Amsterdam. Samkela is currently studying towards her Fine Arts Honours at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Siphesihle Shabalala

Sipheshile is a Mbombela-based author and speaker. His book embodies his passion, explores wisdom from various sources and expresses it into different spheres.

We are born in different places with uneven abilities and these are not predictive of our end. Every person must seek WISDOM and base their lives on it to live fruitfully. These are the sentiments of Well of Wisdom.

Siphesihle is working on his second book, The World of the Wise.

We Are White River Member Specials for the Book Festival Weekend:

gumtreez special white river

Gumtreez Pub and Grill
For bookings phone: 0137500334 or 0832780676
Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gumtreezpubandgrill

Karula White River

Karula Hotel
For bookings phone: 013 7512277 or 078 7010150
Visit their website: www.karulahotel.co.za

Ocean Basket Special
Bookfest Special:
Calamari curry for R99 and prawn curry for R120.
Show the manager the post on your smartphone, and you will qualify for 10% discount on chosen meals (excluding running specials).
Phone André to make your booking: 013 751 3737 or 083 556 6346

Oliver’s Restaurant
For bookings phone: 013 750 0479
Visit their website: www.olivers.co.za