Africa Century International African Writers Conference feels terribly robbed at the news of the passing on of its selfless and inspiring Special Advisor, Comrade Zwelakhe Sisulu.
Though we had not interacted with Comrade Sisulu on a continuous basis since the 1991 International Writers Conference he inspired and was the marshalling brains thereof, he took to our forthcoming inaugural Africa Century International African Writers Conference (7-10 Nov 2012) we are organising with gusto and the warmest of embraces.
At the beginning of this year (2012) he acceded to our request to make a presentation to him regarding the Conference. We had earlier written to him requesting he becomes our Patron, alongside Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, National Poet Laureate Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile, world renowned author, scholar and activist Prof. Chinua Achebe, internationally acclaimed musician and trumpeter Bro. Hugh Masekela and author and literary translator Dr. Wangui wa Goro.
After our presentation, he said, “this is great! I am 100% behind it and will do all in my power to help it succeed!” He expressed dismay and surprise that a conference like this took over twenty years since the 1991 International Writers Conference he’d helped organise.
Comrade Sisulu then proceeded to graciously decline our invitation to be a patron and said, instead…”I’d like to play a more practical role, by, for an example, helping to facilitate mobilisation of resources towards the realisation of the project”.
He added, “Comrades, I know how hard and expensive it is to organise conferences of this nature. To that end, I commit to assist in contributing to the pre-Conference budget, you know, to help you with administration, meetings, travel and so forth and so on…”
At subsequent meetings he surprised us even more, for example, by pleading with us to leave him the responsibility to publish all the Conference papers and other relevant documents, under his David Philip Publishers imprint.
There were many other avenues Comrade Sisulu offered to avail to us to make sure our efforts are successful.
One thing Comrade Sisulu greatly regretted about the 1991 International Writers Conference is that “we do not have any record of it!” Comrade Sisulu departs from this earth when we were just about to inform him that, after our research, all the papers presented at that Conference have been found and are ready to availed to him!
Comrade Sisulu had agreed to speak at the forthcoming Conference, even if it had to be in a pre-recorded audio-visual presentation on the opening day, 7th Nov 2012, but, alas, he can only now do this in spirit.
In his honour and salute, we dedicate the inaugural and subsequent Africa Century International African Writers Conferences to him and his revolutionary visionary memory and inspiration.
We were on the verge of talking him into treating the 1991 & 2012 Writers Conferences as continuum of one into the other. It is to be! It is!
May your great soul rest in eternal and graceful peace, Comrade Zwelakhe! Hamba kahle, Qhawe la maqhawe!
You, literary revolutionary to the end!
Matla! Matimba! Amandla!
Issued on behalf of:
The wRite associates,
South African Literary Awards &
Africa Century International African Writers Conference
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