Welcome to Wordfest

South Africa’s only national multilingual festival of languages and literatures with a developmental emphasis.

Our aim is to foster a culture of reading and writing in South Africa and to promote innovation and excellence in the word-arts.

We provide a platform during the National Arts Festival for South African writers and publishers and for new and established writers from different disciplines with special emphasis for marginal languages.

There are over a hundred activities each year, as follows:

  •  twenty to thirty book-launches
  • lectures
  • performances
  • seminars
  • exhibitions
  • workshops
  • Open Mike
  • a restaurant
  • a retail book outlet (Exclusive Books)
  • media contracts with the print and broadcast media
  • WordStock a daily literary newspaper
  • Eastern Cape Wordfest
  • Junior and High School developmental projects

Wordfest has been going strong  for more than a decade and continues to grow. We have featured Nobel prizewinners, as well as providing a platform for community level writers and writers well-known in indigenous South African languages.

Administration and Funding

Wordfest is based at the Institute for the Study of English at Rhodes. The event is held in the Eden Grove Building on campus. Administration is in the hands of an experienced team led by Dr Chris Mann (convenor). The finances are controlled by the Financial Division of Rhodes.

Our principal support comes from the NAC (National Arts Council), the NLDTF (National Lottery Development Fund), Rhodes University and the Institute for the Study of English in Africa which support Wordfest as an outreach project, the Eastern Cape Government, and Exclusive Books.