Former Umkhonto we Sizwe leader and intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils will be among the world’s top writers who will attend the Time of the Writer Festival at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
The annual festival, a major event on KZN’s literary calender, will be held from March 19-24 at the Centre for Creative Writing and is aimed at stimulating debate among South Africans.
Kasrils was born in 1938 and educated in Johannesburg. He started off as a script writer for a film studio in Johannesburg and then worked as a TV and film director for Lever Brothers’ advertising division in Durban until 1962.
With the apartheid crackdown on political parties, Kasrils went into exile to work for the ANC underground. He is the author of the bestselling autobiography Armed and Dangerous (1993), and won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award last year for The Unlikely Secret Agent, a memoir based on the life of his late wife, Eleanor, also a leading figure in the apartheid struggle. Eleanor died in 2009 at the age of 73.
Talking about the book, Kasrils said: “It’s a testament and tribute to Eleanor. I wanted people to realise who she was and what she had done. I also wanted South Africans to realise what our people are like and how the ordinary, average person has within themselves the most amazing qualities.”
Other top writers who will be at this year’s festival are Kwame Dawes from Jamaica and Chris Abani from Nigeria.