Salon Hecate at Open Book

There was great excitement when Salon Hecate was asked to stage a panel at the always vibrant Open Book Festival, happening from 8-10 September. This annual feast of books, poetry and conversations on current issues is the most influential literary event in Cape Town, and we are tickled pink (all colours, in fact) to have been chosen to participate. Because we’re usually intensely local in our focus, we switched our lens out onto the wider world, and our fabulous participating poets hail from all corners of the country and the continent: the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, DRC, Uganda and the UK.

Find out more about Salon Hecate

We’ll still be featuring our unique crossover style, featuring the creative arts in conversation and collaboration. The poets will read work that features song, is exquisitely illustrated, and involves joint projects, the recovery of lost voices and much more, creating that magical overlap in which different arts share space so that something greater than the sum of the parts occurs.

We’ll also be telling you more about Salon Hecate, how it works (we combine poetry with the visual and other arts), and what’s special about it, including our collaborations with local NPOs and community projects.

From the Open Book programme, here’s more about the panelists:

Sipho Banda was born in Himeville and grew up in KwaZulu-Natal. He has written a children’s book, Vusi’s Visit to Drakensberg Mountain, published by Msinsi Press. His first collection of poetry, Ngigabe Ngezakithi, and a drama book, Umoya Wamagagasi, were published in isiZulu by Pelmo Publishers. His debut poetry collection in English, A Crowded Lonely Walk, was recently published by Karavan Press.
Isobel Dixon is MD and Head of Books at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. She is also a respected and veteran poet, whose most recent collection/collaboration, A Whistling of Birds (her fifth single-author volume) is published by Nine Arches in the UK and Human & Rousseau in South Africa. She was born in Mthatha, raised in Graaff-Reinet, lives in Cambridge, and works in London, wheeling between the UK and South Africa like a bird of passage. She has a gift for collaborative projects, and a special interest in dialogues with other poets and writers, living and late.
Sarah Lubala is a Congolese-born poet. She has been shortlisted twice for the Gerald Kraak Award and once for the Brittle Paper Poetry Award. She is also the winner of the Castello Di Duino XIV prize and the Humanities and Social Sciences Award 2023 for Best Fiction: Poetry. Her debut collection, A History of Disappearance, was published by Botsotso Publishing in 2022.
Athambile Masola received her PhD from Rhodes University, with a dissertation on black women’s life writing, focusing on Noni Jabavu and Sisonke Msimang’s memoirs. Her primary research looks at black women’s life writing and historiography, and is concerned with the nature of erasure and how reading informs archival research. Her debut poetry collection, Ilifa, was published in 2021 by uHlanga Press. Together with Makhosazana Xaba, she has published Noni Jabavu: A Stranger At Home (Tafelberg), and co-authored the Imbokodo: Women Who Shape Us series with Xolisa Guzula.
Hilda J. Twongyeirwe was born in Kacerere village in South Western Uganda. She juggles life as a mother, development worker, writer and community participant, and works for FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association, where she co-ordinates writing activities for women in Uganda, South Sudan, and elsewhere in Africa. She has been awarded a medal by the Ugandan government for her contribution to women’s emancipation through literary arts. She believes in social justice and feminist principles that support equal dignity for all humanity. She is passionate about mountain climbing.

Bonus gallery news: Noordhoek Art Point gallery will be running a pop-up stall with prints, posters, cards and other items at the Homecoming Centre on Friday 8 September and Saturday 9 September. Swing by to look at our lovely stuff, and chat to our staff about the art we display.

VERY IMPORTANT: Because we’re all trekking into town for the weekend of the festival, there will be NO Salon reading at the gallery on the first Monday of September. Come and visit us at Open Book on the 8th instead!

Here’s the Open Book programme.

Booking is through Webtickets — note that you need to book even for free events.

Got a question about this event or interested in a particular piece you’ve seen? Get in touch with us at or call 0835642493.