PEN SA’s Activities in 2016
15 Dec 2016
- PEN SA took part in a Worldwide Reading in support of Ashraf Fayadh by sharing readings of his work online.
- PEN SA signed a letter calling for dissenting voices to be protected on the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
- PEN SA supported PEN Africa Network (PAN)’s letter condemning the suspension of Denis Galava, the Managing Editor (Special Projects) of Kenya’s Nation Media Group (NMG) owned by the Aga Khan, over an editorial he wrote in the Saturday Nation newspaper that was critical of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government’s administration.
- PEN SA supported PEN International’s call for Bahrain to free human rights defender Dr. Al-Singace.
- PEN South Africa and the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) held the first in a series of discussions on children’s literacy development and literature.
- PEN SA put out a call for submissions of proposals for research into the media’s relationship with the Fees Must Fall movement.
- PEN SA received funding from Media24/Naspers
- Ishtiyaq Shukri wrote about the reduced sentence given to Ashraf Fayadh.
- PEN SA joined the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Federation of African Journalists in an amicus initiative at the Ecowas Court to challenge the “culture of persecution, violence and injustice” towards journalists in The Gambia.
- PEN SA Vice-President Raymond Louw wrote about leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema’s comments that journalists had been banned from covering EFF media conferences.
- PEN SA signed a letter written by IFEX to Iranian President Rouhani asking him to help free artist Atena Farghadani.
- PEN SA put out a call for submissions for the PEN SA Student Writing Prize, which focused on writing on the student protests and the Fees Must Fall movement.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and PEN SA member Lauren Beukes were among more than 100 writers to sign a letter to then Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to free imprisoned writers, drop charges against others, and repeal legislation that restricts freedom of speech.
- PEN SA welcomed the revived PEN Zimbabwe Centre.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford wrote about the crisis in higher education and highlighted the need for writing and listening at this time. PEN SA published the following pieces on the crisis: PEN SA Board Member Mike van Graan’s series of articles titled “Barbarism and Beckett” Parts One, Two and Three and “The Burning” by PEN SA member Sisonke Msimang.
- PEN SA announced the judging panel for the PEN SA Student Writing Prize.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed Index on Censorship’s petition calling on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to end Turkey’s crackdown on freedom of expression.
- PEN SA joined PEN International, PEN Kenya and the Mail & Guardian in expressing concern at the news that Kenyan cartoonist Godfrey Mwampembwa (known as Gado) had been dismissed from the Nation Media Group’s Daily Nation, allegedly due to political pressure, and calling for his reinstatement.
- Mandla Langa wrote about South Africa’s literary traditions for PEN America’s PEN World Voices Series, which PEN SA republished.
- A PAN meeting and PEN International Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee meeting were held in Johannesburg under the title “In Dialogue with the World”. PEN SA Vice-President Raymond Louw attended along with PEN SA Board Member Carole Bloch (watch Bloch’s presentation) and PEN SA Centre Co-ordinator Lindsay Callaghan. Louw reported on the decisions made at the meeting.
- PEN SA published Mark Heywood’s piece “Democracy and the Writer” based on the talk he gave at the PAN meeting.
- PEN SA published a round-up of articles looking at decolonising the book at the Time of the Writer Festival.
- PEN South Africa wrote to Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos and South African President Jacob Zuma urging them to ensure the release of the 17 Angolan activists, known as the Luanda Book Club.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed PEN Argentina’s petition protesting mass dismissals at the National Library in Buenos Aires.
- PEN SA Board Member Adré Marshall wrote about the 2016 Franschhoek Literary Festival.
- Executive Director of PEN America Suzanne Nossel’s article “To fight ‘hate speech,’ stop talking about it”.
- The PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize winner was announced and published along with the three shortlisted stories and Q&As with the shortlisted writers.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed a petition calling on the Iranian government to release Professor Hoodfar.
- PEN SA supported a statement made by Salil Tripathi, PEN International Writers in Prison Committee Chair, and Sarah Clarke, PEN International International Policy and Advocacy Manager, to the Human Rights Council along with Reporters Sans Frontières calling for the release of imprisoned journalists in Turkey.
- PEN SA received core funding from the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.
- PEN SA signed Article19’s joint open letter about the Human Rights Council Internet resolution.
- PEN SA member Michele Magwood, Contributing Books Editor of the Sunday Times and convener of the Sunday Times Literary Awards, wrote a piece on the 2016 Award winners.
- Nadia Davids was co-opted to the PEN SA Board.
- Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi and Mervyn Sloman resigned from the PEN SA Board.
- PEN SA took part in the PEN International Gender Study.
- PEN SA wrote to the South African Communications Minister protesting the suspension of three SABC journalists.
- PEN SA wrote to the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice and Minister of Foreign affairs calling for Zelalem Workagegnehu’s sentence to be overturned.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed Jewish Voice for Peace’s petition calling for poet Dareen Tatour to be released.
- PEN SA signed the Southern Africa Litigation Centre’s statement calling on the Lesotho authorities to protect freedom of expression.
- PEN SA published an interview with member Finuala Dowling, who won the 2016 Herman Charles Bosman Prize.
- PEN SA demanded the reinstatement of the fired SABC journalists.
- PEN SA and PEN Afrikaans released a joint statement on the draft Copyright Amendment Bill.
- PEN SA welcomed the Press Ombudsman’s ruling that several Independent Media titles need to apologise for their reporting of the settlement with former Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed PEN International’s petition calling on Turkey to not let the state of emergency trample on free speech and human rights.
- PEN SA wrote a letter to President Erdoğan of Turkey calling on him to safeguard freedom of expression, stop media censorship and release and drop charges against writers and journalists that have been detained as a result of peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
- PEN SA published a tribute to Phyllis Ntantala written by Paul Trewhela.
- PEN SA and PEN Uganda proposed a draft resolution on the climate of free expression in Egypt to be presented at the PEN International Congress 2016.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford wrote about the University of Cape Town’s disinvitation of Flemming Rose and called for responses, which were then published later in the month.
- PEN SA member Hedley Twidle wrote “Half-lives, Half-truths: Svetlana Alexievich and the Nuclear Imagination” as part of the PEN SA essay series.
- PEN SA took part in a Thunderclap campaign calling for the release of Nabeel Rajab.
- Alide Dasnois was apologized to by five Independent Media titles and included PEN SA in the list of people and organisations that she thanked in a Facebook post.
- PEN SA President was quoted in an Independent Turkey article on the arrest of Aslı Erdoğan.
- PEN SA shared the Jewish Voice for Peace petition calling for the release of Dareen Tatour.
- The PEN SA Young Writers to Watch event was held at Open Book Festival 2016. A write-up and video of the event were later published along with a general look at the Festival.
- PEN SA Vice-President Raymond Louw and Advocacy and the then Advocacy and Projects Manager Oratile Mashazi attended PEN International’s UNDEF advocacy workshop in Kampala, Uganda.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford was interviewed on Salaamedia about UCT’s disinvitation of Flemming Rose, free speech and the right to offend.
- PEN SA published two excerpts from Arterial Network’s eBook on the freedom of creative expression in Africa.
- PEN SA member Allister Sparks passed away.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed the Gulf Centre for Human Rights’ petition calling on Bahrain to stop persecuting women’s rights defenders.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford attended Congress, where PEN SA proposed a change to the PEN Charter and a draft resolution on Egypt, along with PEN Uganda. Orford wrote a report on the Congress the following month.
- PEN South Africa, PEN Afrikaans and PEN International submitted their 2016 Universal Periodic Review submission on human rights in South Africa.
- PEN South Africa wrote to Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha calling on him to quash British migrant rights activist Andy Hall’s conviction.
- PEN South Africa sent a letter to Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki calling for Dawit Isaak and other imprisoned journalists to be released.
- PEN SA released a statement reiterating its call for de-escalation and dialogue on the Fees Must Fall movement and student protests.
- PEN SA Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa shared his poem “We Beg Your Pardon South Africa” in response to the political situation.
- PEN SA sent a letter to Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei calling for Narges Mohammadi’s release.
- PEN SA republished PEN SA member Glenda Daniels’ article “Protestors Use the Media But They and the Police Turn on Journalists”.
- PEN SA, in association with Wits Journalism, held a dialogue on the Fees Must Fall Movement and media representation. Selina Mudavanhu presented her research that was commissioned by PEN SA and was joined by journalist Sarin Drew. A write-up of the event, along with a video of it, was published.
- PEN SA Board Member Mark Heywood wrote about the State capture crisis and the Save SA initiative, inviting creative responses to the crisis from writers, which were later published.
- Karina Szczurek was co-opted to the PEN SA Board.
- PEN SA published the entries from the PEN SA and PEN Afrikaans nominees for the PEN International New Voices Award 2016 as well as Q&As with them.
- PEN SA took part in the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2016 with Board Member Gabeba Baderoon recording a poem by Dareen Tatour and the Centre writing letters to the authorities on the five selected cases.
- PEN SA announced the inaugural Freedom of Expression Champion Award, which was awarded to Raymond Louw.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed the International Press Institute’s petition calling on the Turkish government to release Kadri Gürsel and the Cumhuriyet journalists.
- PEN SA supported PEN Afrikaans’ statement protesting the ongoing intimidation at the SABC.
- PEN SA President Margie Orford, Executive Vice-President Mandla Langa and Vice-President Raymond Louw signed WAN- IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the Fojo Media Institute’s call for greater worldwide efforts to protect all media professionals and in particular the specific dangers facing women journalists and the urgent need to do more to counter the growing hostility felt by women across the globe towards their right to freedom of expression.