Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival Goes Online in 2021 #JozisBBF2021

Jozi's BBF 2021 will be hosted online this year

Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival 1 August 2021

 Image Courtesy of Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival


Last year due to COVID-19 and the lockdown restriction, many events did not take place including the beloved annual Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival (the brainchild of Dr. Zaheera Jina Asvat).

This year the festival takes places via ZOOM sessions with the help of Noorul M Promotions on Sunday, 1st August 2021.

Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival 2019 Playlist
Video Credits


The programme for 2021 is packed with informative and educational sessions from a teen writing course to start the day, and a book launch to end the literary day.

All you need to know about, and how to join each FREE session for #JozisBBF2021 on 1 August 2021 is listed below:


Session 1: Teen Writing Course

Time: 09h00 to 10h30

Hosted by: Author Fatima Bheekoo-Shah and Yiz House Publishing

Join Session via ZOOM

Meeting ID: 737 2340 3989

Passcode: 5FF3uD


About Fatima Bheekoo-Shah

Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is the creator of the popular Musings of a Foodie column. She is also an author for Saffron (African Perspectives, 2017) and a former writer for Sisters magazine in the United Kingdom. She has written some hard hitting articles for the Family and Life Section, for the United States based online publication About Islam. Currently she is focusing her attention on fiction and firmly believes now, more than ever our stories need to be told.


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Session 2: Why Write for Teens/ Tweens ?

Time: 11h00 to 12h00

Hosted by: Hinesh Vithal, Hamilton Wende, Fiona Snyckers, and Shafinaaz Hassim

Join Session via ZOOM

Meeting ID: 726 1468 9457

Passcode: 2w18Hp


About Hinesh Vithal

Hinesh Vithal is the author of the acclaimed National Park Trilogy.
He's a mild-mannered banker by day but by night, he crawls the far corners of his imagination, dragging back images of splendour while contorting them into magical words of wonder. This is his story and he’s sticking to it. Hinesh resides in Johannesburg with his wife and two kids.

About Hamilton Wende

Hamilton Wende is a freelance writer and television producer based in Johannesburg.

His articles have appeared in many international and South African newspapers, magazines and websites, including BBC, National Geographic Traveler, The Chicago Tribune, GQ, Maclean’s Magazine in Canada, TravelAfrica in the UK, The New Zealand Herald, The Buffalo News in the US, The Sunday Times, Business Day, The Sunday Independent in Johannesburg and many others.

He has been a guest on The Editors on the SABC, and has been a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, the English Department at The University of Cape Town and at The University of the Witwatersrand, at the Durban Institute of Technology and at the Cape Town Press Club, and the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi. He has also appeared on a number of radio and television programmes including MSNBC, SABC TV, AM Live and on Radio 702.

In television he has worked for a number of international networks including National Geographic, CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC (Australia), SBS (Australia), NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Al Jazeera English and a number of others. He has covered fifteen different wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The countries he has worked in include Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Angola, Sudan, Eritrea, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.


Journey Into Darkness, a documentary on the genocide in Rwanda he worked on for the BBC with producer David Harrison and correspondent Fergal Keane won the 1994 Royal Television Society’s International Current Affairs Award.

A Life Less Fortunate, a film on children in South African prisons he worked on with Belinda Hawkins of SBS won the 1999 United Nations Association of Australia Media Award.


Session 3: The Essence of Being South African - An Anthology

Time: 12h30 - 13h00

Hosted by: Shahista Thokan, Shaakira Rahiman-Saleh, and Shafinaaz Hassim

Join Session via ZOOM

Meeting ID: 760 9191 1371

Passcode: nw6J13

About Shahista Thokan

Shahista Thokan has always had an immense passion for people and their holistic wellbeing. She is the founder of Silver Lining Workshop Facilitation and is an NLP Transformational coach. After the completion of her Commerce degree, Shahista found that her true calling was in Education where she has spent over a decade.

Ever transforming from within herself and embracing new experiences, Shahista has written articles for various publications and is a columnist for the local newspaper.

Shahista is a woman with great diversity and is most passionate about contributing towards the upliftment of communities. Shahista is a woman with great diversity all linking back to supporting people through their life’s journey. She is an inspirational speaker and produces her own radio show ‘Inspired Living’ on dedicated to making a positive impact.

About Shaakira Rahiman-Saleh
Shaakira studied BCOM Marketing at the University of Johannesburg. She is committed to life-long learning. Her interests include Social Media Marketing, Video Storytelling, Creative Writing, Editing and Public Speaking.


Shaakira is passionate about marketing and working with small businesses through the entrepreneurial venture she founded “The Digital Scribe”. She is a partner at publishing house, Media Inc and a published author in "Saffron, A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women"(2018), “Lockdown- Behind the Mask” (2020), and “The Positive Pages” (2020)


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Session 4 : Everything you need to know about publishing

Time: 14:00

Hosted by: Joanne Macgregor, Raashida Khan, Zaid Ismail, and Colleen Higgs

Meeting ID: 711 6004 3627

Passcode: Ftvqy7

About Joanne Macgregor

Joanne Macgregor is the hybrid author of sixteen books, both traditionally independently published. Under the name Joanne Macgregor, she writes young adult romance and dystopian novels, while as Jo Macgregor she writes psychological thrillers and crime mysteries (including the popular Garnet McGee series) for adults. She has published a non-fiction, psychological self-help book under the penname J. Macgregor. Several of her books have been made into audiobooks, and she has been translated into Afrikaans, Russian and Polish.

When not writing, Macgregor is a counselling psychologist in private practice where she works with adults and teenagers, and she brings her twenty years of experience as a therapist to her writing, creating deeper characters and realistic psychological reactions.

Although she lives in the frenetic adrenaline-rush of Johannesburg, Joanne has always been in love with nature, and escapes to the bush whenever she can. She loves reading, gardening with succulents, and her crazed beagle puppy! She started her professional life as a high school English teacher, and these days also does corporate training, and runs workshops about self-publishing and marketing for authors.


About Raashida Khan

Raashida (Raashi) Khan is a 50-something South African Indian Muslim living in Johannesburg. She was born in Durban, her favourite city where she lived for the first twenty-seven years of her life. Raashida studied at the University of KwaZulu Natal qualifying with BA Hons (Economic History) in 1992. Raashida worked at a bank before marrying and moving to Gauteng where she worked as a project manager at three NGOs, and in client service at several marketing and advertising agencies. She loves books and reading and has always wanted to write fiction. Raashida has been married for over twenty years and has two university-going sons. 
As a caring, compassionate and empathetic person who loves observing people and life, she is a storyteller of note. She would like to be remembered as being ‘never boring.’ A content creator, copywriter, editor and proofreader by day, she is as passionate about being an author, poet, wife, mother and friend – a unicorn that does exist. Raashida facilitates workshops on writing prose and poetry and discussions around her passion projects.

Her short story Your Voice, My Strength was selected as the winning entry for the 2017 Irtiqa Online Magazine (South African Muslim Women’s Short Story Competition). Raashida was on the judging panel for the 2019 Irtiqa Short Story Competition. Another short story, It’s not Funny, appears in the Happy Holidays Anthology available on Amazon. Her contribution, Hungry, darling? appears in Saffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women (launched 8 April 2018). Another of her stories appears in The Drumbeats for Africa (a literary collection project by The Durban Review). Womandla (a collection of women’s short stories, essays and poetry), launched in 2019 in Durban, features her short story, A Hundred Times Over. Womandla has recently advised that they have accepted her submission for their new collection (to be launched later this year). Looking Glass Anthology (Poetree) has confirmed that of her poems will be included in their next edition.

About Zaid Ismail

Zaid Ismail is an author, coach for life, and a mental health activist who believes that we need to change the narrative of how we see ourselves. He is also a single parent who is closely connected to the struggles of youth to find their place in this crazy world. Zaid is passionate about encouraging others towards understanding their experience as human beings so that they may learn how to value themselves beyond the self-talk in the mirror.

About Colleen Higgs

Colleen Higgs is a writer and publisher. She is the author of two collections of poetry, a short story collection and most recently, a memoir: my mother, my madness (2020). She founded Modjaji Books in 2007 and, after publishing more than 150 books, is still Modjaji’s manager and publisher.


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Session 5: Thinking out Loud 

Time: 15h30 to 16h00

Hosted by: Riyaaz Safi and Gulshan Mia

Meeting ID: 781 7090 3619

Passcode: m4Envq

About Riyaaz Safi

With two decades of experience in radio, much-loved presenter & MC, Riyaaz Safi, has gotten up-close and personal with some of the best industry professionals in his new podcast, Thinking Out Loud - a Season style Podcast covering lifestyle series.

Riyaaz has completed his BA in Communication Science from UNISA and completed a Diploma in Radio Production and Presenting with the London School of Radio & Television while living in the UK. He has interviewed some of the biggest stars in South Africa and the Bollywood scene including Priyanka Chopra,Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and many others.

About Gulshan Mia

Gulshan Mia is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist - an actor, writer and director - from Estcourt, KZN. Having grown up during apartheid, her art and activism centre around social justice and the representation of historically excluded voices. As a polyglot, Gulshan has performed internationally in English, Zulu, Chinese, Portuguese and Urdu. Now based in NYC, some of her projects include: Unveiled (Solo Performer, Voyage Theater) which she also performed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the 969 Festival at Wits, Acquittal (Performer, Pan Asian Rep), Fires in the Mirror (Assistant Director, Signature Theatre, queens (Assistant Director, Lincoln Center) and several operas as a Supernumerary at the Metropolitan Opera House. She is thrilled and grateful to be part of this year’s Jozi's Books and Blogs Festival


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Session 6: Book Launch - When Secrets Become Stories: Women Speak Out edited by Sue Nyathi

Time: 16h30 to 17h30

Hosted by: Farah Chirene Fortune, Ayanda Xaba, Ayesha Kajee, and Sue Nyathi

Join Session via ZOOM

Meeting ID: 772 8665 7478

Passcode: A4gC7q

About Farah Chirene Fortune

Farah Chirene Fortune is the founder and director of African Star Communications (ASC), a PR and event management company that she started in 2008 with R1 000, a laptop and a cellphone. Better known to her clients and industry peers as the ‘pitbull in heels’, she is the force behind many successful corporate and celebrity brands. Farah spent most of her childhood in Belgium and the United Kingdom, before moving back to South Africa in 2004. Her public relations career took off during her work on projects like the Oscar-winning movie, Tsotsi.


About Ayanda Xaba

Ayanda Xaba, originally from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, started writing when she was ten years old. From that moment she has grown her craft by obtaining writing qualifications (Creative Writing Certificate from Intec College and Journalism Diploma from Icesa Education)and attending numerous workshops because she believes writing is a talent that needs to be continuously nurtured.

In high school, she was part of a writer's group called Phendukani Dancing Pencils and from there came numerous anthologies. Her first published book came when she was sixteen years of age with Umsinsi Press, titled 'The EZ Gang'. Ayanda is a contributor to Reader's Cafe Africa where many of her short stories and poems are published. Shealso works as a Communications Officer on Reader's Cafe Africa using the platform to connect upcoming African writers and work with them in growing the culture of reading African stories. Her work has also appeared on Drum magazine, Kalahari Review, and Gamaphile. She is also an inaugural winner of the Gamaphile writers' competition.

Ayanda is an activist for women's rights who is authentic and unapologetic in her storytelling. She has self-published two books; 'ULala: The Journey of Discovery' and 'The Maiden & The Bear'.

About Ayesha Kajee

Ayesha Kajee is a South Africa-based consultant on governance, human rights and education issues. She previously served as Executive Director of the Freedom of Expression Institute and as the first director of the International Human Rights Exchange at Wits University in Johannesburg.

At the South African Institute of International Affairs, she headed the Africa Political Parties project. A skilled teacher, Ayesha has lectured courses in Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

Her extensive travels through much of sub-Saharan Africa have facilitated an understanding of the governance and rights landscape in several regions. Key focus countries include Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Malawi, Mauritius, Liberia, Kenya, Ghana and Angola.

An activist feminist devoted to capacity building, Ayesha is a founder member of the Right2Know campaign.

About Sue Nyathi

Sue Nyathi was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and raised and educated there. She has a Master’s Degree in Finance and worked for more than five years as a research associate for an economic and strategic planning consulting firm in Johannesburg, where she currently resides. The Polygamist, her bestselling debut novel, was published in 2012. The Gold Diggers, her second, was longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award as well as the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. A Family Affair is published by Pan Macmillan. When Secrets become Stories is published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

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