Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Fortiscue and Nokuthula Helepi

A new report on the African Flavour Books saga has surfaced. It will be the second time in two years that its founders, Fortiscue and Nokuthula Helepi, are coming under scrutiny for allegedly evading payment of dues to authors, publishers, and employees.

A new piece of information that the recent coverage by South African news broadcaster eNCA adds to what we already know of the issue is that while the Vanderbijlpark store remains open, the Helepis are nowhere to be found.

In this in-depth coverage featured in eNCA’s popular segment, Checkpoint, authors Thando Mgqolozana, Dudu Busani-Dube, and Vangile Gantsho give their own account of the events leading up to the business failing and causing much grief to a literary community that saw it as a game-changer in a white-dominated literary culture. They also share harrowing experiences from working with the founders.


Established in 2013, African Flavour Books invigorated the South African literary scene with its promise to promote and sell books, films, and music by Black South Africans. In a country where a small proportion of businesses are Black-owned, the company’s mission was a symbol of hope for South Africa’s young Black book lovers, writers, and independent publishers.

By 2018, the Helepis developed a reputation for abruptly cancelling events without refund, failing to deliver inventory to literary festivals, and pocketing full profits from sales without paying dues to authors and distributors.

Former employee, Ayanda Lawrence, reveals in the recent Checkpoint segment that the infamous 2018 Braamfontein store closure occurred on payday. Lawrence and three other employees lost their salaries and positions without notice.

Lawrence also revealed that employees of the Braamfontein location were paid below minimum wage. The Checkpoint segment resulted in recent public outcry on Twitter:

African Flavour Books still owes thousands of rands dating back to 2016 to several South African authors including Thando Mgqolozana, Dudu Busani-Dube, and Vangile Gantsho. To this day, authors and publishers are unable to reach Fortiscue and Nokuthula Helepi due to disconnected phone lines and bounced e-mails.

Checkpoint host, Nkepile Mabuse, concluded her segment with a visit to Fortiscue and Nokuthula Helepi’s private residence which appeared to be deserted. eNCA continues to seek answers from the Helepis and African Flavour Books.



Facebook link image by Heather Mason via

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


The Dissolving Center of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart? — Watch Episode 4 of Prof. Ato Quayson’s Vlog

Episode 4 of Prof. Ato Quayson's Vlog

The fourth episode of Professor Ato Quayson’s vlog Critic.Reading.Writing is up! In this week’s episode, the Professor dives into the […]

Namwali Serpell to Join Harvard English Department as Full Professor

Namwali serpell harvard university

  Namwali Serpell announced on Twitter this week that she will be joining the Harvard English Department as Full Professor […]

Check Out Mona Eltahawy’s Major New Look!

mona eltahawy new hair (1)

American-Egyptian journalist, activist, and feminist Mona Eltahawy has a brand new look. Earlier this year, the author of Seven Necessary […]

Scholarship and Mentorship Opportunity with Ellah P. Wakatama OBE (Open to Black British Writers)

Scholarship and Mentorship Opportunity with Ellah P. Wakatama (1)

The Literary Consultancy (TLC) has launched a new scholarship aimed at providing “writers on low-income and/or from communities currently under-represented […]

Watch Joseph Adesunloye’s Documentary Film on The AKO Caine Prize

Caine Prize documentary film (2)

A few weeks ago, the AKO Caine Prize organizers announced that the award dinner held at the British Library will […]

Two African Writers Featured in Beyoncé’s Black Is King Visual Album

Yrsa Daley-Ward and Warsan Shire's Poetry Featured in Beyoncé's Black Is King Visual Album (1)

Beyoncé’s new visual album Black Is King is making waves, but the exciting part is that there are two African […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.