We have some exciting news for you! Abantu Book Festival launches The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, a project that stands to change the way we consume literature through media. The show features Cape Town-based writers, scholars, and performing artists talking about the stories behind their books.

The first season of the show contains 13 episodes of about 50-minute long videos. The featured authors include Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Mamphela Ramphele, Mohale Mashigo, Barbara Boswell, Kopano Ratele, and many other well-known voices.

Watch the trailer and read the press release, in which  Executive Producer Thando Mgqolozana provides all the details on the show.



CAPE TOWN I am pleased to introduce The Ultimate Book Show with Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, a new book show series for television and digital broadcast. Season One was filmed on 15-23 April 2021 at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. The show is the latest addition in a suite of trailblazing Abantu literary projects, pioneered by Abantu Book Festival.

The Talent

The Ultimate Book Show explores the world’s literary cities, unearthing the stories behind the published stories, interested in the thought elements of the authors. Each of the 13 episodes is +50mins long, broken up with produced segments, layered with inserts, presenting sufficient facetime with the affable host and our talented guests. The master camera presents spectacular scenes of Cape Town in motion, in harmony with episodic jazz numbers by Nomfundo Xaluva.

The blending in this anthology of Sindiwe Magona, Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Thando Mgqolozana, Mamphela Ramphele, Loyiso Mkize, Diana Ferrus, Buhle Ngaba, Siphokazi Jonas, Mohale Mashigo, Barbara Boswell, Tankiso Mamabolo, Xolisa Guzula, and Kopano Ratele offers a fresh look at Cape Town-based writers whose trajectories embody the deepest yearning of the African community to make one legible to self, community, and larger world.

Given their universal appeal as award-winning writers, this dozen-plus is reintroduced through the Book Show, a befitting film sub-genre that resonates with the oral traditions of storytelling from which they spring. The eloquence of this anthology in oral tradition is evident in the mastery with which they narrate their lives. This mastery of eloquence now pours out of our screens, running the range from novels, biographies, poetry, children’s literature, visual art, drama, theory, music, and foundational contributions to social movements from Black Consciousness to Rhodes Must Fall. The writers essentially see themselves as storytellers, drawing from the philosophies of their upbringing to write what they like.

They live in Cape Town, but they come from Lenyenye, Mthatha, Belhar, Gcuwa, Makgakgapatse, Qonce, Gugulethu, Tsolo, Ganyesa, Ngojini, Soweto, Worcester, and Katlehong. Drs Magona and Ramphele were born in 1943 and 1947 respectively, in time for the promulgation of apartheid into law (1948), while Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Buhle Ngaba, Tankiso Mamabolo, and Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni were born just in time for the end of apartheid. This series is an elegant register of the complex story of resistance to oppression, but also an intergenerational mix of bold, black ballpoints–a voluble lesson in inspiration, the burning desire to write, and the indefatigable will to live.

The Host

It is a joy to watch The Ultimate Book Show competently hosted by Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni. She is a beloved storyteller, voice-over artist, author of the best-selling Wanda World series, and a Ph.D. candidate. She teaches educators, gives masterclasses on creative and academic writing, and binge-watches poetry podcasts. With Sihle-isipho as its host and co-writer, The Ultimate Book Show aims to be the premier book show of the world.

The Producers

In production we are led by Gaba Media; Osumm Media provides 360-view photography; and Sinono Media coordinates set life. We are grateful to Africa No Filer, Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, Brand SA, Artscape Theatre & Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport for production support and to Brittle Paper for their support as a media partner.

Thando Mgqolozana
Executive Producer

For broadcasters: [email protected] / [email protected]
+27 82 581 0383