HARARE – Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) executive chairperson Blazio Tafireyi says this year’s edition, set to run in the Harare Gardens from July 27 and August 1, has attracted just a single donor.
According to Tafireyi, who is also the Zimbabwe Publishing House (ZPH) chief executive officer, only Kopinor, which represents Norwegian copyright holders of published works, has agreed to come on board.
“Kopinor is sponsoring the Indaba Conference which will run at Monomotapa Crowne Plaza from July 31 to August 1. The indaba conference will revolve around the theme: Making the Book Pay.
“There will be various sub-themes which include creating the Africa we want through reading (Africa Agenda 2063), information literacy skills for the digital age, economics of the book, the book and cultural preservation, conservation and transmission and intellectual property and copyright,” Tafireyi told the Daily News.
Over the years ZIBF has been financially supported by donors such as Sida,Hivos, Book Aid International, the Netherlands Embassy, World Library Partnership, the British Council, DIFD Central Africa, MS-Zimbabwe, INASP, the American Library Association and Agence de la Francophonie.
The ZIBF executive chairperson added that the deepening donor fatigue was forcing them to be more self-reliant.
“This year we are entirely funding the book displays and exhibition to take place in the Harare Gardens from July 27 to 30.
“Remember we successfully funded the Bulawayo Book Fair and we are also preparing to fund the Mutare Book Fair set for September. Of course, it is still very much a learning process but we should never ever stop holding these fairs because of non-funding,” he said.
Though donor fatigue has hit ZIBF very hard, Tafireyi is optimistic that this this year’s edition will be far better the 2016 one.
“We recently sent out invitations and our traditional exhibitors have already indicated that they will be on board. We are also happy because one important local organisation, which has not exhibited for several years, will be making a comeback.
“We are also targeting big corporates. One mobile operator has expressed interest in taking part. If more companies come on board, it will improve our capacity to fund future book fairs on our own,” he said, adding that international interest in the book fair was also growing.
“For example, we received applications from people from 10 countries who are keen to present papers at the Indaba Conference. We will, however, screen them to just four countries. We will have several publishers from Southern Africa and East Africa.”