Media Statements


The National Writers Association of South Africa (NWASA) is an organised outfit of 650 plus members – and counting – in South Africa, Africa and overseas. Within our ranks are upcoming and prominent authors who utilise your retail infrastructure to promote their works.

NWASA was born on 25 May 2018 out of a need for a national writers’ movement that will advocate for literature, advance and defend the rights and interests of writers and work towards the development of the quality of writing, readership, publishing and distribution of literature.

The execution of these objectives is not confined to our members and the country’s geographic borders. Hence, we have recently, on 21 March 2024, signed a cultural partnership agreement with the General Union For Palestinian Writers (GUP) at the Freedom Park, City of Tshwane, with the view to jointly resist and fight against any form of socio-economic and political injustice to which writers are subjected within their trade as well as members of the global society.

Against this backdrop, we are deeply distressed and aggrieved to learn from our networks your retail store, Exclusive Books, has recently withdrawn from its shelves an illustration colouring book, From the River to the Sea…, by Nathi Ngubane.

From media reports, it appears as if your company was approached by several interested parties to review this deplorable action that is reminiscent of censorship practices of the apartheid era. Our reading of the situation suggests that you are not only refusing to budge, but also find it is justifiable to promote the book, Goodnight Golda: A Handbook for Brave Jewish Girls and her mighty friends, by Batya Bricker. Incidentally, Batya Bricker works for Exclusive Books as the General Manager of Books and Brand.

This scenario triggers several questions. What motivates this double-standard on these two books? Is this because the one author is Black and the other White (Jewish)? Or that you seek to block out another view of the Middle-East? Or that the persons (book distributors-cum-authors) who are supposed to level the field for fair promotion of books are the same persons against whom other authors must compete as gatekeepers?

Kindly explain why our members, some of whom punt innovative and challenging ideas about society systems, who use your retail to promote their books your bookstore should trust you to properly market their books? Why should they trust you to provide a diversity of opinion and thought if you remove a book about Palestine during a genocide while you accommodate others that provide opposite views?

NWASA comes from the traditions of previous organisations that relentlessly fought to end apartheid, and that effectively used consumer action among a variety of measures to that end. As a writers’ body, it has a strong muscle to flex and a big stick to wield to disturb your business not only in South Africa, but beyond its borders where you may have a presence in whatever format. Should we not get a positive response and you refuse to desist from your censorship of From the River to the Sea, we will take further action. This is not an idle threat! We have several options to consider in launching a sustainable campaign. For instance, apart from mobilising our members to withdraw their books from their shelves, we could also persuade them to reconsider using your premises for book launches, as well as to directly challenge your general manager-cum-author to explain herself at literary events!

Issued by the Secretary-General
Dr. Lebogang Lance Nawa

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