Mentoring programme for emerging writers

After so many months of planning and renovations Paulet House, our writers’ retreat in Somerset East recently opened its doors to our first group of upcoming writers! We had such an inspiring and successful first weekend – days of hard work, sharing stories and having fun. We are proud of the development of our first group of writers: Shana Fife, Bronwyn Davids, Sharon Mogoaneng and Engela Ovies.

Dining at Paulet House.

This programme we are undertaking in partnership with NB Publishers (home to the imprints Tafelberg, Human & Rousseau, Kwela, Queillerie, Lux Verbi and Pharos) aims at nurturing and supporting emerging writers during the process of developing their manuscript and making it publishable. We focus on those writers with a story to tell, who have never been published before and perhaps don’t quite know how to pen it down. The Jakes Gerwel Foundation and NB Publishers are eager to take hands with these writers in telling stories that are fresh or scarcely exploited in the South African literature. Knowledgeable and experienced mentors, Francois Bloemhof and Suzette Kotze-Myburgh, help the participating writers polish their stories. Writers and mentors will work together for some periods of time in Somerset East and will remain in contact during the rest of the year. We focus on both fiction and non-fiction in English and Afrikaans.

Bronwyn and Suzette
Engela Ovies
Francois and Shana
Francois and Sharon

Emerging writers who want to be part of this project in future must email Theo Kemp (theo@jgf.org.za).


Woon en skryf vir ’n maand in Somerset-Oos – die Jakes Gerwel Stigting en PEN Afrikaans loods ’n skrywersresidensie

Tyd om onverpoosd te skryf, is ’n versugting van menige skrywer. Die oorgrote meerderheid skrywers kan nie wegkom van hulle dagtake nie en vind dikwels nie genoeg tyd om ordentlik te sit en skryf nie. Boeke bly só ongeskryf en waardevolle talent word nie ten volle benut nie.

Die Jakes Gerwel Stigting en PEN Afrikaans is opgewonde om vanjaar ’n skrywersresidensie te loods wat aan skrywers die kans gee om vir ’n maand in die Paulet-huis tuis te gaan om aan ’n skryfprojek te werk.  Dié historiese huis, langs die Bosberge in die skilderagtige Somerset-Oos, is pas gerestoureer. Met sy sjarmante ouwêreldsheid, ruim kamers, houtvloere en lowergroen tuin, bied die huis die ideale geleentheid vir skrywers om in ’n inspirerende omgewing aan hul manuskripte te werk.

Aansoeke moet Theo Kemp teen 12 April 2019 bereik. Om meer uit te vind oor die voorwaardes, kontak Theo – theo@jgf.co.za

Yoh! Poetry Project

The Jakes Gerwel Foundation initiated the Yoh! project in 2018 at the Grassy Park High School on the Cape Flats where both Mrs Phoebé and Prof. Jakes Gerwel left deep footprints. Yoh! is facilitated by Dr Thérèse Hulme, an experienced narrative therapist and presenter of a number of creative writing projects for young people in the Western Cape. The Yoh! Poetry Project, presented for the second year at Grassy Park, draws on narrative therapy to create a framework within which learners construct alternative and more positive narratives about themselves through the creative medium of poetry. Through this narrative learning process learners find their voices and break their own silences. This project proves that poetry – like the arts in general – is not a luxury but a necessity.

Beyond the exploitation of language, the project also aims at establishing a relationship of trust with young people so that they can discover that they have something of value to say and that there is someone who wants to listen to them.


Prof Jakes Gerwel was instrumenteel in die ontstaan van die Suidoosterfees wat elke jaar in Artscape in Kaapstad aangebied word. Die Stigting is betrokke by hierdie fees deur jaarliks die boeke- en diskoersprogram, aan te bied. Dan word die nuutste boeke en van die brandendste kwessies aangespreek. Die 2019-fees vind plaas vanaf 25 April tot 1 Mei. Klik op www.jgf.org.za vir die volledige program, of besoek die Suidoosterfees by www.suidoosterfees.co.za

Books in the hands of children

The Jakes Gerwel Foundation shares the mission of Book Dash to give books to all South African children whose parents and schools cannot afford to do so. During 2018 we have donated more than 3 000 books to 1 000 Grade 0 to 3 learners in the most isolated communities of Somerset East and with the highest poverty likelihood. The Foundation further donated books to every classroom visited so that teachers and children can rediscover the wonder of stories every day. Many of these learners don’t have schoolbags and so we’ve given a schoolbag to each of these children. The bags we donate are made by women from Elsiesriver who are part of the Bags4Good non-profit community project.

Book Dash creates new books every year by getting together a team of illustrators, writers and designers for one day. The stories in these books are home-grown and are available in several languages.

We donate books in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa. Our foundation would like to reach as many learners as possible as we know that writers need readers. In 2019 we double our numbers by reaching out to eight schools and 6,000 learners in Somerset East. We invite everyone to donate products to put inside the schoolbags we hand to the children.


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