Thabiso Mahlape

Blackbird Books

What does your company do?

We are a small independent publishing house whose concern is providing a platform for that cut to the core of the African experience. We focus our energy on providing this platform to brilliant and especially but not limited to young black authors who would otherwise not have the opportunity to tell stories that show and shape the wealth of African experiences. We pride ourselves in being a launchpad for black narratives that would otherwise not get the attention that they deserve. Blackbird Books is fast establishing itself as an African publishing platform and making waves in the global publishing community. As a brand it is both undeniable and formidable.

What is your biggest success?

My biggest success is that Blackbird Books has given birth to some of teh best african literary talents that have gone on to speak, write and participate as respcted authors across the world. Furthermore, the presence of Blackbird Books and the my visibility as a black publisher, has encouraged a new wave of literary interest in the country. We have seen the creation of more book-clubs and a new wave of self-published authors because this platform created an energy that is tangible enough to be tapped into.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Continentally we do not have established book distribution systems which makes it difficult for african publishers to share their work and authors across the continent. The difficulty then with being a platform that is open to all Africans is not having channels to sell and or market authors in their own countries. Locally, we have a much more sophisticated albeit exclusive distribution system. This system is limited to affluent areas and leaves the majority of the country without access to the very literature born of their shared culture and history with the authors. It is definitely one of the things that we continue to encourage and support individuals and small companies who intend on disrupting that system.

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