The skaftin offered technical advice on the rules for submitting manuscripts, draft papers etc as well as insights into the operations of the publishing industry in South Africa.
Mr Ngobeni’s presentation provided a context of Africa’s publishing industry and the challenges faced by publishers and those who would like their work published. South Africa has, arguably, the biggest publishing industry in Africa. University of South Africa (UNISA), UKZN (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal), University of Witwatersrand and the University of Stellenbosch are some of the university presses that are available. Despite this advantage, there are several factors that hinder the growth of the African publishing industry and the number of titles produced in Africa. Often, African authors tend to publish their works in publishing houses of countries in the North, therefore qualifying their works as belonging to that country of publication. These books are then imported and in turn become too expensive for most people living in Africa to purchase.
Other encumbering factors on the continent as a whole include: limited available publishing houses, a general lack of reading culture, low budgets allocated to university presses, advancement of internet (a shift into electronic publishing) and obstacles faced in distribution and access of published works.
Although some publishing houses continue to chase the bottom line over quality, Mr Ngobeni urged writers and researchers to contest the current system and reclaim the knowledge production of Africa from the North.