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Over the past 11 years, Kopinor, which is the Reproduction Rights Organisation of Norway, and the Norwegian Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association have supported the Zimbabwean International Book Fair (ZIBF).
Add to that, last year's ZIBF was, due to bad management, a financial disaster; the final deficit exceeded US$370,000, approximately 100% of the budget, depleting all of ZIBF's accumulated resources.
The reason for our support over all these years has been the international character of the ZIBF; this year it was first and foremost a national book fair.
When the Book Fair and the Indaba were evaluated at a meeting between the Norwegian donors and the ZIBF Board on 3 August, we expressed concern over the lack of balance among the speakers at this year's Indaba, but no one even hinted that Mr Ankomah never should be allowed to speak at the ZIBF again.
We sincerely do hope that the situation in Zimbabwe will improve and make it possible for ZIBF to regain its status as an important venue for all who care about the book sector in Africa, and re-emerge as a truly international event.
Far from being "nonsensical claims" or "comical overestimates" of my "own importance", I was in Zimbabwe when the furore over my "performance" and other "non-donor-approved" (a euphemism for pro-government) speakers at the ZIBF broke out the very next day after the Indaba.
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- Ziang Jemin
- Ziang Jemin
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