The Lockdown Collection


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When we were sentenced to Lockdown, on the 27 of March, the book industry suddenly found
itself regarded as “non-essential”. I found myself trying to figure out how suddenly all us creatives
– writers, poets, actors, singers, publishers, booksellers musicians, artists – had literally become
“irrelevant”, according to COVID-19 Lockdown regulations. After Donald Trump threatened to cut
funding for the arts in the US in January, this meme went viral on social media:
“When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding to support the war effort, he replied: ‘Then
what are we fighting for?'” Apparently Churchill never actually said this, but sometimes “fake
news” can serve as inspiration. Here in South Africa creatives have never been supported by any
meaningful state funding. COVID-19 has exposed just how flawed so many of our systems are.

At the end of March, my first response against creative suicide, Lockdown The Corona Chronicles
was published after a group of 17 Melinda Ferguson Books authors, under my benevolent whip,
got an e-book together in just 7 days. Twenty four hours later I went back to the drawing board. I
must have been withdrawing from the endorphins that come with creative surges. I dipped into
wishful thinking mode and made a list of authors I’d love to collaborate with. You know those
mood board things people on Facebook were urging us to make? I decided to take my chances
and approach the list, in the hope that at least three or four writers would agree to go on a new,
mad venture with me. Turns out all 30 of them agreed. And so Lockdown Extended was birthed,
from start to finish, in an incredible explosion of creativity and commitment, in just 10 days.

The Lockdown Collection hosts 40 of South Africa’s best: Pumla Dineo Gqola, Sisonke Msimang,
Lebo Mashile, Chris Roper, Ferial Haffajee, Lindiwe Hani, Jonathan Ancer, Sara-Jayne Makwala,
Fred Khumalo, Haji Mohamed Dawjee, Khaya Dlanga, Tracy Going, Rahla Xenopoulos, Phumlani
Pikoli, Ben Trovato, Eva Mazza, Steven Sidley, Hagen Engler, Rof Maneta, Dave Muller, Dudu
Busani-Dube, Helena Kriel, Everjoice J. Win, Helen Moffett, Barbara Boswell, Siya Khumalo, Kelly-
Eve Koopman, Carsten Rasch, Gabi Lowe, Chris Du Plessis, Issy Lagardien, Robert Hamblin,
Christy Chilimigras, Sam Cowen, Melinda Ferguson, Marianne Thamm, Kharnita Mohamed, An
Wentzel and Melusi Tshabalala.