Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 22, July 1998 


South African publishing training initiative

Mary Ralphs

Mary Ralphs manages the Publishing Training Project, PO Box 95379 Grant Park 2051, Johannesburg, South Africa. Tel. +27 11 728-2898, fax +27 11 728-3164, e-mail:

The Publishing Training Project (PTP) was established in mid 1994 to be run under the auspices of the then Independent Publishers' Association of South Africa (IPASA). The principal aims of the Project were drawn up as follows:

  • to assist materials development projects in the realistic development of their materials, and to network between projects and publishing organisations;
  • to provide work-related training in specific areas of publishing (budgeting, planning, editing, design, contracts), to publishers and NGOs;
  • to further the democratic and developmental aims of IPASA.

Since the Project started, IPASA merged with the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Project has operated under the auspices of PASA, with the proviso that it retained its developmental emphasis and remained accountable to the original committee appointed by IPASA.

In the four years of its existence, the PTP has assisted a wide range of organisations and publishing companies, mounting courses on various aspects of book publishing, and providing specialised advice and assistance. By the end of 1997, more than 1200 trainees had attended some 22 different short courses mounted in various centres in South Africa. The courses have been attended by staff from the commercial publishing sector as well as freelancers, people from NGOs, and small publishing initiatives and some educational institutions.

The courses have attracted participation from publishing staff from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The Project maintains close links with other African publishing bodies and has participated in the development of an African publishing training curriculum. In collaboration with the African Publishers Network (APNET), the Project mounted a Training for Trainers Workshop in South Africa in April this year which was attended by trainers from various southern African countries. In August, in partnership with the British Council, the PTP will run a copy-editing course during the Zimbabwe Book Fair.

The Publishing Training Project is playing a critical role in capacity-building within the African publishing industry and its track record of supplying both the commercial sector and NGOs and small companies with much-needed training is indicated by the ongoing support the courses receive. [end]  [BPN, no 22, 1998, p 5.]

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