The South African Children’s Book Forum (SACBF) was formed in 1988 and admitted as a National Section of IBBY in 1992. Originally, the main areas of activity were within eight regional groups around South Africa. However, most of these were disbanded and the SACBF then offered national membership with an office in Cape Town and an elected Executive Committee, linked by e-mail and through its website to members. One of the main events was organising and hosting the 29th IBBY Congress in Cape Town in September 2004.
In July 2005 the Section reformed and changed its name to IBBY SA with a new elected Executive Committee. On-going activities include:
- a close collaboration with other organizations in the field, such as Biblionef SA, the Centre for the Book (especially its First Words in Print / Isiqalo project), and Praesa at the University of Cape Town
- continued fundraising to donate Book Flood libraries to underprivileged schools in collaboration with Biblionef SA and the Yamada Apiculture Center
- four seasonal ‘BookBashes’ per year where writers, publishers, librarians, teachers, illustrators, translators come together to discuss issues of interest
- ‘100 Representative South African Books for Children and Young People’: a list has been compiled and issued as a booklet; a physical exhibition assembled for display at the Cape Town Book Fair; and a virtual exhibition placed on the IBBY SA website
- the biennial Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award is given to the writer and the illustrator of the best children’s picture book or illustrated children’s book
- the nomination of IBBY Honour List books in the various South African languages in the categories Author, Translator and Illustrator
- nominations for the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award
- nominations for the annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
- a bi-monthly IBBY SA newsletter Books for Africa, with local and international news and articles of interest
- collaborating with organizations such as the Nami Island International Children’s Book Festival to display South African books for children and young people internationally
- regular BookBash events
- promoting South African children’s literature in every way possible.