[The JRB Daily] South African Literary Awards shortlists announced

The 2017 South African Literary Awards shortlists have been announced, with nominees including Mohale Mashigo, Kopano Matlwa, Nthikeng Mohlele, Etienne van Heerden and Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa.

The SALAs are awarded annually by the wRite Associates and the Department of Arts and Culture to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.

For the first time, work in the !Xam and !Kun languages has been shortlisted, namely that of |A!kunta, !Kabbo, ≠Kasin, Dia!kwain and |Han≠kass’o, the legendary contributors to the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd collection, who have been shortlisted for Posthumous Literary Awards.

Mohale Mashigo’s The Yearning, which recently won the University of Johannesburg for South African Writing in English Debut Prize, has been shortlisted for the First-time Published Author Award, along with Amy Jephta’s Afrikaans play Kristalvlakte and Moses Shimo Seletisha’s Sepedi biography of Tlokwe ‘Harlem’ Maserumule, Tšhutšhumakgala.

Two authors are shortlisted for the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award: Kopano Matlwa, for Period Pain, and Nthikeng Mohlele, for Pleasure, which was recently awarded the UJ Main Prize.

Nick Mulgrew, for Stations, and Roela Hattingh, for Kamee, have been shortlisted for the Nadine Gordimer Short story Award.

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, Aletta Matshedisð Motimele and Etienne van Heerden have been shortlisted for Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 7 November at the Kgorong Building at Unisa.

Full South African Literary Awards shortlists

Category: First-time Published Author Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Amy JephtaKristalvlakteAfrikaans
Moses Shimo SeletishaTšhutšhumakgalaSepedi
Mohale MashigoThe YearningEnglish

Category: K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Kopano MatlwaPeriod PainEnglish
Nthikeng MohlelePleasureEnglish

Category: Poetry Award

Book titleLanguage
Helen MoffettPruningsEnglish
Ronelda S KamferHammieAfrikaans
Simphiwe Ali NolutshunguIingcango ZentliziyoisiXhosa

Category: Creative Non-fiction Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Dikgang MosenekeMy Own LiberatorEnglish
Elsabé BritsEmily Hobhouse: Geliefde VerraaierAfrikaans
Sylvia VollenhovenThe Keeper of the Kumm: Ancestral Longing and Belonging of a BoesmankindEnglish

Category: Literary Journalism Award

Don MakatileHis oeuvre 
Phakama MbonambiHis oeuvre 

Category: Literary Translators Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Bridget Theron-Bushell The Thirstland Trek: 1874—1881 Afrikaans—English
Jeff Opland, Wandile Kuse and Pamela MasekoWilliam Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali: Xhosa Histories and Poetry (1873—1888)isiXhosa—English
Jeff Opland and Pamela MasekoDLP Yali-Manisi: Iimbali Zamanyange: Historical PoemsisiXhosa—English

Category: Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Nick MulgrewStationsEnglish
Roela HattinghKameeAfrikaans

Category: Posthumous Literary Award

|A!kuntaBody of work!Xam and !Kun
!KabboBody of work!Xam and !Kun
≠KasinBody of work!Xam and !Kun
Dia!kwainBody of work!Xam and !Kun
|Han≠kass’oBody of work!Xam and !Kun

Category: Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Vusamazulu Credo MutwaBody of workEnglish
Aletta Matshedisð MotimeleBody of workSepedi
Etienne Van HeerdenBody of workAfrikaans

Category: Chairperson’s Award

The recipient will be announced at the award ceremony


Press release:

Twenty-eight South African authors are shortlisted for 2017 South African Literary Awards (SALA).

2017 marks the highest milestone of South African Literary Awards (SALA), as the shortlist includes, for the first time, the !Xam and !Kun languages.

Listed under the Posthumous Literary Awards, five legendary contributors are drawn from Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd collection of !Xam and !Kun narratives, verses, songs, chants, drawings and other materials consisting of over 150 notebooks running in some 13 000 pages which is considered a unique cultural and literary collection which has been recognised by United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Council (UNESCO) and entered into the memory of the World Register.

The materials deal with the land, the rain, the history of the first people, the origin of the moon and stars, animals, cosmology, beliefs, ceremonies, art and information of the individual lives of the informants who had come to Cape Town as prisoners of the British Crown and were released into Bleek’s custody at his residence in Mowbray for linguistic and cultural research.

Also interesting is the shortlist list under the Translators Literary award consisting of William Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali, Xhosa Histories And Poetry (1873—1888), DLP Yali-Manisi: Iimbali Zamanyange, Historical Poems and The Thirstland Trek: 1874—1881. While the Creative Non-fiction Award has The Keeper Of The Kumm: Ancestral Longing and Belonging of a Boesmankind, by Sylvia Vollenhoven, My Own Liberator by Judge Dikgang Moseneke and Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde Verraaier by Elsabé Brits.

The shortlist goes on to list under the Lifetime Achievement Literary Award, South Africa’s legendary Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa, who is largely respected for his predictions of world events, including the destruction of New York’s World Trade Centre in 2001, the 1976 June 16 Uprising, HIV, Chris Hani’s assassination, load shedding and the ousting of President Thabo Mbeki. Mutwa shares the category with other literary stalwarts, Aletta Matshedisð Motimele, who is revered for her Sepedi works and Etienne van Heerden, an academic and prolific Afrikaans author.

‘Indeed, as its main aim, SALA continues to strive to become the most prestigious and respected literary accolades in South African literature,’ says Sindiswa Seakhoa, director at wRite Associates, founders of SALA, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture in 2005.

Since its inception in 2005, to date, SALA has honoured 160 authors in 11 categories in all official South African languages. SALA also boasts legacy programmes including:

  • The National Poet Laureate Programme and the Keorapetse Kgositsile Lecture, in honour of the Poet Laureate Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile.
  • The Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club, in honour of the late Miriam Tlali.
  • Band of Troubadours, a publication comprising the work of the SALA recipients
  • Africa Century International African Writers Conference and International African Writers Day Lecture, established in 2012.

The conference is set to become a Mecca of who is who of the African literati, the Diaspora and the entire globe where the celebration of African letters occupies centre stage.

This historical gathering of literary intellectuals and authors from across the world, is, as the then-OAU’s Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture (meeting in Coutonou, Benin, in 1991) resolved, ‘… to afford the African people a moment of pause within which to reflect on the contribution of African Writers to the development of the Continent’.

Both the 2017 South African Literary Awards ceremony and Conference will take place on 7 November at Kgorong Building, Unisa. This is partnership by the wRite Associates, the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Afrikaans and Theory of Literature, Unisa.

The theme for the conference is ‘The Writer as a Drum Major of Conscience, Restoration & Transformation’, with the sub-theme being ‘The Establishment of the South African Writers Organisation’.

Professor Zodwa Motsa, a Fulbright Scholar, a Researcher, Writer and Social Engineer, who has served as Head of the Department: English Studies (Unisa) from 2006—2011 and currently serving as the Country Director at Unisa’s Ethiopia Centre for Graduate Studies in Addis Ababa, since 2012, will deliver the sixth International African Writers Day Lecture and Professor Nhlanhla Maake, an academician, novelist, dramatist, literary critic, and language activist will deliver the response. Professor Andries Oliphant, author, poet, literary scholar and cultural policy advisor, will lead the seminar on the establishment of South Africa’s Writers’ Organisation.

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