[The JRB Daily] 2022 Humanities and Social Sciences Awards winners announced—‘casting a celebratory light on those whose work often goes unnoticed’

Image: The 2022 HSS Awards winners. Back, from left: Aryan Kaganof, Natalia Molebatsi, Napjadi Letsoalo, Thulasizwe Simpson, Nthikeng Mohlele, Mandla Langa. Front, from left: Zolani Shangase, Wezile Harmans, Futhi Ntshingila, Athambile Masola, Coral Bijoux, Dimakatso Sedite, Pumla Dineo Gqola

The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) has announced the winners of the seventh annual HSS Awards.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Javett Arts Centre in Pretoria on Thursday, 31 March 2022.

Over 190 entries were received for the awards this year—the largest number in their seven-year history.

‘The entries and winners of the seventh edition of the HSS Awards embody an emergence of new voices, the making of space for fresh or revisited experiences that enrich our field (and therefore humanity) and the inclusion of our histories, “her-stories” and “their-stories” previously untold, or told one-sidedly,’ said NIHSS CEO Professor Sarah Mosoetsa.

Mosoetsa also praised the writers’ ‘commitment’ to producing work in South African languages, calling it ‘a vital factor in the drive to promote thought-provoking indigenous literature’.

‘A number of indigenous language authors have expressed the utmost determination to see to it that African work is given a place in the sun, both among writers and readers,’ she said. ‘The NIHSS is proud to be part of this effort.’

Mosoetsa added that to be included on the prize shortlists or recognised among the winners, an author, artist or poet ‘must meet the highest standards of intellectual rigour and have been willing to put in some very hard work. They must also have demonstrated real creative merit and technical dexterity that place them among the foremost creative-intellectuals in HSS scholarship.’

The HSS Awards are open to ‘all academics, curators and artists of various forms of creative work who are based in South Africa working to advance the HSS’. The awards aim to honour ‘outstanding, innovative and socially responsive scholarship, as well as digital contributions’ and ‘cast a celebratory limelight to those intellectual-creative workers whose work often goes unnoticed both in the academy and society at large’.  

2022 HSS Award Winners


Best Non-fiction Monograph

Female Fear Factory – Pumla Dineo Gqola (Melinda Ferguson, an Imprint of NB Publishers)

History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present – Thula Simpson (Penguin Random House South Africa)

Best Non-fiction Biography

Scatterling of Africa: My Early Years – Johnny Clegg (Pan Macmillan South Africa)

Best Non-fiction Edited Volume

Ambivalent: Photography and Visibility in African History – Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley (Jacana Media)

Best Non-fiction Edited Volume

Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa – Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon (Wits University Press)


Best Fiction Novel

The Lost Language of the Soul – Mandla Langa (Pan Macmillan South Africa)

They Got to You Too – Futhi Ntshingila (Pan Macmillan South Africa)

Kompoun: ’n Roman – Ronelda S Kamfer (Kwela, an Imprint of NB Publishers)

Best Fiction Edited Volume

Wild Imperfections – Natalia Molebatsi (Penguin Random House)

Hauntings – Niq Mhlongo (Jacana Media)

Best Fiction Poetry

Ilifa – Athambile Masola (uHlanga Press)

Yellow Shade – Dimakatso Sedite (Deep South)

Best Fiction Short Stories

The Discovery of Love – Nthikeng Mohlele (Jacana Media)

Creative Collection

Best Exhibition Catalogue

Dreams as R-evolution – Coral Bijoux

Best Musical Arrangement

Antique Spoons: Chapters on Love, Loss and the Politics of Memory – Vuma Levin

Best Public Performance

The Sounds of Hlakanyana – Zolani Shangase

Best Visual Art

Umdiyadiya – Wezile Harmans

Digital Humanities

Mzansi Taal: The South African Taal Dictionary – Napjadi Letsoalo 

herri – Aryan Kaganof

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