Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan, honoured 18 authors at the fourth annual South African Literary Awards gala dinner at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Monday night.
The SALAs “endeavour to pay long overdue honour and homage to living literary practitioners, and, where appropriate, to others posthumously”. A new category added this year was the Literary Translators Award, which joined the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award, the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award and the Literary Posthumous Award.
This year, Literary Posthumous awards were made to Dora Taylor (Kathie), A.H.M. Scholtz (Vatmaar) and Sheila Cussons (Versamelde Gedigte).
Lifetime Literary Achievement awards were made to D.M. Modise (Maragana), W.M.R. Sigwavhulimu (Mirunzi ya vhuvha), Elsa Joubert (Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena), Adam Small (Krism van Map Jacobs), Wilma Stockenström (Die kremetartekspedisie), Luli Callinicos (The World That Made Mandela), Miriam M. Makeba, Nomsa Mwamuka (The Miriam Makeba Story) and Patrick Cullinan (Escarpments).
Njabulo Ndebele won the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award for his collection of essays in English, Fine Lines from the Box. Co-nominees in this category were Tlou Setumu, whose Sepedi play Ntwa ya Kgosi Malebogo le maburu competed with Willem Anker‘s Siegfried in Afrikaans.
“The adjudication process was a rigorous and lengthy exercise,” said Prof. Zodwa Motsa, Chairperson of the Adjudication Panel, “starting with extensive meetings on the rubric, criteria and standards that inform the adjudication.
“The first phase was followed by critical reading of volume upon volume of works. The level of engagement was of very high standard with the range covering biographies, translations, children’s literature, poetry, novels and novellas in all the Republic’s languages… Voices of different hues, styles and modes of delivery all attest to the fact that Mzansi has really come of age. As they say, the maturity of a nation is gauged by the body of its literature.
“The works that did not make it were unsuccessful mainly due to sloppiness in language and editorial perfection. In some cases the nomination failed to observe the correct category stipulations. It was sad to see such a minor neglect of detail cost the submission a possible win. On the whole there was compliance and as a literary critic, I would say, ‘Mzansi you are a force to reckon with in the literary domain – in all your diverse languages and interests’”, she concluded.
No awards were made in the categories Literary Journalism Award and Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award this year.
- Click here to read the speech delivered by the Minister of Arts and Culture, Z. Pallo Jordan at the SALA ceremony (doc download)
Since its inception in 2005, SALA has honoured 43 literary icons, including Es’kia Mphahlele, Noni Jabavu, Ellen Khuzwayo, Nadine Gordimer, Denis Brutus, James Matthews, T.N Maumela, Miriam Tlali, E.S. Madima, Modikoe Dikobe, Ephraim Lesoro, Toek Blignaut, DBZ Ntuli, Lauretta Ngcobo, Ronnie Govender, Andre Brink, Peter Abrahams, Lewis Nkosi, Don Mattera, Karel Schoeman, Gladys Thomas, Wally Serote, Oswald Mtshali, Mafika Gwala, Sipho Sepamla, Sindiwe Magona, Athol Fugard, Max Marhanele, Victor Dlamini, Bongani Madondo, Felix Thuketana, Otty Nxumalo and Stephen Gray.
The awards were “the result of a partnership between the national Ministry of Arts & Culture… the wRite Associates, media and publishing partners Sowetan and Nutrend Publishers, respectively”, explained Raks Morakabe Seakhoa, wRite Associate in chief, at the do.