The Maskew Miller Longman Awards prizegiving was held on Thursday, 13 November, at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. These awards are some of the few that recognise literature in all of South Africa’s official languages, and the only ones that weigh all 11 languages equally, thus developing literature and encouraging a love of reading.
The keynote address was delivered by Sindiwe Magona, the author of To My Children’s Children, From Robben Island to Bishopscourt, and many more. She said she was honoured to be asked to speak at the event, adding that awards such as this are vital for authors who write in indigenous languages, because without publication authors have no voice. Magona also added that schoolbook publication is particularly vital for indigenous language writers.
Magona congratulated the winners and the finalists, saying even to be among the frontrunners is a great honour. She encouraged the winners to keep writing, and be selfish about their time for writing because “it is a sacred undertaking”. She ended off by restating the importance of reading the classics in all languages, and then going forward from there to break new ground.
Each year a different genre is selected for the awards; this year being drama. Of the 117 entries recieved, 74 percent were in African languages. Winners were announced in seven language categories, and each winner was awarded R10 000, and finalists recieved R3 500. Seven winning entries were published by Pearson this year.
The first prize winners:
Cecilia du Toit, for the Afrikaans drama BFF
Nakanjani Sibiya, for the IsiZulu drama Ngikuthanda ukhona lapho
Charmaine Kendal, for the English drama Doorways
Phillip Mothupi, for the Sepedi drama Ga le batswadi ba selo
Conny Masocha Lubisi, for the Xitsonga drama Ya Raha!
Nekhavhambe Khalirendwe, for the Tshivenda drama Ganuko a li vhuisi tshalo
Madoda Mlokoti, for the IsiXhosa drama Inzala YamaRhamba
Stephen Finn, for the English drama The Club
Zukiswa Pakama, for the IsiXhosa drama Lumka Ntombazana Kunzima
Zamokwakhe Mkhize, for the IsiZulu drama Emakhazeni
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho, for the Tshivenda drama Nwananga Nandi
The prize winners are a diverse crowd. There is a teacher, a university academic, and a man who left school in standard three. There are a number of experienced authors, as well as a few who have never been published before.
Read more about the authors and their plays:
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