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Carol Campbell and ZP Dala Comment on Winning the Inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards

Carol Campbell and ZP Dala Win the Inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards for Durban Writers
Esther's HouseWhat About Meera

 

Carol Campbell and ZP Dala were recently awarded the inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards, for writers from KwaZulu-Natal.

Campbell took home the Main Category prize for Esther’s House, while Dala was awarded the Debut Category prize for What About Meera.

The award ceremony took place at the Durban City Hall on Friday, 30 October. Both Campbell and Dala received a laptop and prize money of R15 000.

The awards were created in recognition of the late Aziz Hassim, the well-known Durban writer who passed away in 2013.

Campell said being associated with Hassim is a great compliment. “Although he came late to writing he saw the humanity shining in people’s eyes,” she said. “Thank goodness we have his books which capture the lives of people in a certain place and time.

“Awards like this make one feel like one’s work is meaningful,” she continued. “A writer doesn’t earn money from novels and so prize money like this is really nice. Writers are part of the country’s creative community and they help a society make sense of its life – be it political or emotional.”

Dala said: “It is a very special honour as Mr Aziz Hassim was one of the Indian community’s most celebrated and talented writers. His writing shaped the way we, as young writers, view our stories, and show how important it is to tell them to the world.”

This year’s judging panel was Professor Thengani Ngwenya, Professor Lindy Stiebel, Thayalan Reddy, Ashwin Desai, Rubendra Govender, Dr Betty Govinden and Dr Lorraine Singh.

The prize is open to published or unpublished works of fiction by South African citizens, who are living in KwaZulu-Natal. The Minara Chamber of Commerce plans to alternate the award with a Debut Prize for poetry or short stories, while writing in indigenous languages and children’s Literature will also be considered in the future.

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Press release

Inaugural Aziz Hassim Literary Award Winners Announced

Authors Carol Campbell and ZP Dala are the inaugural winners of the Minara Chamber of Commerce Aziz Hassim Literary Award.

Both Campbell and Dala will receive a laptop each and prize money totalling R15 000 – sponsored by Esquire Technologies and Twenty Seven Four Investment Managers respectively – at a glittering function hosted by Minara at the Durban City Hall, this Friday the 30th of October 2015.

“In recognition of his contribution to the literary world, at the 2014 Recognition Awards for excellence in various fields, Minara Chamber conferred on the late Aziz Hassim, a well-known Durban writer, their own Arts and Culture Literary Award posthumously,” said Ebrahim Vawda, the vice-president of the Chamber.

“In his honour Minara Chamber initiated the Aziz Hassim Literary Award writer’s competition sponsored by Twenty Seven Four Investment Managers and Esquire Technologies. An independent group of judges were appointed to review and select winners in the categories, main and debut.”

Campbell won the main award category for her novel Esther’s House (Umuzi) which is set in one of South Africa’s marginal communities. It tackles some of the burning issues which South Africa faces, including the housing crisis and corruption.

Campell said that being associated with Hassim was one of the greatest compliments she had ever been paid. “Although he came late to writing he saw the humanity shining in people’s eyes. Thank goodness we have his books which capture the lives of people in a certain place and time,” she said.

Dala, whose novel What about Meera, set in Tongaat and Dublin, deals with themes of domestic violence and women abuse, echoed these sentiments: “It is a very special honour as Mr Aziz Hassim was one of the Indian community’s most celebrated and talented writers. His writing shaped the way we, as young writers view our stories, and show how important it is to tell them to the world.”

Campbell and Dala commended the Minara Chamber of Commerce for initiating the award. “Awards like this make one feel like one’s work is meaningful,” said Campbell, pointing out that there were only one or two big awards for writers in South Africa. “A writer doesn’t earn money from novels and so prize money like this is really nice. Writers are part of the country’s creative community and they help a society make sense of its life – be it political, emotional etc.” Dala said such awards also encouraged young people to creatively express themselves. “By initiating and implementing recognition awards for local artists, it encourages youth who have talent to be confident and realise that they can put forward their creative work and be recognised and remunerated,” she said.

Campbell and Dala will receive their awards on Friday evening, as part of the presentation of Minara’s Annual Recognition Awards, which recognise excellence in various other fields, including business and community building. South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Nhlanla Nene features as the key note speaker for the evening.

 

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