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South African Lidudumalingani wins 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing

Alert! South African writer Lidudumalingani has won the seventeenth Caine Prize for African Writing.

Lidudumalingani was announced as the winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled “Memories We Lost” published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You

“Memories We Lost” tells the emotionally charged story of a girl who acts as protector of her sister, whose serious mental-health problems cause consternation in a South African village. Her situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.

At the announcement, Chair of Judges Delia Jarrett-Macauley praised the story, saying, “The winning story explores a difficult subject – how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia. this is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists”.

Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, in a village called Zikhovane. Lidudumalingani has published short stories, non-fiction and criticism in various publications. His films have been screened at a number of film festivals. He is the third South African to win this prestigious prize, after Mary Watson (2006) and Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008).

Read Lidudumalingani’s story “Memories We Lost” here, then listen to Tseliso Monaheng reading it:


Incredible JourneyLusaka Punk and Other StoriesThe Gonjon Pin and Other Stories10 Years of the Caine Prize for African WritingA Memory This Size and Other StoriesThe Caine Prize Anthology 2009: Work in Progress and Other Stories


2016 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlist:

2016 Caine Prize for African Writing judging panel announced

As the winner of the Caine Prize, Lidudumalingani will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. Furthermore, he will be invited to speak at the Library of Congress, andbe invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Zambian writer Namwali Serpell. Namwali is an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley English department. Her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014. Since winning the Caine Prize, the world rights to Namwali’s first book of fiction, The Old Drift, were pre-empted and it will be published by Hogarth in the US and Chatto and Windus in the UK.

The New Internationalist 2016 anthology is now published and it includes all of the shortlisted stories along with 12 other short stories written at the Caine Prize 2016 workshop in Zambia. You can buy the anthology here. The anthology is supplied as a print ready pdf to eight African co-publishers.

Related stories:

Book details


Image by David Harrison, courtesy of Mail and Guardian


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