The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation have announced the African writers and artists shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award.
Drawn from a range of African countries, these written and photographic pieces on the topics of gender, human rights and sexuality on our continent represent a new wave of fresh storytelling.
The shortlist will comprise the resultant anthology, titled Pride and Prejudice, which will be published and distributed by Jacana Media and its project partners across Africa in May 2017.
Judges Sisonke Msimang (chair), Eusebius McKaiser and Sylvia Tamale reviewed close on 400 anonymous individual entries over the past four months in order to select the 14 pieces for the shortlist.
In the current political environment, we are hopeful that expressions like the ones we have chosen – that do not shy away from pain but that are also deeply inventive – find their way into the public consciousness. We think Gerald Kraak would have smiled at a number of these entries, and above all, we have aimed to stay true to his love of fearless writing and support of courageous and grounded activism.
In alphabetical order by surname, here are the shortlisted authors and entries, and short judges’ notes:
- Poached Eggs by Farah Ahamed (Fiction, Kenya)
A subtle, slow and careful rendering of the everyday rhythms of domestic terror that pays homage to the long history of women’s resistance; yet with wit and humour and grit, the story also sings of freedom, of resistance and the desire to be unbound.
- A Place of Greater Safety by Beyers de Vos (Journalism, South Africa)
Covers, with empathy and real curiosity and knowledge, underground issues that are seldom discussed in the South African LGBT+ movement – homelessness, poverty, as well as attraction and violence.
- Midnight in Lusikisiki or The Ruin of the Gentlewomen by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese (Poetry, South Africa)
This poem hums with sadness and sings with anger. It is full of the sort of melancholy that marks the passing of something very important. It provides an opportunity to connect the themes of gender this collection takes so seriously, with issues of poverty and political corruption.
- Two Weddings for Amoit by Dilman Dila (Fiction, Uganda)
A fresh piece of sci-fi, written in a clear and bright way, that surprisingly draws on covert and subversive love.
- Albus by Justin Dingwall (Photography, South Africa)
The choice of exquisitely beautiful high-fashion models to represent people with albinism – who are so often depicted as unattractive, as others – is just breath-taking. It makes its point and leaves you wanting more.
- For Men Who Care by Amatesiro Dore (Fiction, Nigeria)
A complex and thoughtful insight into a part of elite Nigerian life, as well as the ways in which buying into certain brands of patriarchy can be so deeply damaging – and have direct and unavoidable consequences.
- Resurrection by Tania Haberland (Poetry, Mauritius)
An erotic poem that is powerful in its simple celebration of the clit.
- Intertwined Odyssey by Julia Hango (Photography, South Africa)
A solid and thought-provoking collection. The range of poses force questions about power. The photos make the lovers (or are they fighters?) equal in their nakedness and in their embodiment of discomfort.
- Dean’s Bed by Dean Hutton (Photography, South Africa)
An important contribution to conversations about bisexuality, attraction, age and race.
- On Coming Out by Lee Mokobe (Poetry, South Africa)
Literal and lyrical, this powerful poem draws one in through its style and accessibility.
- You Sing of a Longing by Otosirieze Obi-Young (Fiction, Nigeria)
A thoroughly modern epic but with bones as old as time. This is a story of love and betrayal and madness and music that is all the more beautiful for its plainspoken poignancy. Yet there is prose in here that steals your breath away.
- The Conversation by Olakunle Ologunro (Fiction, Nigeria)
Provides valuable insight into issues of intimate partner violence, family acceptance and the complexity of gender roles in many modern African contexts.
- One More Nation Bound in Freedom by Ayodele Sogunro (Academic, Nigeria)
An informative piece that gives a crisp and “objective” voice to the many themes that cut across this anthology.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land by Sarah Waiswa (Photography, Kenya)
This collection of photos showcases the best of African storytelling. The images take risks, and speak to danger and subversion. At the same time they are deeply rooted in places that are familiar to urban Africans. The woman in this collection is a stand-in for all of us.
The winner, who receives a cash prize, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2017, hosted by The Other Foundation and attended by the authors of the top three submissions as well as the judging panel and project partners.
This project is made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation: www.theotherfoundation.org.