South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu wins Etisalat Prize 2015

Songeziwe Mahlangu gets his big cheque. You lucky dog you.
Songeziwe Mahlangu gets his big cheque. You lucky dog you.

We have a winner. After a longlist and a shortlist and then the buildup, South Africa’s Songeziwe Mahlangu emerged the winner of the Etisalat Prize for African Writing 2015. The prize was given at a glittering ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos last night. He is the second winner of prize after Noviolet Bulawayo’s win last year.

Mahlangu won the prize for his book Pen-Umbra a story on Cape Town and how the city beat him, leaving with it traces of mental illness. He beat Nadia Davids whose entry was An Imperfect Blessing and Chinelo Okparanta with Happiness Like Water to the prize.

It was quite the shindig at the announcement of the award with Angelique Kidjo being the headline act. Also seen on the stage was Qudus. In the audience were folks like Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Professors Kole Omotosho, Remi Raji and Odia Ofeimu and Art Alade. Also in there were Lola Shoneyin, Chibundu Onuzo, Tsitsi Dangarembga and and… Basically it was a full house.

Mahlangu goes home with £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück and will attend an Etisalat sponsored fellowship. And the cred of being a prize winner. The losing shortlistees will have 1,000 of their books bought by the prize and they they will join the winner for a multi-city sponsored tour.

Update: You need to check out Photos from the 2014 Etisalat Prize Award Ceremony from Brittle Paper. Very cool.

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