Caiphus Mangenela is the winner of the Bessie Head Short Story Competition 2016 for his story A Mother Amongst The Stars. Mangenela was awarded his prize at a ceremony on Sunday 18 September 2016 in Gaborone, Botswana.
Bessie Head who wrote novels, short fiction and autobiographical works and passed away in 1986 is usually considered Botswana’s most influential writer. Some of her best novels include When Rain Clouds Gather (1968), Maru (1971), and A Question of Power (1973).
The Bessie Head Literature Awards were founded in 2007 to help preserve Bessie Head’s legacy in Botswana and encourage the development of Botswana literature in various genres in English. The awards sponsored by Pentagon Publishers and administered by the Bessie Head Heritage Trust are given for best novel, short story, poetry and children’s story. The poetry and children’s story awards are bi-annual, the novel and short story awards are annual. Previous winners of the awards include Donald Molosi, Moreetsi Pius Gabang, and Lauri Kubuitsile.
This year the awards would be awarding a short story writer and winner was Caiphus Mangenela for his story A Mother Amongst The Stars. The event which was hosted in Botswana’s capital not only featured the prize giving ceremony. It included short story readings in remembrance of Bessie Head, and an open mic session. Doing the readings were newly minted writer Donald Molosi who recently launched his book We Are All Blue.
Here are a few images that were shared on social media from those who were at the ceremony on Sunday.
— Caiphus Mangenela (@Mrmangenela) September 18, 2016