Zukiswa Wanner, Penny Busetto, Opeyemi Lawal, Dr Wandia Njoya and Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Zukiswa Wanner, Penny Busetto, Opeyemi Lawal, Dr Wandia Njoya and Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Zukiswa Wanner, Penny Busetto, Opeyemi Lawal, Dr Wandia Njoya and Fiston Mwanza Mujila

Etisalat Prize 2015 winner Fiston Mwanza Mujila and shortlistee Penny Busetto dazzled as they featured at a variety of Nairobi spaces Etisalat Prize 2015 Nairobi tour. They included Daystar and Nairobi Universities, the Goethe Institute and the party on Saturday at Pawa 254.

One of the coolest of the events was at the Goethe Institut, Nairobi on 15th June 2016 which featured winner Fiston on a panel alongside writer Oduor Jagero moderated by Zukiswa Wanner. There was a very healthy crowd at the Goethe Institut in Nairobi on Wednesday for the evening event for second event of the Etisalat Prize 2016 Nairobi after a well-received showing at the University.

While the first event was about the prize participants who were in town, this one was billed as, “what does it take to write a prize winning book.” Initially the plan was to pair the prize winner Fiston Mwanza Mujila who won the Etisalat Prize for last year with Jomo Kenyatta Prize winner Stanley Gazemba. Unfortunately, Gazemba was unable to make it and was replaced with Jagero Oduor whose sophomoric book is Ghosts of 1894 (read an except here). His debut novel was True Citizen.

Fiston, who hilariously had to take a boda boda (motorcycle taxis) to beat the crushing Nairobi traffic, is a French speaker who understands English, had a translator to help him should he have a problem getting the word out to us. With this he would read from the original French translation and the translator would do the English.

The thing that quickly emerged from the experience was that Fiston is a performer of note. He was able to perform poetry as well as read his writing in a very expressive manner; this is one of the best readers of their work I’ve heard in a long while.

Also making his mark was Jagero who gave his motivations for writing his book which focuses on characters and their involvement in the Rwanda genocide. He also gave his opinion on how those who lived in Rwanda went down their route and why we need to watch out in Kenya as we head out to our elections. The words that are being said by the leaders were the ones that were being used to inflame.

You can see some more images from that event here.

The next day 16th June the team was over at the Daystar University where Fiston, Penny and Zukiswa Wanner were moderated by Prof Mike Kuria. It was a festive affair with students from both Daystar University led by Dr Wandia Njoya who also acted as Fiston’s translator and Machakos University led by Dr Larry Ndivo.

You can see more images from that event here.

The highlight of the whole shebang happened at the rooftop of Pawa254 the venue many cultural events are heading to in Nairobi nowadays. That event included poetry presentations by Clifton Gachagua and Ngwatilo Mawiyoo. This was followed by a panel featuring Fiston and Penny moderated by Jalada stalwart Richard Oduor Oduku. The evening was closed out by a performance by Barbara Guantai. Ensuring that the programme ran smoothly was the emcee, Abigail Arunga.