Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel Le Danse du Vilain was declared the winner of Le Prix Les Afriques 2021 on Friday, December 10, 2021.
Prix Les Afriques is awarded annually to an African or writer of African descent who has written fiction highlighting a human, societal, ideological, political, cultural, economic or historical issue related to Africa or its diaspora. Prix Les Afriques, created by the Swiss lawyer Ngoãn Beti founded association La Cene Littéraire in 2015, gives exposure to African authors and authors of African descent. It has been won previously by Ayobami Adebayo (2020), Elnathan John (2019), Kei Miller (2018), Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin (2017) and Hemley Boum (2016).
The Reading Committee for Prix Les Afriques 2021, presided over by Heloise Haden (Togo/France), was made up of Philippe Bonvin (Switzerland), Jessica Ratanga (Gabon/Luxemburg), Cedric Moussavou (Gabon/France), Elisabeth Mpina (Cameroon/France), Blaise Samaki (Cameroon), Alain Atouba Foti (Cameroon/France), and Natacha Pemba (Congo/Canada). Their role ended when they announced the shortlist on October 11.
The jury chaired by Prof Ambroise Kom included Boubacar Boris DIOP (novelist, professor of literature), Koulsy Lamko (novelist, professor of literature), Bourahima Ouattara (writer and professor of literature), Sada Kane (journalist, literary critic, literary promoter), Alphoncine Bouya (short story writer, novelist, former senior United Nations official). They revealed the winner to be Le Danse du Vilain by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Editions Métailié.
In the award-winning novel Fiston Mwanza Mujila evokes “mainly the themes of inter-African migration, the artisanal exploitation of the riches of their subsoil by Africans and its corollary as well as the constant deterioration of their living conditions”.
It talks about “the growing gap between the African population and its political class which is the only one to enrich itself”. Fiston Mwanza Mujila also questions in his novel the so-called joviality of Africans in general and of the Congolese in particular, by summoning through his characters, the history of personal and collective tragedies that hide behind a laugh or the frenzied rhythm of a dance… in this case that of the “villain”. Hence this question: “The rhythm and the party to exorcise the villainy of life? “
Mujila said on his win, “I would like to thank the linchpin of this literary institution, like the members of the jury, for the attention paid to this novel. I would like to thank my Publishing House, Métailié – as well as my literary agency Pontas for the road traveled. I would like to thank Lise Belperron, my reader – “what an adventure, dear friend!” I would like to thank Filip de Boeck, Sayaka Osaki, Jean Bofane — my old man — for the kindness during the through this text Congratulations to the writers of the 2021 shortlist Thank you to everyone Vielen Dank!”
Mujila gets a cash prize of 6,000 Swiss Francs, a work of art worth 3,500 Swiss Francs offered by Senegalese painter Momar Seck, and 100 books bought from the publisher.