Kagiso Lesego Molope was announced the winner of the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award 2019 on October 15, 2019. Hassan Ghedi Santur and Sulaiman Addonia came second and third respectively.
Pius Adesanmi, was a Nigerian-born, Canada-based scholar who passed away tragically in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on March 10, 2019. In his honour, the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) established the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for an outstanding single-authored book focused on Africa and/or the global African world biennially, submitted by or on behalf of a scholar, activist, and/or artist. The books to be considered for the award covered any historical period and came from any discipline or combination of disciplines, published in English, French, Portuguese, or an African language.
The first edition of the prize was judged by a panel chaired by Dr Wangui wa Goro (Translator, Writer, Editor and Critic) alongside Tina Adomako (Publicist & Journalist), Professor Wangari Mwai (USIU-Africa), Prof Akinola Odebunmi, and Peter Wasamba, Professor of African Literature at the University of Nairobi.
This panel selected the six best books submitted for the prize and they were;
- Kagiso Lesego Molope, Such a Lonely, Lovely Road. Mawenzi House, 2018. (Fiction).
- Hasssan Ghedi Santur, Youth of God. Mawenzi House, 2019. (Fiction).
- Sulaiman Addonia, Silence is My Mother Tongue. Indigo Press, 2018. (Fiction).
- J Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Epistemic Freedom in Africa – Deprovincialization and Decolonization. Routledge, 2018. (Non-Fiction).
- Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells -West Africa From the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution. University of Chicago Press, 2019. (Non-Fiction).
- Femi Morgan, Renegade. The Baron’s Café, 2019. (Poetry).
The top three of these finalist six were announced on October 15 and they are Kagiso Lesego Molope who won the award followed by Hassan Ghedi Santur and Sulaiman Addonia.
The judges said about Molope’s Such a Lonely, Lovely Road: “It was an exquisite book, sensitively and cleverly crafted, and one that was hard to put down. A highly gifted writer to watch”.
“This is meaningful on so many levels – but mainly because Prof. Adesanmi inspired excellence in all of us,” said Molope on the win. “I’m truly honoured.”