Kenyan writer Kariuki wa Nyamu is the winner of the Babishai Haiku Prize 2017. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda on August 6, 2017.
The second edition of Babishai Haiku 2017 prize kicked off earlier in the year with a call out for submissions. African poets who had not published a full-length collection of poetry by July 2017 were asked to submit Africa themed haiku i.e. haiku about African sights and sounds. Their submissions would be judged by Adjei Agyei-Baah the co-founder of the Africa Haiku Network, Mercy Ikuri a landscape designer and award-winning haikuist and Emmanuel Kalusian, editor of the Mamba Journal. The shortlist of those in the running announced in July included some of the finest young practitioners of this format that was introduced to the world by the Japanese.
On the night of Sunday August 6, the award-giving ceremony of the Babishai haiku prize 2017 part of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival 2017, was hosted with Kenyan Kariuki wa Nyamu emerging the winner for this Haiku.
last night’s rain
in the morning mud
fresh toad prints
Speaking about the prize Adjei Agyei-Baah the chair of the prize said, “The general acceptance that a ‘good’ haiku is born out of a close observation is clearly demonstrated in this haiku. As a persnickety fellow concerned with “little things” and its role in nature was drawn to this haiku by its mere fact of familiarity and yet revealing something unfamiliar. This ku actually connects so well with me as a village boy who used to play with other kids in the mud after rainfall, and had always been fascinated by the footprints we left in the mud, or the ones left by others, and even that of little animals, especially on our way to the farm. But the simple question that unmindful person may ask is, “what after all is remarkable about these footprints, when they are not even of humans but of little animals? And the haikuist will answer: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make a big revelation.” Hence the mud prints we leave today become the harden spots for others to travel by tomorrow! Or simply as a way to telling others that we were once HERE! In fact, these are the footprint of wisdom, aside its structural details, that the haikuist left on my mind and hence commends it for the top spot position.”
After the ceremony, the writer would go on his social media platforms posting on Facebook, “I’m ecstatic about this! Thanks Babishai and the panel of judges for the sound criticism. Congrats all shortlisted poets! We’re all winners. Let’s keep on writing. Glory to God!”
Coming second and third in the competition were Nigerian Anthony Itopa Obaro and Ghanaian Kuadegbeku Pamela.
Read more of the Haikus and opinions on their submissions here.