Kendeka Prize for African Literature 2021 winners announced

Jenny Robson, Fatima Okhousami, and Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe, are the winners of the Kendeka Prize for African Literature 2021. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Thika, Kenya on Saturday, September 25, 2021.

Kendeka Prize for African Literature is an initiative by Andrew Maina, a Kenyan writer through Solano Publications Limited. It aims at encouraging Africans to write and read more.

The judging panel for 2021 is chaired by Lucas Wafula, a Kenyan, the Editor-in-chief, and CEO, Booklyst Press Limited. He is also a Director and Lead Facilitator at Global Editorial Centre-KE. Also on the panel is Edwige Renée Dro, a writer, a literary translator and a literary activist from Côte d’Ivoire. The third judge is Remy Ngamije, a Rwandan-born Namibian writer and photographer, the founder, and the administrator of Doek. He won the Africa Regional Prize of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing in 2020 and 2021.

The longlist for the prize from entries from 23 African countries was announced on September 1 before the shortlist was revealed on September 15. The top three at the prize are;

First Prize

Jenny Robson (Botswana), Water For Wine (Cash prize: Kshs 100,000)

Jenny Robson
Jenny Robson

Jenny Robson was born in South Africa in 1952, but has lived most of her adult life in Botswana where she works as a music teacher. Much of her writing is for children and young people. To date, she has eleven YA novels published. One of these novels, Because Pula Means Rain, was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Youth Literature the Service of Tolerance.

Jenny also writes short stories for adults and her work has been published in magazines both locally and abroad. Some of her work has been translated into other languages including Kiswahili, German, Spanish and Korean.

Her stories and novels are set always, firmly and with love, in Afrika.

Second Prize

Fatima Okhousami (Nigeria), The Women of Atinga House (Cash Prize: Kshs 50,000)

Fatima Okhousami
Fatima Okhousami

Fatima Okhuosami is a pharmacist and avid consumer of literature and global politics. Some of her poems and short stories are published online / in-print at: The Kalahari Review, Chillfiltr Review, Jalada Africa, Everyday Fiction, Agbowo press, 101words.org, Third Word Press, Kreative Diadem, Flash: The International Short Story Magazine, Itanile magazine, etc.

She was a runner-up of the December 2020 Collins Elesiro literary prize. She is a graduate of the 2019 International Writing Programme Lines and Spaces Tour held at Abuja, Nigeria.

Third Prize

Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe (Nigeria), Au Pair. (Cash Prize: 25,000)

Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe
Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe

Okpanachi Irene Ojochegbe is content writer and graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, with a B.sc degree in Sociology. When not writing content, she loves to write, sing, listen to music draw, eat (yes, she a HUGE foodie), play video games, and watch movies.