Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was the guest of honour as the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2018 winners Zainab Alwi Baharoon and Jacob Ngumbau Julius were feted at the University of Dar es Salaam on February 15, 2019.
The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature was founded in 2014 by Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University) and Dr Lizzy Attree to recognise writing in African languages and encourage translation from, between and into African languages. The project is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills, Cornell University, East African Educational Publishers, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, and The Africa Poetry Fund.
The previous winners of the prize which hands out US$10,000 in prize money have been Ali Hilal Ali and Dotto Rangimoto (2017) and Idrissa Haji Abdalla, Hussein Wamaywa and Ahmed Hussein Ahmed (2016).
The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa prize 2018 winners were announced by the board chair, Abdilatif Abdalla on January 23. Zainab Alwi Baharoon was recognised for her fiction entry Mungu Hakopeshwi and Jacob Ngumbau Julius for his poetry entry Moto wa Kifuu. Both would be going home US$5,000 richer for their wins.
Like in previous years, the presentation of the winners was a glitzy affair with the University of Dar es Salaam being the host for this year. At the occasion were none other than the Vice President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan with four ministers including Dr Harrison Mwakyembe who is in charge of information culture, arts, and sports.