Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature

The shortlisted manuscripts of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature have been announced today, Tuesday, January 10, 2022.

The Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature, formerly the Mabati-Cornell Prize, recognises writing in poetry and prose in the Kiswahili language. It is supported by Safal Group, through its subsidiaries Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya and ALAF Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation. Founded by Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University) and Dr Lizzy Attree, it has been conferred to Halfani Sudy, Moh’d Omar Juma, and Mbwana Kidato (2021), Lello Mmassy and Mohamed Songoro (2019), Zainab Alwi Baharoon and Jacob Ngumbau (2018), Ali Hilal Ali and Dotto Rangimoto (2017) and Idrissa Haji Abdalla and Hussein Wamaywa and Ahmed Hussein Ahmed (2016). In 2020, the prize took a hiatus.

The jury for 2022 is chaired by Prof F.E.M.K. Senkoro alongside Dr Magdaline Nakhumicha Wafula of Moi University, and Dr Hamisi Babusa of Kenyatta University, Kenya. Professa F.E.M.K. Senkoro also read and nominated the manuscripts for the 2022 competition.

They have today announced the shortlists and they are;

Fiction

  • Dunia na Watu Wake, Ahmad Simba Mwaita (Tanzania),
  • Wimbo wa Hatima, Isaac Ndolo (Kenya)
  • Ujanajike, Dotto Daudi Rangimoto (Tanzania)

Poetry

  • Mzoga Unaonukia, Lenard Mtesigwa (Tanzania)
  • Mamangu Nipe Wosia, Salum Makamba (Tanzania)
  • Uswahilini, Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania)

Prof F.E.M.K. Senkoro said that the receipt of a very large number of manuscripts of novels and poetry, from various parts of Africa, especially East Africa, is sufficient evidence that there is a great treasure of creativity, especially among young people, that transcends the boundaries of each country, and which if sprinkled with the basics of writing and publishing literary works will greatly strengthen Kiswahili literature.

“Many of the manuscripts that competed for the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in 2022 were so good that it made the judges’ work very difficult to decide which works should be awarded as first place winners. In fact, almost all the manuscripts reviewed by the judges deserved victory in one way or another, but since there must be a winner in this kind of competition, the judges unanimously decided on the names of the winners and from whom the winners will be announced,” added Professor F.E.M.K. Senkoro during the announcement.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on January 25, 2023. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will see winners in each category getting US$ 5,000 each while the runners-up each get US$2,500.