The winners of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature were announced in a ceremony in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on January 25, 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 won by 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 was chaired by Prof F.E.M.K. Senkoro of the University from Dar es Salaam 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. The shortlist for the year was announced on January 10 before the winners were awarded by Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania at a ceremony at the Mlimani City Conference Center in Dar es Salaam.
Prof Senkoro (chair) commended the 2022 entrants for the high quality of their writing, saying that it made it very difficult for the judges to pick out the first-place winners.
“This is sufficient evidence that we have 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,” added Prof Senkoro.
The winners are,
- Ujanajike, Dotto Daudi Rangimoto (Tanzania) (US$5,000)
Dotto Rangimoto won the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize in 2017, and his winning manuscript, Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani, was subsequently published by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam. Dotto completed his secondary education in 2004 at Morogoro Secondary School. Thereafter he has been involved in small enterprise business and farming. He is a great enthusiast of Kiswahili Literature, especially novels and poetry.
- Isaac Ndolo (Kenya), Wimbo wa Hatima (US$2,500)
- Mamangu Nipe Wosia, Salum Makamba (Tanzania) (US$5,000)
Salum Makamba is a young writer from Tanzania. In addition to novels, he writes short stories, poems, fiction, essays and articles on various social issues. Salum trained as a medical doctor from the University of Dar es Salaam.
- Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania), Uswahilini. (US$2,500)
Mr. Walter Bgoya of the Mkuki and Nyota Publishers, the official publisher of the winning manuscripts, said, “The Safal-Cornell Award has raised talented writers in the field of literature since it was established in 2014, and there is no doubt that it has given writers inspiration and made the award ceremonies a day of great joy in the lives of those who are lucky enough to win.”