The winners of one of South Africa’s more trust awards, The South Africa Literary Awards aka The Sala were announced on Friday evening. The event which has been running from 2005 to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa has unveiled the following winners;
- First Time Published author award – Claire Robertson, The Spiral House (English, Umuzi Publishers)
- Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award – Makhosazana Xaba, Running and Other Stories (English, Modjaji books) and Reneilwe Malatji, Love Interrupted (English, Modjaji Books)
- K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award – Jamala Safari, The Great Agony and Pure laughter of the Gods (English, Umuzi Publishing)
- Literary translator award – Nhlanhla Maake, Malefane (Sesotho/English, Ekaam Books)
- Poetry award – Thandi Sliepen, The Turtle Dove Told Me (English, Modjaji Books)
and Themba Patrick Magaisa, Mihloti ya Tingana (Xitsonga, published by TP Magaisa)
- Creative non-fiction award – Sihle Khumalo, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu (English, Umuzi Publishers)
- Posthumous literary award – Mbulelo Vizikhungo
- Lifetime achievement – Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele
The awards are run by thr wRite associates and the Department of Arts and Culture. Looking keenly at the awards and you note that the South Africans give an award to a dead person. The posthumous literary award which was won by Mbulelo Vizikhungo is concerning to people like me as your first qualification is that you are dead.
Another note is that it seems that the people who you want to send your manuscript is Modjaji books as three of their writers won awards this year; Makhosazana Xaba, Reneilwe Malatji and Thandi Sliepen. If I recall correctly two of their writers were also on the shortlist for the Etisalat Prize for African literature last year.
Also interest is that the awards incorporate local languages which we don’t see too much of where awards are concerned on this continent. So you see an award for translation to Sesotho to English as well as award for languages like Xitsonga underlining that South Africans have eleven official languages.
The award that pleased me the most had to be Sihle Khumalo’s Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu which he describes his experience travelling through West Africa. It was the first award for the author who has two other books and I can only surmise that he finally accepted to pay his dues to the Illuminati so that he could get this gong.