Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2022 winners

The winners of the Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2022 were announced in a ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa on March 31, 2022.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Awards are open to South African publishers, scholars based in South African universities and independent artists linked to universities. The awards honour ‘outstanding, innovative and socially responsive scholarship, creative as well as digital contributions that enhance and advance fields in the humanities and social sciences’ and ‘recognise and celebrate those members of the Humanities and Social Sciences community who are undertaking the necessary work of creating post-apartheid and postcolonial forms of scholarship, creative production, and digital humanities outputs.’ They are coordinated by South Africa’s National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The judging panels for this year’s literary categories, which we focus on here at, were for fiction and nonfiction. The fiction categories were chaired by Ms. Malika Ndlovu alongside Nhlanhla Maake (Independent), Nompumelelo Zondi (University of Pretoria), Sikhumbuzo Mngadi (University of Johannesburg), Mogomme Masoga (University of Zululand), Kgomotso Masemola (UNISA), and Andries Oliphant (Independent). The nonfiction categories had Prof Fred Hendricks chairing alongside Jessica Murray (UNISA), Michelle Williams (WITS), Sibongiseni Mkhize (South African State Theatre), Thoko Mnisi (University of Kwazulu Natal), Molly Brown (University of Pretoria), Nirmala Gopal (University of Kwazulu Natal), Mashupye Maserumule (Transvaal University of Technology), and Kishore Raga (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University).

The winners were revealed at an awards ceremony at the Javett Arts Centre (Javett-UP) in Pretoria on Friday evening.  Speaking about the awards Ms Ndlovu said, “The abundance, diversity and quality of this year’s submissions generated excitement and inspiration as each adjudicator shared their individual reading experience over recent months. Simultaneously this presented us with the rigorous work of collective re-evaluation and the inevitable eliminations phase. Our mutual respect for each other’s insights and opinions made for a deeply rewarding and productive process, with debates punctuated by laughter or reflective pauses. There was the cross-referencing of emerging themes, trends and historical tropes or social concerns being grappled with through poetry and the various narrative forms. There were moments of being intellectually stimulated, entertained, disturbed or deeply moved by these works which each adjudicator found some resonance with or where we spontaneously agreed that a work did not come close to the calibre of submissions we narrowed down to as potential winners.”

These are the literary categories awarded on the evening;


Best Non-Fiction Single Authored Monograph

  • Female Fear Factory, Pumla Dineo Gqola (Melinda Ferguson Books)
  • History of South Africa, Thula Simpson (Penguin Random House)

Best Non-Fiction Biography

  • Scatterling of Africa: My early years – Johnny Clegg (Pan Macmillan South Africa)

Best Non-Fiction Edited Volume

  • Ambivalent: Photography and Visibility in African History – Patricia Hayes and Gary Minkley (Jacana Media)

Best Non-Fiction Edited Volume

  • Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa – Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon (Wits University Press)


Best Fiction Novel

  • The Lost Language of the Soul – Mandla Langa (Pan Macmillan South Africa)
  • They Got To You Too – Futhi Ntshingila (Pan Macmillan South Africa)
  • Kompoun ‘n Roman – Ronelda Kamfer (Kwela, an Imprint of NB Publishers)

Best Fiction Edited Volume

  • Wild (Im)perfections – Natalia Molebatsi (Penguin Random House)
  • Haunting – Niq Mhlongo (Jacana Media)

Best Fiction Poetry

  • Ilifa – Athambile Masola (uHlanga Press)
  • Yellow Shade – Dimakatso Sedite (Deep South)

Best Fiction Short Stories

  • The Discovery of Love – Nthikeng Mohlele (Jacana Media)

Below are some sights of the evening courtesy of the event organisers;

Mandla Langa
Mandla Langa
Natalia Molebatsi
Natalia Molebatsi
Pumla Dineo Gqola
Pumla Dineo Gqola
NIHSS CEO Prof Sarah Mosoetsa
NIHSS CEO Prof Sarah Mosoetsa
Thulasizwe Simpson
Thulasizwe Simpson