Zukiswa Wanner

Zukiswa Wanner, the first African woman to win the Goethe Medal, received her award in a virtual ceremony on Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s birthday, August 28, 2020.

The Goethe Medal was first awarded by the Goethe Institute in 1954 and recognized by the Federal Republic of Germany as an official badge of honour in 1975. Over 354 personalities from 67 countries have been conferred the honour, including Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Bourdieu, David Cornwell alias John le Carré, Sir Ernst Gombrich, Lars Gustafsson, Ágnes Heller, Petros Markaris, Sir Karl Raimund Popper, Jorge Semprún, Robert Wilson, Neil MacGregor, and Helen Wolff.

The winners of the 2020 medals, announced on April 28, are South African writer, publisher and curator Zukiswa Wanner; Bolivian artist and museum director Elvira Espejo Ayca; and the British writer Ian McEwan. Below is a feature on the South African on Deutsche Welle (DW) TV below;


The three recipients of the award were given their awards remotely in a ceremony hosted by the Goethe-Institut, in collaboration with broadcaster Deutsche Welle, this past Friday. Three renowned commentators paid tribute to the recipients: Barbara Göbel, an ethnologist and Director of the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin (Elvira Espejo Ayca), journalist and author Franziska Augstein (Ian McEwan), and writer Zoë Beck (Zukiswa Wanner). The ceremony was hosted by Deutsche Welle presenter Karin Helmstaedt.

Watch the whole ceremony below;