Announcement of 2022 winners

Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania… The winners of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2022 were awarded by His Excellency Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania at a special ceremony at the Mlimani City Conference Center in Dar es Salaam, on January 25, 2023.


Safal Group, through its subsidiaries Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya (MRM) and ALAF Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, USA, and the Ngugi WA Thiong’o Foundation sponsor the Prize.


The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature was founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree and Dr. Mukoma WA Ngugi to recognize writing in African languages and encourage  translation from, between, and into African languages.


The 2022 judges; Prof F.E.M.K. Senkoro (chair, Professor Emeritus), Dr. Magdaline Nakhumicha Wafula (Moi University, Kenya), and Dr. Hamisi Babusa (Kenyatta University, Kenya) selected Dotto Daudi Rangimoto’s novel Ujanajike (Womanhood), as the winner in the Fiction category, and Salum Makamba’s poetry collection Mamangu Nipe Wosia (Mother, Counsel me) as the winner in the Poetry category. They both received prize money of US $5,000 Dollars each.

Dotto Rangimoto was born in Morogoro, Tanzania, in 1986. He won the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize in 2017, and Mkuki Na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, subsequently published his winning manuscript, Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani. 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.

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.

In his speech, the Prime Minister His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa congratulated the winners and praised the management of the Prize, its board, and the sponsors, led by Safal Group, for their important work in promoting literature in African languages, particularly Kiswahili.

The CEO of Safal Group, Mr. Andrew Lindgren, also spoke at the ceremony and highlighted the importance of the Kiswahili language in the development of the East African region. “Through our support of these awards, The Safal Group is firmly committed to the course of African languages. I commend ALAF Limited and MRM for organizing the award ceremony each year.”

On behalf of the panel of judges, Prof Senkoro (chair) commended the 2021 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.

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 andmade the award ceremonies a day of great joy in the lives of those who are lucky enough to win.”

He also emphasized on awakening the spirit of scholars in Tanzania and elsewhere to start promoting the Kiswahili language in science and technology. “There are scholars who are already focused on doing that. What they need is for their work to be recognized and used,” he added.

The second-place winner in the Fiction category was Isaac Ndolo (Kenya) for his manuscript Wimbo wa Hatima (The Final Song), and in the Poetry category was Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania) for his manuscript Uswahilini. Each received 2,500 USD.

The winning manuscripts are published by Mkuki na Nyota publishers.

As earlier announced, other shortlisted works and authors were Dunia na Watu Wake by Ahmad Simba Mwaita and Mzoga Unaonukia by Lenard Mtesigwa both from Tanzania.

Both the winners and their fellow shortlisted attended the award giving      ceremony in Dar es Salaam.

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