Call For Submissions For The 2023 Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize For African Literature

Nairobi, Kenya, 23 March 2023… The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has today announced the call for submissions of manuscripts for its 8th edition. The prize, formerly knowns as The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature re-branded its name to reflect the parent organization and main sponsor, the Safal Group Limited, with its member companies Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) in Kenya and ALAF (ALAF) in Tanzania.  The Safal Group is Africa’s largest supplier of building solutions in 8 countries.

The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

Over the last seven years, Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has supported Kiswahili authors whose manuscripts have been published with others in the pipeline of being published. In 2021, for its 7th edition, 263 manuscripts were submitted.

The Safal-Cornel Kiswahili Prize emulates Safal Group’s strong support for education and its impact in supporting African literature. In January this year, the winners of the 2022 Awards were unveiled at a special ceremony in Dar es salaam where His Excellency Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honor.

This year, the overall prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels. As from 2022, previously published books will not be considered. The total proposed awards of 15,000 USD will be divided as follows: The top Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize will be awarded 5,000 USD; top Poetry Prize will be awarded a similar amount of 5,000 USD while the two Runner-up Prizes will be awarded 2,500 USD each in any of the genres written.

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), who will then work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. An award ceremony will be held in January 2024 with all the shortlisted writers in attendance.

 

Submission Guidelines:

Please send unpublished manuscripts (fiction, poetry, collections of short stories, and memoir, or graphic novels) to:  kiswahiliprize@cornell.edu. Submissions close on June 30, 2023. For more information, please visit https://kiswahiliprize.cornell.edu our Kiswahili and English bilingual website.

 

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.

Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize For African Literature

Friday, January 13, 2023… The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has today announced the 2022 shortlisted manuscripts, that have made it to the finals of the competition.

The Prize is supported by Safal Group, through its member companies Mabati Rolling Mills in  Kenya, and ALAF in Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

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 chairman of this year’s judges panel, Professor F.E.M.K. Senkoro, when giving the decision of the judges, said that the receipt of a very large number of manuscripts of novels and poetry, from various parts of Africa, especially East Africa, 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.

“Many of the manuscripts that competed for the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in 2022 were so good that it made the judges’ work very difficult to decide which works should be awarded as first place winners. In fact, almost all the manuscripts reviewed by the judges deserved victory in one way or another, but since there must be a winner in this kind of competition, the judges unanimously decided on the names of the  shortlisted and from which the winners will be announced,” added Professor F.E.M.K. Senkoro during the announcement.

Other judges who joined Professor F.E.M.K. Senkoro in reading and nominating the manuscripts for the 2022 competition were Dr. Magdaline Nakhumicha Wafula of Moi University, and Dr. Hamisi Babusa of Kenyatta University, Kenya.

 

The shortlisted works and authors are:

Dunia na Watu Wake – Ahmad Simba Mwaita (Tanzania), Wimbo wa Hatima – Isaac Ndolo (Kenya) and Ujanajike – Dotto Daudi Rangimoto (Tanzania) in the Fiction Category

Mzoga Unaonukia – Lenard Mtesigwa (Tanzania) Mamangu Nipe Wosia – Salum Makamba (Tanzania) and Uswahilini – Ally Bakari Mchanyato (Tanzania) for the Poetry Category.

 

Isaac Ndolo, is the first Kenyan to make it to the shortlist since 2020. His shortlisted manuscript falls under the Fiction category of the competition.

Overall winners will be announced at the awards ceremony slated for January 25, 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Kiswahili Prize Award Criteria: The prize will be awarded to the best unpublished manuscript the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will be divided as follows:

1st Fiction/Non-fiction prize – USD 5,000

1st Poetry prize – USD 5,000

Runner-up Prize any genre– USD 2,500

 

In addition to the prizes, winning entries will also be considered for publication by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers in Tanzania while the winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund.

Promoting The Kiswahili Language

By Anthony Ng’ang’a, Group Marketing, Communications and External Affairs Officer at Safal Group

I am trying to jumpstart my Kiswahili sanifu after many years of disuse. When I left high school 31 years ago, Kiswahili sanifu and I went our separate ways.  Occasions to engage in proper Kiswahili dropped dramatically since most of the Kiswahili spoken in social settings in Kenya is far from sanifu.

Fast forward to 2019, I joined the Safal Group, Africa’s Largest Building Solutions provider and the main sponsor of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature (formerly The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature).

To celebrate the winning writers, we host an awards ceremony annually where I get to make a short address in my halting Kiswahili. Needless to say, whenever I am called upon to speak, I am filled with anxiety lest my little msamiati (grammar) takes flight while I am on stage.

In my quest to rekindle my Kiswahili, I have started reading Kiswahili books, and no better place to start than from our own crop of winning writers. I picked Mungu Hakopeshwi by Zainab Balwi Baharoon; this book won the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature fiction category in 2018 and was later published in 2019.

Mungu Hakopeshwi, is a story about a certain Bwana Ahmed who prevails over his family and businesses with an iron fist. He is the alpha and omega, and nobody dares breathe without his permission. From the outside, everyone admires his family. From the inside, there is severe strife, and things slowly fall apart in a tragic way.

My interest in this book was sparked after meeting the author earlier this year in Dar es Salaam at the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize 6th edition Award Ceremony.

The book did take a while to read since I was very rusty not having read any extensive Kiswahili literature for over 30 years. To boot, it is written in Tanzanian Kiswahili which is a lot richer. Thankfully, with a kamusi in hand I completed it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kiswahili is one of the most spoken languages in Africa and has also been adopted as one of the official working Languages of the African Union. We should strive to make it the language of conversation amongst all Africans.

At Safal Group, one of our Corporate Social Investment pillars is Education. With the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature initiative, we aim to promote Kiswahili by supporting and nurturing the next generation of African writers of Kiswahili literature.

Over the last six years, the prize has recognized 18 Kiswahili authors for their manuscripts. 264 manuscripts were submitted in the 7th edition this year and the shortlisted manuscripts to be announced later this year.

Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature is a steppingstone towards making Kiswahili desirable and fun. We would like to discover the next Jeff Kinney or J. K. Rowling of Kiswahili literature.

 

The 2022 Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature Announced

The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has today announced the call for submissions of manuscripts for its 7th edition. The prize, formerly knowns as The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for Africa Literature recently rebranded its name to reflect the parent organization and main sponsor, the Safal Group Limited, which is the largest supplier of building solutions in Africa with 36 operations in 8 countries.

The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Dr. Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

“Our objective is to promote the Kiswahili language through our education pillar in supporting African literature, we hope to receive a lot more submissions from Kenyan writers for the 7th edition, as we aim to nurture future writers to excel in this field,” said Mr. Anders Lindgren, CEO SAFAL Group.

Over the last six years, the Mabati-Cornel Kiswahili Prize, now Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature has supported Kiswahili authors whose manuscripts have been published with others in the pipeline of getting published. In 2021, for its 6th edition, 256 manuscripts were submitted with 80 Kenyan writers participating in the Kiswahili Awards competition.

The Safal-Cornel Kiswahili Prize emulates Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM’s) strong support for education and its impact in supporting African literature. In January this year, the winners of the 2021 Awards were unveiled at a special ceremony in Dar es salaam where HE. Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honor.

This year, the overall prize will be awarded to unpublished manuscripts across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels. As from 2022, previously published books will not be considered. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will be divided as follows: The top Fiction/Non-Fiction Prize will scoop a total reward of 5,000 US dollars. The top Poetry Prize will also be rewarded a similar amount of 5,000 US dollars. The two Runner-up Prizes will both be rewarded with 2,500 US dollars in any of the genres written.

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Kiswahili by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers (Tanzania), who will then work with other regional publishers and book distributors to ensure maximum reach for the winning books. The winning poetry will be translated to English and published by the Africa Poetry Book Fund. An award ceremony will be held in Tanzania with all the shortlisted writers in attendance.

Submission Guidelines:

Please send unpublished manuscripts (fiction, poetry, collections of short stories, and memoir, or graphic novels) to,  kiswahiliprize@cornell.edu. Submissions close on June 30, 2022. For more information, please visit https://kiswahiliprize.cornell.edu our Kiswahili and English bilingual website.

Notes to Editors

The Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature is supported by Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) in Kenya & ALAF in Tanzania (both members of the SAFAL Group), the Office of the Vice Provost of International Affairs at Cornell University, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation.

Mabati Rolling Mills Limited (MRM), is a member of Safal Group of Companies and Africa’s pioneer manufacturer of coated steel using some of the most advanced technologies available worldwide.

In Kenya, MRM is the leading manufacturer of building solutions and takes pride in offering top-of the range industry leading building solutions. Their range of products cater for the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.  With a great legacy and a history spanning 60 years, MRM’s continued focus on the customer, provision of total building solutions and development of innovative products has resulted in their market leadership in Kenya.

Mkuki na Nyota Publishers is an independent, vibrant Tanzanian imprint publishing relevant, progressive, liberating, affordable and entertaining content.  Established in 1991, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers emerged in response to the general absence of high quality, independent publishing in Tanzania. Its mission statement is to publish, “Relevant Books, Affordable Books, and Beautiful Books.” They have successfully published 2017 poetry winner Dotto Rangimoto’s Mwanangu Rudi Nyumbani (December 2018) and Ali Hilal Ali’s novel Mmeza Fupa (January 2019). http://www.mkukinanyota.com

Four Winners of the 2021 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature unveiled

Dar es Salaam, January 27, 2022 Four winners of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2021 were unveiled at a special ceremony today at the Milimani City Conference Center in Dar es Salaam, where His Excellency Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honour.

 

The winners were announced by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Abdilatif Abdalla. Other key guests included Mr. Anders Lindgren the SAFAL Group CEO, Hon. Mohammed Omar Mchengerwa (MP) the Minister of Art, Culture & Sports and Hon. Amos Makalla the Regional Commissioner of Dar es Salaam.

 

The Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize was founded in 2014 by Dr. Lizzy Attree (Short Story Day Africa) and Professor Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University) with the goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

 

Winners:

  1. Halfani Sudy: Kirusi Kipya (New Virus) – Fiction Category winner
  2. Mohammed Omar Juma: Chemichemi Jangwani (Water Spring in the Desert) – Poetry category winner
  3. Lucas Lubago: Bweni la Wasichana (The Girls’ Dormitory) – Fiction Category, 2nd place winner

 

Mbwana Kidato: Sinaubi – Runner’s Up Prize (any other category)

“Mr. Kidato’s work presents a new form of writing. While it is creative, it is neither a novel, nor a play. In it, you will find prose writing (as in a novel) and then there are interactions and dialogue between the characters (like in a play). That is why we gave this work a special place among the winners,” said the judges during the event.

 

The winners in each category received USD 5,000 while the runner’s up category received USD 2,500 dollars.

 

Judges for the 2022 Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize included:

Professor Aldin K. Mutembei, Dr. Salma Omar Hamad and Dr. Joseph N. Maitaria,

 

Other shortlisted writers:

  1. Hafidh Athumani Kido: Kanzu ya Ukubwa (The Robe of Greatness) – Fiction Category
  2. Msusa Mohamedi Msusa: Malenga wa Masasi (A Poet from Masasi) – Poetry Category
  3. Mfaume Hamisi Mfaume: Sinaye Baba (I Have no Father) – Poetry Category

 

Both the winners and their fellow shortlisted writers were in attendance during the award giving ceremony today.

 

Over the last five years, the Mabati-Cornel Kiswahili Prize has supported eight authors whose manuscripts have been published and nine others are in progress of getting published as well.