Announcement of 2023 Winners

Friday 9th February 2024, Nairobi, Kenya… The winners of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2023 were awarded by Dr Caroline Asiimwe, Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) at a special ceremony at the Movenpick Residences in Westlands.

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

The 2023 judges; Prof Kyallo W. Wamitila of the University of Nairobi, Dr Zuhura Badru of the University of Dodoma and Mr Ali Mwalim Rashid of the State University of Zanzibar, selected Philipo Oyaro’s novel Dunia Duara (The Earth is Round), as the winner in the Fiction category, and Fatuma Salim’s poetry collection Changa La Macho (Sand in the Eyes) as the winner in the Poetry category. They both received prize money of US $5,000 Dollars each. This is the first time a woman has won in the poetry category.

Dunia Duara (The Earth is Round) is a crime detective story that employs technology in unravelling crimes; it has credible characters, powerful descriptive language and makes effective use of suspense.

The need to create a new, just society is a dominant theme in the anthology Changa La Macho (Sand in the Eyes), that employs multiple poetic personas, visual and figurative language. A good fusion of form and content.

In her speech, Dr Asiimwe 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. Anders 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 the SAFAL-MRM Foundation for organising the awards this year.”

On behalf of the panel of judges, Prof Wamitila (chair) commended the 2023 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 Wamatila.

Mr. Walter Bgoya of Mkuki na 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 and made the award ceremonies a day of great joy in the lives of those who are lucky enough to win.”

The second-place winner in the Fiction category was Ahmad Simba (Tanzania) for his manuscript Safari Ya Maisha (The Journey of a Lifetime), and in the Poetry category was Lenard Mtesigwa (Tanzania) for his manuscript Ndani Ya Subira Kichwangomba. Each received 2,500 USD. Both were previously shortlisted in 2022 for different manuscripts.

Safari Ya Maisha (The Journey of a Lifetime) is an aesthetically appealing story with a well-crafted plot. The narration is captivating and enchanting; the reader easily visualizes the images of contemporary life and its challenges like family and local rivalries, crime and racial bigotry.

The anthology Ndani Ya Subira Kichwangomba, is striking because of its diversity of structural forms, figurative language and tone that fuses well with various topics discussed.

As earlier announced, other shortlisted works and authors were: Salome Anaishi by Nicholas Ogal, and Ushairi Wa Maisha Ya Kesho by John Karithi both from Kenya.

Two Short story collections were also shortlisted, Mtoto Wa Mama Na Hadithi Nyingine by Edwin Omindo (Kenya) and Koti La Karani Na Hadithi Nyingine by Stallone Joyfully (Tanzania).


The winners and their fellow shortlistees were in attendance during the award giving ceremony in Nairobi.

The Prize-winning works and authors are:


1st Prize – Philipo Oyaro – Dunia Duara (Tanzania) $5,000

2nd Prize – Ahmad Simba – Safari Ya Maisha (Tanzania) $2,500


1st Prize – Fatuma Salim – Changa La Macho (Tanzania) $5,000

2nd Prize – Lenard Mtesigwa – Ndani Ya Subira Kichwangomba (Tanzania) $2,500


Runners Up

Fiction: Nicholas Ogal – Salome Anaishi (Kenya)

Poetry: John Karithi – Ushairi Wa Maisha Ya Kesho (Kenya)

Short story collections

Edwin Omindo – Mtoto Wa Mama Na Hadithi Nyingine (Kenya)

Stallone Joyfully – Koti La Karani Na Hadithi Nyingine (Tanzania)


Notes to Editors

Kiswahili Prize Award Criteria: The prize is awarded to the best unpublished manuscript the categories of fiction, poetry and memoir, and graphic novels.

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.

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 Safal Group (which include Mabati Rolling Mills Ltd of Kenya and ALAF Limited in Tanzania) is the largest producer of Steel Roofing on the African continent with 36 operations in 12 countries.

Mabati Rolling Mills Ltd (MRM) is a member of the Safal Group and is the largest supplier of Building Solutions in Kenya. Established more than 60 years ago, the company is a leading innovator offering top-of the range products catering for residential, commercial and industrial sectors. MRM’s brands like DUMUZAS ™, RESINCOT ™, VERSATILE™, LIFESTILE™, COVERMAX™, ULTRA-SPAN™ and SAFLOCK700™ are household names that are known and trusted by millions of consumers.

The Safal MRM Foundation, based in Mariakani Kenya, is the CSR arm of Mabati Rolling Mills. The Foundation’s mission is alleviation of human suffering and empowerment of communities to better their lives. The Foundation’s programs focus on Education, Health, Shelter and the Environment.

ALAF Limited (ALAF) is Tanzania’s leading steel roofing manufacturer. Established in 1960, ALAF has always, and continues to be, a key player in the development of the country’s construction sector. ALAF is a fully integrated operation, not only making steel roofing, but also producing the metal coated coils used by these roofing operations. ALAF manufactures metal tubing and piping for various applications.

The Africana Studies and Research Center enriches the academic, cultural, and social environments on the Cornell University Ithaca campus. Website:

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 winning titles of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature.

The Africa Poetry Fund promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts through its book series, contests, workshops, and seminars and through its collaborations with publishers, festivals, booking agents, colleges, universities, conferences and all other entities that share an interest in the poetic arts of Africa. Website:

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o Foundation is powered by the interest and passion to raise the visibility of African Languages in Kenya, Africa and the world, as vehicles for performance, creativity, innovations, and scholarship. It sees African languages as the new intellectual frontier in everything from culture, biological sciences, technology and medicine.

Board of Trustees: Abdilatif Abdalla (Chair), Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Lizzy Attree, Walter Bgoya, Sarit Shah, Anthony Ng’ang’a, Henry Chakava, Chege Githiora, Clarissa Vierke, Farouk Topan, Carole Boyce Davies, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

Director: Munyao Kilolo.


Twitter Handle: @KiswahiliPrize

Instagram: @thekiswahiliprize

Facebook Page:

Contact information: Munyao Kilolo, Lizzy Attree, Mukoma wa Ngugi –


Denish Ochieng, Enos Teche, Abu Mburu win at the 5th Edition of Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition Awards

Nairobi, December 8, 2023 – Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM), a leading manufacturer of Building Solutions and member of the Safal Group®, announced winners of the 2023 Safal Eye in the Wild competition at an award ceremony held at the Norfolk Hotel. Denish Ochieng, Enos Teche, and Abu Mburu won positions 1,2,3 respectively and Vincent Chepkwony won the People’s Choice Award voted by the public.

The esteemed panel of judges, comprised of experts in photography and environmental conservation, faced the challenging task of selecting winners from the numerous impressive entries. The Gold, Silver, Bronze and People’s Choice award winners were revealed during the ceremony, each receiving generous cash prizes of USD 3,000, USD 2,000, USD 1,000 and USD 500 respectively.

The Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition, which ran from July 28 to October 15, 2023, received an overwhelming response from photographers, both professional and amateur, across Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. This year’s theme of, “Drought in Focus,” inspired participants to capture powerful images that depict the harsh realities and the resilience of communities facing the devastating impact of drought in Africa.

The award ceremony honored the exceptional talent and creativity showcased by the participants. Distinguished guests, industry leaders, environmentalists, and photography enthusiasts gathered to recognize and applaud the winning photographers who skillfully conveyed the urgent need for environmental conservation and sustainable solutions.

Anders Lindgren, Safal Group CEO, expressed his pleasant view of this year’s competition, stating, “The Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition has not only grown in scope but has also become a powerful platform for driving conversations around environmental conservation. Today, we are celebrating those who have used their art to inspire change and raise awareness about the impact of drought on communities.”

Sarit Shah, Chairman of the Safal MRM Foundation, remarked, “We are proud to witness the impact that this competition has had in fostering a sense of responsibility towards environmental conservation. The award ceremony is not only a celebration of talent but also a call to action, urging all of us to continue working towards a sustainable future.”

In the powerful transformational story behind the winning photograph, the winner, Denish committed to empowering a retired forester, Dabaso Kantoma Sora  in Northern Kenya who plants indigenous, drought resisting trees in the North Horr town at the edge of Chalbi desert.  The Safal Group in addition generously committed to supporting Dabaso’s transformative journey by contributing Kshs 200,000.

The Chief Guest, Dickson Ritan, the Deputy Director, Parks and Reserves, Kenya Wildlife Services lauded the initiative as one that continues to support environmental conservation at a critical time when national disasters such as drought have affected Kenya.

The ceremony showcased highlights from the submitted photographs, providing a visual narrative of the competition’s journey and the stories captured through the lenses of talented photographers.

For more information about the Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition and to view the winning entries, please visit

Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition Extends Submission Deadline to October 15th 2023

The Safal Group has announced an extension of the submission deadline for the Safal Eye in the Wild (SEIW) photography competition deadline to Sunday, October 15, 2023. The decision aims to provide photographers with additional time to craft impactful and thought-provoking entries that highlight this year’s theme of “Drought in Focus”.

Submissions were scheduled to close on September 15th but, due to increased demand and requests from photographers, the organizers have granted a four-week extension. This extension provides photographers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the subject matter, explore new angles, and capture the essence of the chosen environmental theme.

Photographers, both amateur and professional, are encouraged to submit their work, photographs showcasing the broad aspect of drought, its impact, protective measures, and ideas on how best to end it. Organizers hope that this extended submission period will allow for a wider range of voices to contribute to the dialogue on environmental conservation and sustainability.

Key Details for Submission:

Theme: “Drought in Focus”

Submission Deadline: Extended to Sunday, October 15th, 2023

Submission Guidelines: Entrants can submit up to three high-resolution photographs accompanied by a brief description highlighting the environmental message behind each image.

As the new submission deadline approaches, photographers are encouraged to explore their surroundings and capture this year’s theme.  The extended deadline not only allows for more participation but also underscores the urgency of addressing environmental issues. It is a call to action for photographers to use their craft to inspire change.

So, whether you are a seasoned photographer or an amateur enthusiast, head outdoors and contribute to the vital conversation through highlighting solutions that will help mitigate drought.

Call for Submissions: Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition

We are excited to announce our annual Safal Eye in the Wild Photography Competition 2023. The competition will run from 28 July to October 15, 2023, with an aim to ignite conversations and raise awareness about environmental conservation through the power of photography.

This year, the competition seeks to highlight the effects of drought on communities and the power of resourcefulness and innovation in combating the scourge. Drought in Africa continues to have dire and severe consequences, particularly for the agriculture-dependent communities in the region. Insufficient rainfall and prolonged dry spells have reduced crop yields, increased livestock losses, and exacerbated food shortages. This in turn, has caused a ripple effect significantly contributing to food insecurity in communities.

Photographers, both professional and amateurs, are invited to participate.

Submission Period: [July 28] – [October 15]

Theme: “Drought”

About the Competition: The annual campaign was launched in 2017 under the name ‘MRM Eye in the Wild Photography Competition. It ran for two years before rebranding in 2019 to the Safal Eye in The Wild Photography Competition to reflect the parent sponsor, The Safal Group. The campaign has witnessed tremendous growth and engagement, capturing the attention of participants from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Prizes: 1st Place: [USD 3,000] 2nd Place: [USD 2,000] 3rd Place: [USD 1,000], People’s Choice: [USD 500]

Submission Guidelines: 1. Visit and follow the submission guidelines

Important Dates:

· Submissions Open: July 28, 2023

· Submissions Deadline: October 15, 2023

· Judging Period: 16th Oct – 16th Nov 2023

· Winners Announcement: 8th Dec 2023

Our esteemed panel of judges includes renowned professional photographers who share a passion for photography and environmental conservation.

Follow us on social media for more updates.

Public Voting: We will also have a “People’s Choice” award, where the public can vote for their favourite photograph on our website or social media platforms during the voting period.

Help us spread the word about this competition by sharing it with your friends, fellow photographers, and environmental enthusiasts. Let’s use the power of photography to inspire action and make a positive change for our future.

MRM Eye In The Wild Competition, 2018

“There comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness . . . that time is now.” 
Wangari Maathai

The majority of us are oblivious to the state of our country with reference to our natural environment. We go about out daily grind and only when our routines are interrupted or something unexpected happens are we alive to the happenings around us and stop to take notice, often times too late.

Earlier this year, reality checked in when a photo doing rounds on social media got Kenyans’ attention on the state of our natural forests. The photo depicted Kenya as having the least amount of forest cover in the East African region. Currently, just 6.2 % of Kenya’s land is covered with forests. This sparked a conversation on how we can conserve our forests with the Government of Kenya imposing a 90 day ban on logging and pledging to increase the forest cover to 10 % by 2020.

Mabati Rolling Mills believes in zero harm to all and to the environment. With this in mind, we launched the 2nd edition of the annual photography campaign MRM Eye in the Wild. The competition is an initiative of Mabati Rolling Mills which aims to create awareness on conservation through the art of photography in a fun MRM way.The theme of this year is STOP THE CHOP and hopes to draw the public EYE through the camera lens on the state of flora and fauna conservation in Kenya. We as a company are committed to ensuring our leadership, management and all staff alongside their families are part of the global community doing our part to protect the environment and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

Karen Gikunda, Head of Marketing at Mabati Rolling Mills said, ““This year’s competition will be about the forest conservation, the beauty of it, its impact on climate change and the environmental degradation that is currently happening as well as the use of a digital platform to get this message to the right audience.”

“We are thrilled to be part of this great movement, we need to protect our environment to safeguard our future generations,” said Harry Muchangi, the Safal Group Regional Marketing Head for Eastern Africa, adding “Climate action is a duty for all. It’s an honour to be part of an initiative that will drive the conversation around conservation while appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature.”

The competition aims at affecting perception and attitudes through communication on digital to make people care and rally behind the cause. Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting a tree is simple.


  1. The competition is open to residents of Kenya. You must be at least 18 years of age to register as a participant on MRM’s website and if you are under this age you confirm you have obtained the consent of your parent/guardian.
  2. All photos must be taken between January 2018 and October 2018.
  3. The subject matter of the photograph should depict trees or forestry.
  4. Entries may be submitted from 3rd September 2018 and must be received by midnight East Africa Time on 12th October 2018.
  5. Entries must be submitted via the online entry form on;