Shot in the arm for Kiswahili as awards loom

Shot in the arm for Kiswahili as awards loom

IN efforts towards boosting Kiswahili to another level, a local company, ALAF Limited and their Kenyan counterparts, Mabati Rolling Mills are set to unveil winners in several categories.

Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, ALAF Limited External Affairs Manager, Hawa Bayumi said the Kiswahili Prize was established in 2015.

She said that winners of the 2021 Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature will be announced in Dar es Salaam tomorrow, which she said will bring together participants from Kenya and Tanzania.

 “The winners will be known on Thursday during an event at the Mlimani City, where we expect different literature stakeholders to attend this important event,” she said, adding that a panel of three judges will read out some of the best entries and announce the overall winners.

MsBayuni said the annual 15,000-dollar Prize is awarded to the best unpublished manuscripts, or books published within two years of the award year across the categories of fiction, poetry, memoir, and graphic novels.

“The winning entries are published in Kiswahili by East African Educational Publishers (EAEP). And the best poetry book published in English
translation by the Africa Poetry Book Fund,” she said.

She further said that the competition attracted a total of 340 entries from Kenya and Tanzania, where 7 finalists were shortlisted for the awards, where the winner will, apart from other prizes, pocket a whopping 5,000 US dollars.

The Kiswahili Prize is supported by ALAF Limited of Tanzania and Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya (subsidiaries of Safal Group), and the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Cornell University and the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, USA.

The prize, founded in 2014 by Dr Lizzy Attree (Caine Prize Director) and DrMukoma WaNgugi (Cornell University), has the express goal of recognizing writing in African languages and encouraging translation from, between and into African languages.

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