Eight writers get to finals of Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize contest

Judges have settled on eight finalists to battle it out in the Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize after nearly 200 writers submitted their impressive content.

“These eight individuals are all winners; all their submissions attracted our eyes, and the poems will attract debate. It was really a good job done,” noted Prof Wamitilla   Kyallo, one of the judges.

The judges clarified  that the selection process wasn’t easy because  the writers not only came up in huge numbers,  but arrived  with vibrant pieces  to showcase all their prowess,  and that deserve celebration.

Fatuma Salim, a teacher in Zanzibar, won the poetry bit with her ‘Changa la Moto’ poem and Philip Oyaro had the winning prose with his Dunia Duara.   Both took home a bounty of $5000 (about ksh811, 761).

“I’m so happy to be a winner in poetry, and being amongst the eight finalists was a blessing on  its own since  more than  150 entries were submitted,” said Salim, the  first female winner who says she had high hopes and  had adequately prepared for the competition.

The second position was taken by Tanzanians Ahmad Simba (poetry) and Leonard Mtesigwa (prose),   receiving $2500 each.  Not far behind were Kenyans Nickolas Ogal (prose) John Karithi (poetry) and Edwin Omindo (short story), and Tanzanian Stallone Joyfully (short story).

Established in 2014 to recognize writing in African languages and encourage translation between and into African languages, the Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize brings together industry leaders and other stakeholders to promote reading and writing in Kiswahili.

United Nations says 14 African nations; Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and The Comoros Islands do speak and write in Kiswahili.

By Amoto Ndiewo

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