Authors Resoketswe Manenzhe from South Africa and Frances Ogamba from Nigeria have won the 2019 Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Prize for Creative Nonfiction awards, respectively.
Manenzhe was recognised for her short story Maserumo and Ogamba was rewarded for The Valley of Memories, at the awards ceremony held on August 18 in Kampala.
Both stories capture the power of African spiritualism, beliefs and reincarnation.
Maserumo is about the birth of death of Little Samantha and the several mysterious murders thereafter. The story is narrated by a person who lived through these deaths and is entangled in these tragedies.
Samantha’s father had wanted a son since he already had four other daughters.
So it happened that the girl he had not wanted died during the night. Valley of Memories kicks off with, “To live with another man’s wounds is to wake at midnight with a searing pain and listen to the man breathe and exist.”
The narrator visits her uncle, a man who has been dead for 70 years and has inhabited her body for twenty-three odd years.
She is visiting his one-time home through the Milken hill road.
The story of the Iva Valley massacre, which claimed his life, was retold many times in her childhood house.
Manenzhe and Ogamba received a plaque and cash award of $500 each, as well as a chance to work on their manuscript in a one month residency at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
“Winning this award means a lot to me. I have never won a prize. And this one is quite a big one, and amazing,” Manenzhe told The EastAfrican.
“This award means a whole lot. It opens my story to a wide audience,” Ogamba said.
The 2019 Writivism Festival was held at the National Theatre in Kampala from August 15 to 18.
There were conversations, poetry recitals, stage plays, book readings and launches, and writing and photography masterclasses.
There was screening of short films and a photo exhibition by Marie Ainomugisha, Daniel Msrikale, Nebila Abdulmelik and Wasi Daniju.
The festival also paid tribute to the late Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina.