2017 SA Literary Awards celebrate !Xam & !Kun languages

The authors of the collected !Xam and !Kun languages work are |A!kunta, !Kabbo, ≠Kasin, Dia!kwain, and |Han≠kass’o.

The South African Literary Awards were held at Unisa on 7 October 2017. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – In a first of its kind in South Africa, the 2017 South African Literary Awards have praised and given recognition to the !Xam and !Kun languages with a posthumous literary award.

The event was held at Unisa in Pretoria on Tuesday night.

Five legendary contributors have been drawn from Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd archives of !Xam and !Kun narratives, verses, songs, chants, drawings and other materials for the award.

The authors of the collected !Xam and !Kun languages work are |A!kunta, !Kabbo, ≠Kasin, Dia!kwain, and |Han≠kass’o; their relatives are yet be traced so the awards can be passed on to them.

In presenting the posthumous literary awards, Professor Andries Oliphant said: “The [Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd] archives consist of some 13,000 pages of the !Xam and !Kun languages, which are now extinct. These informants were prisoners of the British government in the Breakwater Prison so they were released in the custody of Bleek and his sister in the 1800s.”

Among other winners is retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who walked away with the creative non- fiction award for his book My Own Liberator and Moses Shimo Seletisha who won the first-time published author award for his book titled Tšhutšhumakgala.

In accepting his award, Moseneke said: “I’m truly grateful, there’s something about being recognised by your own – it’s just so special. It’s been a long journey and I tried to record it as well as I could in My Own Liberator and the good news is that the journey still continues.”

Other winners:

k.Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

Nthikeng Mohlele – Pleasure

Poetry Award

Helen Moffett – Prunings

Simphiwe Ali Nolutshungu - Iingcango Zentliziyo

Literary Journalism Award

Don Makatile - Body of work

Phakama Mbonambi - Body of work

Literary Translators Award

Bridget Theron-Bushell - The Thirstland Trek 1874 – 1881

Jeff Opland, Wandile Kuse and Pamela Maseko - William Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali and Xhosa Histories And Poetry (1873 – 1888)

Jeff Opland and Pamela Maseko - DLP.Yali-Manisi: Iimbali Zamanyange, Historical Poems

Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

Roela Hattingh – Kamee

Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa - Body of work

Aletta Matshedisð Motimele - Body of work

Etienne Van Heerden - Body of work

Chairperson’s Award

Themba Christian Msimang - Body of work