Author Mongane Serote bags National Poet Laureate Prize at literary awards
Serote says the country’s literature has evolved amazingly since he first got into the industry under apartheid.
JOHANNESBURG - With over four decades in the literature world, author and poet Mongane Wally Serote has been honoured with the National Poet Laureate Prize at the South African Literary Awards.
The 74-year-old bagged the award on Tuesday night in Pretoria where those who have contributed to the South African literature were celebrated.
Serote published his first book titled Yakhal’inkomo in 1972 which went on to win the Ingrid Jonker Prize for debut poetry in English and has been scooping major awards ever since.
He says the country’s literature has evolved amazingly since he first got into the industry under apartheid.
“A beautiful thing has happened in our country where young black women have entered the genre of writing, especially poetry and performance poetry and as they handle it, they get a deeper sense of their probe in life, asking who they are and becoming conscious of their womanhood.”
He says today more than ever, young black women’s role in literature has become more important in fighting societal ills.
“The most important thing was my discovery of the fighting spirit of my people at a very young age, that is what inspired me to write. I could have written romantic poetry or anything else, but that discovery made me say I want to part of this.”
Author of Miss Behave Malebo Sephodi agrees with Serote on the importance of women in literature and dedicated her First-time Published Author Award to her grandmother.
“I know my grandmother took her father’s surname, I know that when a woman gets married they take the husband’s surname, but I told her [the grandmother] that I want my surname to be her name. So that wherever I go, when they say Malebo Sephodi, they are talking about my grandmother. Where she couldn’t enter, my name will make sure she enters.”
She says women have the power not only to heal but to change the world around them and literature is one of the avenues they can use to do that.
In its 13th instalment, this year’s event added two new categories: the Children’s Literature Award, which went to both Jaco Jacobs and Marilyn J Honikman, and the Novel Award that was awarded to Dan Sleigh.
The night also saw both nominees co-winning the Nadine Gordimer Short-story Award, the Literary Translator Award and the Posthumous Literary Award.
Meanwhile, the K. ‘Sello’ Duiker Memory Award had no nominees and therefore no winner, despite submissions being made in that category.
The Lifetime Achievement Literary Award went to Ronnie Kasrils and Hermann Giliomee, Peter Magubane bagged the Chairperson’s Award, and the Creative Non-Fiction Award went to Jurgen Schaderburg.
#SALA2018 FYI: Some of the nominees could not attend tonight's event and their publishers (and/or representatives) are accepting awards on their behalf while other nominees receive a Certificate of Appreciation @SALA_Awards— EWN Lifestyle (@EWN_Lifestyle) November 6, 2018