… As Angelique Kidjo, Wole Soyinka, Nike Oshinowo, Others Celebrate Winner.
Lagos|Nigeria: South African author Songeziwe Mahlangu has been named winner of the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature competition.
The Cape Town resident won the prize for his stunning debut novel ‘Penumbra,’ a dystopic story of the life of an underachieving young man suffering from mental illness in post-apartheid South Africa.
In an action-packed finale at Intercontinental Hotel in Lagos, the 30 year-old writer was named as the winner ahead of fellow South African Nadia Davids and Nigerian Chinelo Okparanta.
The CEO of Etisalat, Mathew Willsher, awarded him the sum of £15,000 and an engraved MontBlanc pen. In addition Songeziwe will attend the prestigious Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia where he will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden.
A visibly emotional Mahlangu thanked his publisher and his mother for giving him a platform and believing in him. When asked what he would use the money for, he commented, “I will use this money to support myself for the next two years while I keep on writing.”
The 3 final shortlisted books, Penumbra, Happiness like Water and An Imperfect Blessing were brought to life with pulsating re enactments directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, one of the best directors in Nigeria with a string of successfully directed plays under her belt including the V- monologues. The re enactments were done by a crop of very talented Nigerian Actors led by OC Ukeje, Bimbo Manuel, Bimbo Akintola and a team of very fantastic new actors.
Angelique Kidjo later closed the show with breathtaking performances of her all time-hit songs including Wobolombo, Agolo, Eva, Mama Africa among other hits. She also featured the Winner of the Etisalat sponsored Nigerian Idol season 4 winner, Evelle who had earlier performed her hit song, Kilimanjaro.
Notable guests include renowned Nobel Prize for Literature winner, prof. Wole Soyinka, Hakeem Belo- Osagie, President of the Association of Nigerian Authors. Prof Remi Raji-Oyelade, poet and former president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, the Iyaoge of Lagos, Chief Opral Benson, Odia Ofeimun, Award winning actor, Kunle Afolayan, Nike Oshinowo, Darey Art Alade and Kelechi Amadi-Obi.
Other guests include Reze Bonna, Sam Onyemelukwe, Tolu Ogunlesi, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi, Bantu, Hauwa Mokan, Kemi Lala among many others.
Mahlangu now joins Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo as the second winner of the annual pan African prize that promotes the work of published first time authors. See more photos after cut…