Glittering and prestigious literary awards will now honour 17 leading SA writers

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Five writers have been named in the two new categories for the South African Literary Awards (Sala). The awards will be held at Vodaworld in Midrand, Johannesburg, on December 8.

Organisers said that the finalists for the two additional awards are Victor Dlamini of SAfm, freelance writer Sabata Mokae and Bongani Madondo of the Sunday Times. They have been nominated in the Literary Journalism category sponsored by Sowetan and the SABC. Bruce Ngobeni, Nick Mhlongo and Zukiswa Wanner have been nominated for the K Sello Duiker Literary Memorial Award.

The other categories are the Nadine Gordimer Short-story Award (for writing in African languages), Literary Lifetime Achievement Award and the Literary Posthumous Award.

Seventeen writers will be honoured at the glittering gala ceremony.

Raks Morakabe Seakhoa, Sala project director said: "This is the result of a partnership between the national ministry of arts and culture, the premier arts, culture and heritage events strategy specialists, wRite associates, media and publishing partners - SABC, Sowetan and SundayWorld and Nutrend Publishers."

The South African National Poet Laureate Prize was inaugurated by Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan in partnership with the Edcon Group and the wRite associates in March 2005. The late Professor Mazisi Kunene was the winner in 2005 and Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile was declared Poet Laureate in December 2006.

The Literary Lifetime Achievement Award, since its inception in December 2005, has honoured Es'kia Mphahlele, Noni Jabavu, Ellen Khuzwayo, Nadine Gordimer, Denis Brutus, James Matthews, TN Maumela, Miriam Tlali, ES Madima, Modikoe Dikobe, Ephraim Lesoro, Toek Blignaut, DBZ Ntuli, Lauretta Ngcobo, Ronnie Govender, Andre Brink, Peter Abrahams, Lewis Nkosi, Don Mattera and Karel Schoeman.

The Literary Posthumous Awards, which were introduced in 2006, honoured James Moiloa, Bessie Head and Ingoapele Madingoane.

Jordan said: "The 2005 inauguration of the South African Literary Awards is a continuation of what began on March 5 2005 in Kwa-Zulu Natal, when we bestowed the status of National Poet Laureate or Imbongi Yesizwe Jikelele on Professor Mazisi Kunene. We recognised the professor for his selfless dedication to fore-grounding and championing African literature, particularly literature in the indigenous African languages. That too was a collaborative effort between the Arts and Culture Department and the wRite associates, a good example of a public-private partnership for the advancement of arts."