Zimbabwe Achievers Awards have announced the five writers shortlisted for the Literature Award ahead of the highly anticipated second edition of the event scheduled for Saturday, 28 April at the prestigious Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London.
Earlier this year, ZAA revamped this category and called for literary submissions instead of nominations in order to encourage, inspire and celebrate the best writing talents in the community.
“In a bid to encourage Zimbabwe literature, we created an annual literature award that would run hand in hand with the main awards ceremony; in doing so we hope to encourage a huge community of writers who are full of energy and drive and highlight some of the magnificent work being produced by many talented Zimbabwean writers,” said Conrad Mwanza, the CEO of Zimbabwe Achievers Awards.
The winner will be rewarded a $1,000 cash prize from the ZAA and see their work in print in a volume of shortlisted and highly commended entries.
1. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma – Doctor S
The story of a Zimbabwean student at Wits University having a nervous breakdown is superbly written. It deals with the psychological trauma of life in Zimbabwe that haunts one even when they have left and the loneliness and alienation of life in the diaspora.
2. Lloyd Matowe – Gweja
This is a powerful account of illegal mining at Chiadzwa, the heavy-handedness of the army and police, corruption and the competing personal and political stakes. This is a story that must be told and told very well.
3. Mzana Mthimukulu – What’s in a Dog’s Name?
This was the only entry full of humour and wit. The naming of the family dog becomes more than what it is but a subtext of the larger socio-political issues in the country. Naming and language become political rites. The story highlights generational conflicts and the social contradictions that result from that.
4. John Eppel – Triptych1
This is a very graphic story with powerful and evocative descriptions of place and atmosphere whilst dealing with the brutal violence of the periods before and after independence. The title in itself is symbolic, perhaps, an allusion to the three cinematic scenes around which this story revolves. The story starts in with a young white recruit of the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RFI) and ushers us into the early years of independence and we witness the systematic Gukurahundi massacres, showing broken families and communities.
5. Barbara Mhangami-Ruwande – Uncomfortable Spaces
Set in the British capital that Brian Chikwava has dubbed Harare North, this story documents the illegality of survival in an environment that is unforgiving and unwilling to recognise the humanity of immigrants. It is a story about the trials and tribulations of life in the diaspora written with brutal honesty. Sometimes the victims are not just those who are being cared for but also those who care for those who are being cared for.
The second annual Zimbabwe Achievers Awards to be hosted by Zimbabwean actress Chipo Chung promises to bring together the movers and shakers of the community in the UK and celebrate the achievements of noteworthy Zimbabweans who have pushed the boundaries and made their mark in diverse fields from fashion to business, from sports to media.
Tickets for the event can still be purchased on the ZAA website where you can also find a full list of nominees and vote for your favourites.