Being recognised by your own is truly special. I have received many awards in my life, but this makes me very emotional. I am deeply grateful,” Dikgang Moseneke, author and former Deputy Chief Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, when accepting the 2017 South African Literary Awards’ Creative Non-fiction Award category for his memoir, My Own Liberator, at the 12th SA Literary Awards ceremony, 7th November, UNISA, Tshwane.
As always, SALA lived to its mantra of “…taking our literary heritage to greater heights…”.
2017 saw twenty one (21) authors in ten (10) categories and seven (7) South African languages being honoured. For the very first time, the Awards included the !Xam and !Kun, albeit being honoured posthumously, the five groundbreaking oral authors, |A!kunta, !Kabbo, ≠Kasin, Dia!kwain and |Han≠kass’o, contributors drawn from Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd’s collection of !Xam and !Kun narratives, verses, songs, chants, drawings and other materials consisting of over 150 notebooks running into some 13 000 pages, which is considered a unique cultural and literary collection recognised by United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Council (UNESCO) and entered into the Memory of the World Register.
The Lifetime Achievement Literary Award went to South Africa’s legendary sangoma and shaman, Credo Vusamazulu Mutwa, who is largely respected for his predictions of world events, including the destruction of New York’s World Trade Centre in 2001, the 1976 June 16 Uprising, HIV, Chris Hani assassination, load shedding and the ousting of President Thabo Mbeki. Mutwa shares the category with other literary stalwarts, Aletta Matshediso Motimele, who is revered for her Sepedi works and Etienne van Heerden, an academic and prolific Afrikaans author.
Veteran journalist, Don Makatile and Phakama Mbonambi jointly won the Literary Journalism Award.
“Indeed, as its main aim, SALA continues to strive to become the most prestigious and respected literary accolades in South African literature”, says Morakabe Raks Seakhoa and Sindiswa Seakhoa, founder of the wRite associates, convenor and manager of SALA, respectively.
Since its inception in 2005, to date, SALA has honoured 182 authors in 11 categories, across all official South African languages. SALA also boasts legacy programmes, including:
- The National Poet Laureate Programme and the Keorapetse Kgositsile Annual Lecture, in honour of the South Africa’s National Poet Laureate, Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile.
- The Miriam Tlali Reading and Book Club, in honour of the late author, Miriam Tlali.
- Band of Troubadours, a publication comprising the work of SALA recipients
- Africa Century International African Writers Conference and International African Writers Day Lecture, established in 2012.