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  • Africa: Nigerian and Ugandan Poets Win ‘Africa’s Nobel Prize’

    Africa: Nigerian and Ugandan Poets Win ‘Africa’s Nobel Prize’ | Photo: Reuters file

Published 11 December 2018

The prizes were delivered by Wole Soyinka who is a renowned African novelist and play writer and the recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature (1986).

Two poets win the prestigious Wole Soyinka US$10,000-prize.

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Nigerian poet and professor, Tanure Ojaide, and Ugandan poet and journalist, Harriet Anena, won the prize from a list of 110 submissions, from 11 African countries.

Anena won on her “A Nation in Labour” poem, while Ojaide was selected for his “Songs of Myself.”

Anena is the first Ugandan to win the prestigious prize.

Her Nation in Labour’s social commentary and perspective stands out, “a collection of social conscience poetry” which takes on “the giant politician, the restless citizen, the clueless youth, those struggling to heal from life’s scratches and the ones hunting for words to describe the fiery flames of affection,” according to Anena’s publisher.

Anena is from Gulu, in northern Uganda. The poet and journalist worked for the Daily Monitor newspaper where she was a reporter and deputy chief sub-editor. She has also taught specialized writing the Islamic University in Uganda.

Wole Soyinka, the man who handed the prizes, is a renowned novelist and play writer and the recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature (1986).

The prize, awarded every two years, was created by the Lumina Foundation, in 2005.

The prize sponsored by Lumina promotes Africa’s talented writers by generating visibility for their work. One way it achieves this is by making their books available at an affordable subsidized priced.

According to UNESCO, literacy rates in Africa are still behind much of the rest of the world, as 38 percent (38 million people) of adults in the continent remain illiterate, and this is much worst among women, as they comprise two-thirds of the group.

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