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2023 UJ Creative writing prize winners in isiZulu and Sesotho sa Leboa revealed

The University of Johannesburg is pleased to announce the winners of the following UJ Prizes for Creative Writing in isiZulu and for Creative Writing in Sesotho sa Leboa.

Ndabayakhe William Zulu was named the winner of the UJ Main Prize for Creative Writing in isiZulu in 2023 for his work Emzileni KaShaka.

The novel retells the important story of the birth of the Zulu nation we see today. The novel does not dramatise the events as the author did not want it to be too fictionalised, as it is based on true events. It gives details about King Shaka that are not found in previously published Zulu books (UShaka, Ukufa KukaShaka, etc.) about the king.

The novel was written by a good storyteller who used rich language that reflects the language spoken at the time. There is also great use of praise poetry, which is very common in the Zulu Kingdom.

Ms Nomusa Sibiya from UJ’s Multilingual Language Services Office (MLSO) was the coordinator of the isiZulu prize. The panel of adjudicators were Mr T Madingiza, Ms CW Mthembu and Mr KLB Mjiyako.

The winner of the 2023 UJ Main Prize in Creative Writing in Sesotho sa Leboa ­– Moses Seletisha for Eto la Mofaladi.

The novel is an autobiography that narrates the life journey of Mr Tlokwe Maserumule, one of the soldiers who protected South Africa during apartheid. Tlokwe is a prestigious man who served his society, a South African national party (the ANC), by ensuring that its interests were protected, and he is still serving the public today. The autobiography brought a new genre of literature that is hardly ever seen in indigenous languages. It shows a high level of research, is well written, and proves that Sesotho sa Leboa as a language is resourceful with few limitations.

The author made use of an official language in a very clear way so that all levels of speakers are able to understand what is written. The language is simple, yet creative, where figures of speech are used appropriately. A terminology list is also included in the book.

The winner of the 2023 UJ Debut Prize for Creative Writing in Sesotho sa Leboa – Ms Ntloro Charlotte Pebane for Lerato la Lepheko.

A well-constructed novel that reflects current affairs affecting our societies, such as women and children abuse, gender-based violence, and other societal issues that have been serious problems to contend with.

The author’s language is clear and understandable. She avoided the use of non-standard language and focused on using standardised language as the book is targeted for school learners and such books must reflect the official language. The language used in the novel is rich in terminology.

Mr Moroamofo Leshilo from UJ’s Multilingual Language Services Office was the coordinator of the Sesotho sa Leboa prizes. He also served on the panel of adjudicators together with Dr Doreen Mojapelo and Ms Ignaciah Thete, both from the UJ Department of African Languages.

These prizes are administered by the Multilingual Language Services Office of the University of Johannesburg.

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