SA writer scoops commonwealth book award

Friday, March 13, 2009

Durban - South African writer Mandla Langa has scooped the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award in the Africa Region 2009 for "The Lost Colours of the Chameleon".

This was announced on Wednesday at The Time of the Writer Festival held in Durban.

Mr Langa and Uwen Akpan of Nigeria, who wone the Best First Book Award, in the Africa Region, for "Say You're One of Them", will now enter the final phase of the competition.

They will compete with the six finalists from Canada and the Caribbean, Europe and South Asia and South East Asia and the Pacific for the overall Best Book and Best First Book award.

The overall winners, chosen by an international panel of six judges coming together in New Zealand, will be announced on 16 May at the Auckland Writers' and Readers Festival (AWRF) in New Zealand.

Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan said South Africa's creative talents were sweeping the board in African film, literature and in music.

"Given the awards already won this year, it was our expectation that the regional winner would also come from here," he said.

The minister also congratulated Mr Akpan adding that he also wish both authors further success in this competition.

Meanwhile, South African film makers won, at least six prestigious prizes at the 40th Anniversary of the Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadogou, Burkino Faso.

John Kani and Winston Ntshona were presented with the Silver Stallion of Yenenga for "Nothing But the Truth". The film was also awarded the Ousmane Sembene Prize for Peace.

Jerusalema received three technical awards and film director Khalo Matabane won Best TV Series for "When We Were Black".

"It is our conviction that their achievements will inspire a new generation of film-makers to rise to the challenges of creating impressive and meaningful movies whose impact will be long-lasting.

"South African talent is setting trends not merely on the continent but they are ready to compete with best among their international counterparts," he said.

He added that South African film-makers have become special voices when it comes to telling the human story of the African Renaissance in a globalized world.

"I want to extend my personal congratulations to all these award winners and to urge them to continue doing what they do best - making entertaining and moving films that can make the South African experience part of the world cinematic legacy," he said