Sisca Julius wins the K and L prize ($1000 New Zealand) for her story, Honey Bee. Her story along with all longlisted entries would be published in the K and L Anthology, Histories of Yesterday.
Julius is a 23 year-old Bachelor of Arts student, studying at Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley, South Africa. Her majors are Afrikaans, Creative Writing, Anthropology and Heritage Studies. She writes in Afrikaans and English.
“I love writing in the dialect of the “coloured” people of South Africa, who mix Afrikaans, English and Khoi languages,” the writer says.
Julius describes her short fiction, Honey Bee, as a narrative about the way her people of South Africa were stripped of their language. Language is vital to her. “I think in Afrikaans. I love Afrikaans. Inasmuch as I love Afrikaans, I long to cloak my mouth in clicks like my grandmother and her mother. I am afraid that the Nama language will become extinct in South Africa and if you lose your language, you lose your culture,” she says.
The judges for the inaugural prize, Zana Bell and Uchechukwu Umezurike, indicate that the entries, submitted from all around the African continent, touch vital areas of Africa’s rich history. ‘The stories that made it to the finals are quite impressive, making it quite hard to award the prize,’ Umezurike says.
Four entries made it to the final stage along with Julius’s Honey Bee, and they are: Melody Anthony (also known as M) for her story, The Many-Faced God; Mazpa Ejikem for his story, The Secrets of Water Bodies; and Okechi Okeke for his story, When Sullen Faces Gnaw at You. ‘These stories, the four of them, are so different – each poignantly told with its own strengths,’ Bell comments.
The K & L Prize for African Literature, founded in 2018, is sponsored by a New Zealand based Nigerian writer, Myles Ojabo. The prize is awarded yearly for the best piece of unpublished short fiction by an African resident, age 18 to 25.
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