2018 Winners


  • Mungu Hakopeshwi a novel by Zainab Alwi Baharoon (Tanzania) $5,000

God Doesn’t Waste/Borrow Time (an idiomatic expression in Kiswahili meaning that God is swift in retribution)



  • Moto wa Kifuu by Jacob Ngumbau Julius (Kenya) $5,000

Fire of the Coconut Shell (an idiomatic expression in Kiswahili because the fire doesn’t last long)


The judges, in recognising the long Kiswahili literary tradition said, that:

“In Mungu Hakopeshwi, Zainab Alwi Baharoon, has used the standard unguja Swahili masterfully.  The language used flows so effortlessly that the  reader can also have fun while reading.   The overriding issue handled in this work is women’s struggles against the backdrop of male chauvinism and domination where the women find themselves at the bottom rung of the societal ladder (especially in the Swahili society).”

“In Moto wa Kifuu, the author’s language is superb and flows smoothly. The poet, Jacob Ngumbau Julius, is well-versed in the use of similes and metaphors. He has used all the Swahili poetic devices including three, four line stanzas and the double line popular tenzi formation.”


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