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Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Taal | Language > Ander | Other

The Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in Sotho and Tshivenda


For this year’s competition, authors were required to submit manuscripts where technology plays a role.

The judges in the Sotho languages and Tshivenda categories were prof Johannes S Shole and mr Ndivhuho Mutsila of the African Languages Department at UNISA.

The category for Sotho languages

Monona wa bosupa (The pointing finger) by Kabelo Duncan Kgatea is a worthy recipient of the Silver Prize in the category for Sotho languages.

According to the title, as you point an accusing index finger at another person, your other three fingers are pointing back at you, while your thumb remains stuck up, pointing ominously at the heavens. This refers to the fact that Grandfather Tau Mere blames everybody else for things that go wrong, while it is in fact he himself who is to blame and ends up being shamed.

The novel deals with a quest and a struggle to break with a tortured past and a search for a new beginning. It takes us gradually through the hardships and heroics of the boy Thebe as a poor but hardworking herdboy and a deprived schoolboy who excels in the performing arts and as an athlete. He lost his mother at birth, and his father is away in North Africa. He is left in the care of his grandparents on a abusive Boer farm. There is a tug of war between his maternal grandfather and his paternal grandfather for his custody. This becomes complicated when his father sends for him through his new Senegalese wife and a friend. He runs away, gets seriously injured and becomes hospitalised. A hunt for him ensues, and in the meantime he grapples with his unfolding troubled past. All this leads to a final scene at the court, where Thebe’s fate will be decided.

This teenage novel deals with the kind of issues many youngsters today have to contend with – in both rural and urban settings. It serves to deepen the understanding of the hurt a child may experience when adults fight their battles at the expense of that child.

Congratulations to Kabelo Duncan Kgatea on winning his fourth Sanlam award.

The Tshivenda category

Nne na inwi (You and I) by Tsireledzo Mushoma is the recipient of a Gold Prize in the category for novels in Tshivenda.

This novel is set in contemporary urban Venda, where global influences are fast encroaching on traditional lifestyles. This is illustrated by the use of interactive computer programmes in school, the use of CD's in projects, internet use (blogs), buying each other romantic presents, and the like.

Phumudzo's sister is in ICU and Phumudzo blames herself for it. Then her best friend is murdered and she starts to feel as if she is living in a strange world where she doesn't understand why things happen the way they do. She sets out to find understanding, and uncovers secrets which set free a few other people besides herself.

The author’s language use is excellent and refreshing and the text is full of interesting suspenseful incidents. The author possesses a matured worldview. The sub-themes touch on interesting contemporary matters such as the role of ITC in education, medical conditions and forensic science. The author also touches on domestic and social issues such as growing up without a father, deceit and promiscuity, loveless households, unchecked hormones of growing teenagers, and guilt.