THE NOMA AWARD FOR
For release on Friday 10 October 2003
BIOGRAPHY OF THE HEROIC LIVES OF WALTER AND ALBERTINA SISULU WINS 2003 NOMA AWARD
Walter and Albertina Sisulu. In our Lifetime by Elinor Sisulu is announced as the 2003 Noma Award Winner. The book was published in 2002 by David Philip Publishers, an imprint of New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd, of Cape Town, South Africa. This is the third time that David Philip Publishers have won the Noma Award.
The Jury’s citation reads:
“This is a powerful and searing book, told with honesty and authority, of the lives of two heroic figures in South Africa’s history. Bringing together the personal and political, the Sisulu story is a compelling account of their struggle against apartheid; the history of a close family transcending the separations of banning orders, imprisonment and exile; and a profoundly touching love story.
The moving and inspirational story is told in a riveting and wholly lucid manner. The author has an unerring command of the history and handles the narrative deftly, without losing sight of her goal to reveal the complexities of the political and personal choices of her protagonists. It is carefully researched, in full command of the wealth of original oral evidence, rich family correspondence, archival records, and all relevant secondary sources.”
The author, Elinor Sisulu, is uniquely placed to tell the story, as journalist, academic and daughter-in-law of Walter and Albertina Sisulu. She successfully marries personal engagement and an insider view, with the demands of historical scholarship. Walter and Albertina Sisulu shared extraordinary courage, fine judgement and unimpeachable integrity; the stories of their children and grandchildren, and their contribution to the liberation struggle and post-apartheid South Africa, are woven into the rich tapestry, providing a vivid illustration of Walter and Albertina’s extraordinary personal qualities, and their ability to imbue their family with moral purpose, transcending the long years of persecution.
The $10,000 24th. Award will be presented at a special ceremony to be held in Africa in 2004, details of which will be announced.
The Jury singled out two further books for Special Commendation (alphabetical order by publisher):
Le Collier de Paille by Khadi Hane (Libreville: Editions NDZE, 2002). A remarkable novel, a classic love story handled in a wholly original way and impeccably written. It addresses a neglected subject, that of an African woman’s right to a sexual identity within the confines of traditional cultural attitudes.
The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera (Harare: Weaver Press, 2002). A novel about ordinary people and everyday lives, set against the drama of colonialism and decolonisation. A mistress of prose, the author mirrors, in subtle transformations of language, subjective experiences reflecting the wider political landscape. A masterful combination of poetry, representation of landscape and locality, and use of the English language.
Three further titles were singled out for Honourable Mention:
Eilande by D. Sleigh (Kaapstad, SA: Tafelberg Publishers, 2002). A novel in Afrikaans, set in the 17th century. It renders the story of two Khoi women into a living past. Beautifully written, historically totally convincing, and moving at all levels of interpersonal relationships.
Poisonous Plants of South Africa by Ben-Erik van Wyk, Fanie van Heerden & Bosch van Oudtshoorn (Pretoria: Briza Publications, 2002). A beautifully produced and illustrated book presented in a clear, concise, and well-laid out manner; it is accessible, but at the same time scholarly and authoritative.
Field Guide to Insects of South Africa by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths & Alan Weaving (Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 2002). A project on an enormous scale, the organisation is superb; the presentation of the information is outstanding, and powerful in its subtlety. The photographs are consistently beautiful, educational, informative and spectacular.
113 titles, from 71 African publishers, in 15 countries, in 8 languages, were submitted for the 2003 competition.
The Noma Award Jury is chaired by Walter Bgoya from Tanzania, one of Africa’s most distinguished and respected publishers, with wide knowledge of both African and international publishing. The other members of the Jury in 2003 were: Professor Peter Katjavivi, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Namibia; Dr. Fatou Keita, University of Cocody, Abidjan; Dr. Ato Quayson, Director of the African Studies Centre, and Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge; and Mary Jay, Secretary to the Managing Committee (the Jury). The Award is sponsored by Kodansha Ltd, Japan.
For further information about the Award, please contact:
Mary Jay, Secretary to the Noma Award for Publishing in
Africa, PO Box 128, Witney, Oxon OX8 5XU, UK. Tel: +44-(0)1993-775235 Fax:
+44-(0)1993-709265 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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