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South African Writer Lidudumalingani Wins 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing

The 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing goes to South African writer Lidudumalingani for his mental health short story, "Memories We Lost"

South African writer Lidudumalingani, we’re excited to report, is this year’s winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, "Memories We Lost," published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015).


The prize was announced at a dinner held earlier this evening at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. As a Caine Prize winner, Lidudumalingani will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. In addition to a £10,000 prize, he’ll also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress and receive invitations to take part in Cape Town’s Open Book Festival, Nairobi’s Storymoja and Nigeria’s Ake Festival.

A writer, filmmaker and photographer who, alongside many accolades, has contributed to Okayafrica, Lidudumalingani was born in the Eastern Cape province in a village called Zikhovane. He’s currently based in Cape Town.

His winning story, "Memories We Lost," explores mental health through the relationship of two sisters in a South African village, one of whom is schizophrenic and the other her protector. The sister’s situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.

In a conversation with The Daily Vox, Lidudumalingani touched on the inspiration for the story. “The first might have been mental illness, or at least the way in which villagers speak and deal with it. Then there were conversations with friends, texts and visuals that suddenly were on my radar, memories of extended family members who struggled with mental illness – many of them on and off and at varying degrees.”

Lidudumalingani, winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing. Source: The Caine Prize website.

The Caine Prize is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English. This year’s panel of judges consisted of Delia Jarrett-Macauley, Adjoa Andoh, Muthoni Garland, Robert J. Patterson and Mary Watson. Five writers made the 2016 shortlist: Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Tope Folarin (Nigeria) and Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe) and of course Lidudumalingani.

“The winning story explores a difficult subject - how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia,” said the prize chair, Jarrett-Macauley. “This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists.”

You can read Lidudumalingani’s winning story in full here and listen to it read by Tseliso Monaheng in the SoundCloud player above.

Big up, Lidudumalingani!

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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