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Nigerian Writer Lesley Nneka Arimah is the 2019 Winner​ of the Prestigious Caine Prize

Her short story 'Skinned' took home the prize at the 20th edition of the literature award.

The Caine Prize for African Writing, which was launched back in 2000, is perhaps one of the most prestigious literature awards there is for African writers. This year's theme saw writers from across the continent tackling "the ordinary in an extraordinary manner and celebrating the diversity of the African short-story writing tradition for the twentieth edition of the Prize".

After shortlisting five writers from Cameroon, Ethiopia Kenya and Nigeria, Nigeria's Lesley Nneka Arimah's Skinned was crowned the winning short story.


Arimah's Skinned creates an alternate world where young girls who are "ceremonially uncovered" at a certain age must then marry in order to be allowed to be clothed again. Ejem, the main character of the story, is uncovered at the age of 15 but remains "unclaimed" for marriage in her adulthood. The powerful story explores womanhood and bodily autonomy in a refreshing and perhaps even unsettling way.

In her acceptance speech, Arimah urged African writers to continuously center the African gaze. She continued saying:

"When I think of what literature can do, and I think of the ways that literature has changed minds and opened imaginations, I want to say that we African writers must center the African gaze. We must center the Nigerian gaze, the Cameroonian gaze, the Ethiopian gaze, the Kenyan gaze. We need to be writing to and for each other, and we also need to play."

You can read Skinned here.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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