Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2023 shortlist announced

Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature 2023 shortlist announced

The shortlisted manuscripts of the Safal-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature have been announced today, Monday, January 15, 2024.

The Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature recognises writing in poetry and prose in the Kiswahili language. It is supported by Safal Group, through its subsidiaries Mabati Rolling Mills of Kenya, ALAF Tanzania, the Africana Studies Center at Cornell University, and the Ngugi wa Thiong’o Foundation. Founded by Dr Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Cornell University) and Dr Lizzy Attree, it has been conferred to Dotto Daudi Rangimoto and Salum Makamba in 2022, Halfani Sudy, Moh’d Omar Juma, and Mbwana Kidato (2021), Lello Mmassy and Mohamed Songoro (2019), Zainab Alwi Baharoon and Jacob Ngumbau (2018), Ali Hilal Ali and Dotto Rangimoto (2017) and Idrissa Haji Abdalla and Hussein Wamaywa and Ahmed Hussein Ahmed (2016). In 2020, the prize took a hiatus.

The jury for 2023 features Prof Kyallo W. Wamitila (University of Nairobi) who chairs alongside Dkt. Zuhura Badru (University of Dodoma) and Bwana Ali Mwalim Rashid (State University of Zanzibar). They announced the shortlist today saying that the submissions were many and varied, attesting to the plethora of talented creative writers in East Africa writing in Kiswahili. 

Prof Kyallo W. Wamitila the chair said, “This is something to be grateful about and augurs well regarding the future of Kiswahili literature. The idea to come up with this award, actualise and to sustain it is a major boon to young, aspiring as well as accomplished authors since it gives them a very good platform to show what they can do.”

The shortlists for 2023 feature;


  • Philipo Oyaro, Dunia Duara (Tanzania)
  • Nicholas Ogal, Salome Anaishi (Kenya)
  • Ahmad Simba, Safari Ya Maisha (Tanzania)


  • Fatuma Salim, Changa La Macho (Tanzania)
  • Lenard Mtesigwa, Ndani Ya Subira Kichwangomba (Tanzania)
  • John Karithi, Ushairi Wa Maisha Ya Kesho (Kenya)

Short story collections

  • Edwin Omindo, Mtoto Wa Mama Na Hadithi Nyingine (Kenya)
  • Stallone Joyfully, Koti La Karani Na Hadithi Nyingine (Tanzania)

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on February 9, 2024. The total proposed awards of 15,000 US dollars will see first in fiction and poetry getting US$ 5,000 each while the runners-up in each genre get US$2,500.

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