South African Literary Awards 2023 winners announced.

South African Literary Awards 2023 winners announced.

The winners of the South African Literary Awards were announced at the University of North West, Potchefstroom on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

The South African Literary Awards, popularly referred to as the SALAs, have honoured many authors since they were founded in 2005. Winning writers and poets have included Es’kia Mphahlele, Nadine Gordimer, Miriam Tlali, Lauretta Ngcobo, Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile, Wally Mongane Serote, Sindiwe Magona, Zakes Mda, Panashe Chigumadzi, Zukiswa Wanner, Sihle Khumalo, Nuruddin Farah, Yewande Omotoso, Sifiso Mzobe, Sabata Mpho Mokae, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers.

The SALAs, organised by wRite Associates, honour writing and writers in all South African official languages across nine categories. For 2023, a 34-strong panel of judges of the South African Literary Awards (SALA) spent months rigorously reading the over 200 books that answered to the Call for Submissions issued in November 2022. Out of the 219 submissions received, 30 titles made it to the shortlist announced on Monday, October 16.

The winners were revealed to the public at the Africa Century International African Writers Conference. They are

Children’s Literature Award

  • Sinathi Mpukwana, Unakho
  • Molebatsi Bosilong, Montsane le Motho
  • Philip de Vos, Tokkelossiebossie en ander dol gedoentes
  • Claudette Browne Storrar, Nelly and Sam Thwala


Sana, I am an award winner. Thanks to SALA! Sibong’asphezi We are thankful for the opportunity! 🎊🎉🙏 Unakho!

Sinathi Mpukwana

This morning, I would like to thank the Almighty for setting me on the path of Kabelo Kgatea. Dancers, this distance is for us. Thank you to my parents where they sleep, family, and friends for your support and support.

Molebatsi Bosilong

First Time Published Award

  • Ayanda Chris Mntwapi, Bohlulwe Kukusa
  • Ntloro Charlotte Pebane, Lerato la Lepheko
  • Shevlyn Mottai, Across the Kala Pani


I thank the Ngqeze, Qhekru, Mntuwaphi (grandfather of great-grandfather) Veli who gave birth to Sibece (grandfather, Patuse’s twin) for coming to Mbuyiselo, who gave birth to me. YOU WILL NEVER BE A TURN IN MANGQOSINI- never!

Ayanda Chris Mntwapi

Youth Literature Award

  • Annelie Ferreira, Dit het alles begin met ‘n hond
  • Kobate John Sekele, Makgoma A Dihlong
  • Onke Mazibuko, The Second Verse
  • Mihlali Blackie, Ukuzazi Ukuzithemba Nokuzamkela

Fundani, Vincent, Lihle and Sandria are SO happy to be winners of the South African Literary Award for Youth Literature. I am very proud of them 🙂

Annelie Ferreira

k. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

  • Dimakatso David Mokwena, Here Comes the Gay King
Dimakatso David Mokwena (right) receives his award
Dimakatso David Mokwena (right) receives his award

I would like to thank the Department of Arts, Sports, and Culture, the wRite Associates as well as the University of North West. I would also love to thank my mum for supporting my dream of being a writer… Mum, I made out here in the world. I would like to dedicate this award to our brothers and sisters in Uganda who have to live under one of the harshest pieces of legislation in the world, the so-called “anti-homosexuality act.”  I see to these guys that this award shows that who you are is valid and you don’t have to apologise for who you are. You need to continue living in your light.

Dimakatso David Mokwena

Poetry Award

  • Kaka Mokakale, Tswina ya poko
  • Anelisa Thengimfene, Amajingiqhiw’ entlalo
  • Michèle Betty, Dark Horse

Congratulations to you! In my poetry book “Social authorities for winning South African Literary Awards at North West University yesterday. 🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊🎊💃💃💃💃❤

Anelisa Thengimfene

Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

  • Terry-Ann Adams – White Chalk
Terry Ann Adams (second from left) receives her award.
Terry Ann Adams (second from left) receives her award.

My first story in White Chalk, Rock a Bye, Baby, was my attempt to make sense of one of my worst memories. Then I wrote The Ouens, a story based on the collective memory of boyhood and the very painful collective memory of Nathaniel Julies. I never could have dreamed that my collection about memory and identity would be awarded by both the HSS Awards and the South African Literary Awards. This is out of this world. I didn’t do a dedication in the book so I’ll do one here: I dedicate White Chalk and it’s awards to my ancestors, to their memories, always to my people Coloured people of Johannesburg, to women, to queer people, to disabled people, to me.

Terry-Ann Adams

Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award

  • Siphiwo Mahala, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi, a Biography
  • Mandla J Radebe, The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo
Siphiwo Mahala
Siphiwo Mahala

I’m thrilled to share that my book Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi won the Best Creative Non-Fiction category at the SA Literary Awards

Siphiwo Mahala

Long Live Mzala Nxumalo ✊🏿 Thanks to Jacana Media #SALAAwards

Mandla J Radebe

Novel Award

  • Sue Nyathi, An Angel’s Demise
  • Thivhusiwi G Tshindane Tshivhulax, Hone Hu Tshi Tea U Maliwa Nga Vhugai?
  • Kobate John Sekele, Re Hwile la Pitsana


So I bagged my second literary award for #AnAngelsDemise @PanMacmillanSA at the #salaawards2023. Thank you @wRite_Associate , the founders & creators of the South African Literary Awards for creating this platform & to the sponsors @SportArtsCultur @theNWU

Sue Nyathi

Posthumous Literary Award

  • Seetsele Modiri Molema, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje: Morata Baabo

Chairperson’s Literary Award

  • Elinor Sisulu – Body of Work

Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

  • Pitika Ntuli – Body of Work
  • Diana Ferrus – Body of Work


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