For the first time a Sepedi poem wins the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award
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Moses Seletisha’s Sepedi poem ‘Mahlalerwa’ has won the 2017 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award – the first time a poem in a language other than English has won the prize.

The Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award is in its seventh year, with previous winners all writing in English: Dawn Garisch for ‘Miracle’ (2011), Siddiq Khan for ‘Anthem for the old nations’ (2012), Kobus Moolman for ‘Daily Duty’ (2013), Thabo Jijana for ‘Children Watching Old People’ (2014), Athol Williams for ‘Streetclass Diseases’ (2015), Athol Williams for ‘Visit at Tea Time’ (2016).

Seletisha was announced as this year’s winner at a private event at the 2017 Nirox WORDS Festival. He wins R6,000.

This year’s prize judges were Athol Williams, Goodenough Mashego, Mongane Wally Serote, Pieter Odendaal and Koleka Putuma.

Serote had this to say about the language variety on this year’s longlist: ‘There is a mystery in the poems; all of them are mysterious. It is not the Afrikaans, English, Sesotho, Sepedi, isiZulu or isiXhosa in them which is mysterious. It is the art in the poems.’

In alphabetical order, the three shortlisted poems for 2017 were:

  • ‘Coligny Sunflowers Near Scotland Section, Tlhabologang Township’ by Jim Pascual Agustin (English)
  • ‘Eerste mense’ by René Bohnen (Afrikaans)
  • ‘Mahlalerwa’ by Moses Seletisha (Sepedi)




Categories South Africa

Tags 2017 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award Athol Williams Awards Goodenough Mashego Jim Pascual Agustin Koleka Putuma Mongane Wally Serote Moses Seletisha News Pieter Odendaal Poetry René Bohnen Sepedi Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award

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