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Leading arts & politics collective Chimurenga has been awarded the Vera List Center for Art and Politics’ 2018-20 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice. The announcement was made at the New School, New York, where the Center is based. Named after the New York dealer Jane Lombard, the $25,000 Prize “recognizes one social justice–minded artist or art collective every other year.”

Founded in 2002 by Cameroonian writer Ntone Edjabe, Chimurenga—which means “liberation struggle” in Zimbabwe’s Shona language—is a multi-form platform based in South Africa. Among its projects are the culture, art and politics publication Chimurenga Magazine, the quarterly broadsheet The Chronic, the online resource of collected independent pan-African periodicals and personal books Chimurenga Library, the biennial publication of urban life, Africa-style, African Cities Reader, and the online radio station and pop-up studio Pan African Space Station (PASS). The projects are meant “not just to produce new knowledge, but rather to express the intensities of our world, to capture those forces and to take action,” and collectively they have started conversations about African cultures, including the rewriting of the continent’s history, the role technology plays in its future, and its music scene. Their motto has been “Who No Know Go Know”—the ones who do not know will know.

The Prize jury comprised: Carin Kuoni, the director and chief curator of the List Center; Richard William Hill, the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver; curator Nontobeko Ntombela; Uzma Z. Rizvi, an associate professor in Pratt University’s Anthropology and Urban Studies department; Maya Wiley, the senior vice president for social justice at the New School; and the chair Koyo Kouoh, artistic director of RAW Material Company in Dakar, Senegal. Chimurenga’s work, they said, “reflects on the collective political histories and memories in the pan-African community that is world-making.”

Finalists for the prize were Emily and Annemarie Jacir, Tiffany Chung, Liz Johnson Artur, and Naine Terena de Jesus.

Chimurenga’s latest issue is The Invention of Zimbabwe. One of its pieces, “Home Means Nothing to Me,” by Tinashe Mushakavanhu in collaboration with Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Simba Mafundikwa, is currently shortlisted for the 2018 Brittle Paper Award for Creative Nonfiction. Last year, another piece from the magazine, “Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams: A History of Creative Writing Instruction in East Africa,” by Billy Kahora, was shortlisted for the inaugural Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces.

Read up on our coverage of Chimurenga’s work over the years.

Brittle Paper congratulates Chimurenga.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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