The winners of the 2021 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award have been announced. They are South African poet Kwazi Ndlangisa in first place for his poetry “Camagu,” and the poets Mmabore Gladys Mogashoa and Zambia Madinana in second and third place respectively.

The winners were announced at a prize ceremony held in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, November 16th 2021.

Named after South African intellectual, politician and author Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, the award is administered the Jacana Literary Foundation in collaboration with the European Union. It annually rewards up to three works of poetry that “reflect the complex and nuanced truths of life in South Africa.”

Ndlangisa is a published poet and translator based in UMzimkhulu, KZN. His work explores themes of African spirituality. For his overall win, he received a cash prize of R6000. The second and third runner-ups received R4,000 and R2,000 respectively. All the longlisted poems will appear in the 10th volume of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology.

At the ceremony, convening judge Dr. Mongane Wally Serote commended the European Union’s generous support towards a prize that seeks to promote literature in African languages. The European Union Ambassador Dr. Riina Kionka equally re-affirmed the European Union’s willingness to champion initiatives like this one, emphasizing on the relevance of preserving African languages.

The judging panel for the 2021 edition comprised Mongane Wally Serote (chair), Goodenough Mashego, (Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi), Pieter Odendaal (Afrikaans), Dr Innocentia Mhlambi (IsiZulu and IsiXhosa), Aubrey Neo Sehlala (Tshivenda), and Rustum Kozain (English).

Congratulations to the winners!