Kaka Mokakale from the North-West University’s (NWU’s) subject group Setswana was announced the winner in the Best Poetry category of the 2023 South African Literary Awards (SALA).
The awards were made after the Africa Century International African Writers conference that took place on the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus.
Kaka competed against six nominees out of more than 30 entries, and his anthology of poetry – TSWINA YA POKO – were announced the winning entry.
Founded by wRite associates, in partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture in 2005, the main aim of the South African Literary Awards (SALA) is to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as ground-breaking producers and creators of literature.
The awards honour living literary practitioners and legends, and – where appropriate – others posthumously. To date, the SALAs has honoured 133 authors. They include – among others – 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.
For 2023, a 34-person strong panel of judges spent months rigorously reading the 219 entries that answered to the call for submissions in November 2022. Out of these entries, 30 titles made it to the shortlist.
Kaka says he is grateful to have been recognised.
“Thank you to the organisers for hosting this prestigious awards ceremony. I would also like to thank my colleagues and my publisher, Penebotshelo Writers Foundation, for helping me make this dream come true. I also would like to thank to my mother, my siblings and my beautiful two girls, Atang and Atisang,” he adds.
Kaka also co-authored Ntime O mphele Ngwana (Setswana: Puo Ya Gae), a book used by Grade 12s. He compiled a Setswana dictionary published by Nutrend Publishers in 2008 and a Setswana-English-Setswana dictionary for MacMillan, BoSetswana. He has edited, proofread and assessed numerous Setswana books before and has also written a series of books called Lesedi.
Kaka Mokakale was announced the winner in the Best Poetry category of the 2023 South African Literary Awards (SALA).