December 16, 2007


Filed under: free state black literature,literature — ABRAXAS @ 11:28 am

By Flaxman Qoopane

It was a great honour for me to attend the 3rd South African Literary Awards (SALA) ceremony held at the Vodaworld, Midrand in Johannesburg on 8 December 2007, after I was invited by the wRite associates.

Many national writers, poets, literary critics, playwrights, TV stars, publishers, journalists and musicians were at the occasion. I have always been keen to meet some of the writers whose work I had read. Some of those writers that i met for the first time included Dr Gomolemo Mokae, Ahmed Essop, Maishe Maponya, Nape Motana, Prof Stephen Gray, etc.

ahmed essop

Among those writers and poets that i have met before who also attended the event, Included Winston Mohapi, Jessica Mbangeni, Fred Vonani Bila, Chris Van Wyk, Sabata-Mpho Mokae, just to mention a few.

The SALA ceremony was a glittering occasion with many guests including Tselane Tambo (daughter of the late Oliver Tambo, former ANC President) Glenn Cowley (Publisher from University of Kwazulu Natal) Mark De Bito (poet from the USA), Stewart Vambe, Belinda Mbeta (Zimbabwean writers) Dan Robbertse, TV star in Bay of Plenty on SABC 1 on Wednesday and Gita Pather from Ochre Media, Emily Selebano (short story writer), from Bloemfontein, Limakatso Hlalele a poet from Welkom, just to name a few.

There were many books and literary magazines that were displayed; some of the authors signed their books after they were bought by some of the book worms.

After the guests had converged inside the VodaWorld hall, they were entertained by a DVD tribute to the peerless Lucky Dube the late Reggae legend.

Motsumi Makhene, Painter and poet was the Programme Director at the awards ceremony. Morakabe Raks Seakhoa the Executive Director of the wRite associates welcomed every body at the ceremony and he officially opened the ceremony. Martin Dlamini from Nutrend Publishers said that his company is to work in partnership with SALA to publish new books.


Thami Ntetheni from the SABC represented Advocate Dali Mpofu, the CEO of the SABC. He said, “It is an honor that the SABC is Associated with SALA. It is also a great pleasure to sit at the same table with the literary giant Nadine Gordimer (Winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature), I am also moved by the names that are going to be honored this evening, I am pleased that there is a revival in our literature, and a beginning to instill a culture of reading among our people”.


Jessica Mbangeni, a respected praise-singer mesmerized the guests with her performance. In her poem recited in Xhosa language, she was saluting and praising the writers for playing a great role in alerting the world about crimes of colonialism and apartheid in Africa. And for correcting the distortion written by the colonialists, and the poem was also dedicated to the authors for reclaiming our history.

Prof. Nhlanhla Maake said that “Writing is a Lonely and a painful affair, and we came from a long way as writers we have not been doing well in publishing books in African languages. We need to create critical books that will be classical”.

N.G. W. Botha, Arts and Culture Deputy-Minister told the guests “I congratulate those who were nominated and those who will be given awards this evening, the awards ceremony is part of the nation building. Our country has many stories to tell, it is important that we should tell our stories to the young ones. Our literary industry is developing as we witness the emergence of new writers. Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile, Poet Laureate 2006, he is engaging young writers in literature in the country, like him I hope we will also involve emerging authors in literature. We want to see more learners taking a career in literature”.

Jazz musician, Themba Mkhize and Friends moved the audience as they strut their staff at the prestigious ceremony.


The Literary Lifetime Achievement Awards for 2007 were awarded to Felix Thuketana, Max Marhanele, Athol Fugard, Stephen Gray, Mongane Wally Serote, Ahmed Essop, Sindiwe Magona, Gladys Thomas, Oswald Mtshali and Mafika Gwala.


Three Literary Posthumous Awards honored Phaswane Mpe, Sipho Sepamla and Dalene Mathee. The legendary writer Nadine Gordimer said “I am delighted to welcome the project the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award (For writing in African Languages) named after me by SALA. Nadine Gordimer encouraged South Africans to write more books in African Languages and develop a culture of reading. The first recipient of the award is Otty Nxumalo.


Juta Duiker, the father of the late writer K. Sello Duiker, gave a brief background about his family and also about the novels that his son published including 13 Cents and the Quiet Violence of Dreams before he died on 19 January 2005. He congratulated the organizers of SALA for honoring his dead son by naming the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Award (For Young Novelist). Bruce Ngobeni was the winner of the award. Bongani Madondo of the Sunday time and Victor Dlamini of SA Fm both got the Literary Journalism Awards.

Mothobi Mutloatse in his closing remarks urged the electronic and the print media to give coverage to our writers.


read pallo jordan’s speech given at the inaugural south african literary awards dinner in polokwane on 12/12/05 here


  1. Raselebeli Khotseng Says:

    Well done Ntate Qoopane! These days you are really making your presence felt. And what about that great photo you took with the Nobel laureate at the occasion?

  2. Pule lechesa Says:

    Fantastic. But if Mr Flaxman’s photo together with Ms Gordimer is not used here, the great man will fight all of us!

  3. Omoseye Bolaji Says:

    Well – at least Flaxman is a very happy man now, telling all in Bloem about this piece now!

  4. Bongani Motau Says:


    I am a young aspiring writer and would like to know more about SALA. Kindly send me more information about who can submitt literature and how to submitt.

    Kind Regards