Category : First Time Published Author Award
Author : Moses Shimo Seletisha
Book : Tšhutšhumakgala – Tša Bophelo bja Tlokwe Frans Maserumule
Moses Seletisha achieves something many contemporary Sepedi authors try but fail to do; stay true to the language and its rich heritage regardless of an invasive pressure to conform to what has been recently observed as colloquial degradation of African languages. He refuses to bow to European linguistic hegemony as he weaves a literary biographical rug about the life and times of Tlokwe Frans Maserumule; freedom fighter, political activist and community leader.
Tšhutšhumakgala is a literary success par excellent. Its plot is thick with suspense and appeals to pathos; the narrative flows and is rich with idioms, proverbs and metaphors. Seletisha is the reincarnation of Sepedi literature luminaries such as NS Puleng, OK Matsepe and many others. The story explored in Tšhutšhumakagala is one that, if it was not pursued with such gusto by Seletisha would have ended up another tale of victorious lions that failed to be told. Such bravery and confidence in both fringe stories and ‘fringe’ African languages, fused with impeccable storytelling deserve somes form of recognition.
That is why I recommend the South African Literary Award First Time Published award for 2017 to Moses Shimo Seletisha; a literary giant in the making.