Winners of Mandela Writing Contest Announced
Abuja Writers’ Forum in collaboration with the South African High Commission organised writing contests to commemorate Nelson Mandela as part of activities for the 2016 Mandela Day Celebration in Nigeria. The President of the Abuja Writers’ Forum, Dr. Emman Usman Shehu mentioned that the competition was envisioned to encourage the celebration of works that are relevant to society and show the need for good leadership, which Mandela epitomised. The Coordinator of the IDPs Skills Acquisition Centre, New Kuchingoro Camp, Lynette Johnson, who also partnered with the Abuja Writers’ Forum for the IDPs writing contest noted that it was the first of many steps in recognising areas where children in the camps could hone their writing skills.
The winners were announced on 30th July at an event in Abuja. Amina Aboje emerged winner with her entry Alone in the member’s poetry category Ololade Oye Ajayi was first runner-up with Allocation and Su’eddie Agema’s Three sides of confinement was third placed. Su’eddie Agema’s entry Washing the earth emerged winner in the short story category and John Bosco Ezenwa’s Prince of the City was runner up. Olumide Olaniyan and George Ndukwu’s entries received honourable mentions.
The IDP category has two age and gender based subcategories. In category A, for ages 16–19, Bishop Philemon emerged winner while Andrew Isa and Abubakar Abdulraman were first and second runners-up respectively. Patience James emerged winner of the female category, Rakiya Simon was first runner-up and Hauwa Ibrahim was second runner-up. In category B, for ages 3– 15, Ashifa John Musa placed first, Ibrahim Simon was first runner-up and Rakiya Simon was second runner-up. Rakiya Simon emerged winner, Hauwa Ibrahim was first runner-up and Ladi Emmanuel was second runner-up.
Speaking at the event, the competition’s short story category winner, Su’eddie Vershima Agema, expressed his joys, he also thanked the organisers for giving consideration to internally displaced teenagers. He spoke of his belief that this will encourage the teenagers to write more confidently and hoped that more opportunities will avail itself to them for talent development. Amina Aboje who won the poetry category said she was honoured by the prize and hoped it would inspire others.
There were performances by David Adzer, Nkemneme Andy Chukwunonye who read from his poetry collection, Letters to Mandela. An excerpt from the Australian author, Margaret Hepworth’s Clarity in Time was read by her representative, Mrs. Nwanneka Nwala. The award winning poet and founder of Words, Rhymes and Rhythm Publishing and College of Poetry, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (KIS) performed three poems about Mandela. He read the last Not before the flashbulb crew in collaboration with Su’eddie Vershima Agema. Kukogho stated that ‘Not Before the Flashbulb Crew’ was written in remembrance of the year several pressmen had gathered to get the scoop of Mandela’s death in 2012 but were disappointed as the leader defied death till a year later.
The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Nelson Mandela foundation and lovers of literature and the arts.