Children's Literature in Southern Africa



Sanlam and Tafelberg are proud to announce the finalists for this year’s Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature.

Logo: NB Publishers

Six finalists are included in each category: English, Afrikaans and African languages.

The total prize money amounts to R54 000: R12 000 for the winner (gold) and R6 000 for the runner-up (silver) in each category.

The finalists in the English category are:

  • Nick Wood from London;
  • Nerine Dorman from Welcome Glen, Cape Town;
  • Lesley Beake from Stanford;
  • Joanne Hichens from Muizenberg;
  • Erna Müller from Windhoek; and
  • Jayne Bauling from White River.

The finalists in the Afrikaans category are:

  • Nellie Alberts from Calvinia;
  • Annerle Barnard from Bloemfontein;
  • Jan Vermeulen from Despatch;
  • Carin Krahtz from Centurion;
  • Riana Scheepers from Wilderness; and
  • Jelleke Wierenga from Napier.

African languages contenders are:

Nguni languages

  • Dumisani Hlatswayo from Cosmo City, Johannesburg;
  • Siphatheleni Kula from Butterworth (Eastern Cape); and
  • Thabi Nancy Mahamba from KwaNdebele (Mpumalanga).

Sotho languages

  • Mathete Piet Molope from The Tramshed, Pretoria;
  • Thabo Kheswa from Bophelong, Vanderbijlpark; and
  • Lebohang Jeanet Pheko from Meloding, Virginia.

Tshivenda languages

  • Lazarus Mamafha from Kutama, Zimbabwe; and
  • Thilivhali Thomas Mudau from Rosslyn, Pretoria.

Xitsonga languages

  • Musa Given Sithole from Kempton Park.

The winners will be announced in October 2017 and the prize-winning books will be available in bookshops and in e-book format shortly thereafter.

Logo: Sanlam

The Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature was launched in 1980 and is awarded every second year.

This year Sanlam introduced the “250 Words a Day” campaign to make the competition more accessible to young and upcoming writers. By joining the “250 Words a Day” group on Facebook, entrants had access to a panel of renowned authors who acted as writing mentors. To motivate would-be authors to complete their manuscripts before the closing date of 7 October 2016, they were encouraged to write 250 words every day.

Logo: Sanlam “250 Words a Day” campaign

Author and mentor Paige Nick says she loved being part of the project.

The thought of writing a whole book all at once is overwhelming, but breaking it down into chunks makes it much more doable. Congratulations to every writer who finished a piece and submitted it to the competition, it's a huge achievement.”

Apart from making the competition more interactive and reaching a broader audience, the total amount of entries grew by 60 from the previous round.

Number of entries per language:

  • English: 55
  • Afrikaans: 33
  • Zulu: 14
  • Venda: 7
  • Xhosa: 7
  • Xitsonga: 5
  • Ndebele: 4
  • Sesotho: 4
  • Setswana: 3
  • Sepedi: 2

"As Wealthsmiths, we have a deep understanding of and respect for what it takes to turn the twenty-six letters of the alphabet into something of great value. The Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature celebrates writers’ ability to make the most of what they have. Their books create enriching experiences for our youth and have the ability to take readers on journeys that will make them cry, or scare them, and to places that will stay with them forever," says Elena Meyer (Senior Manager: Sponsorships for Sanlam).

Media enquiries:

  • Hevette le Grange
  • Publicist: Dictionaries and children's and youth books
  • Phone: 021 406 3414 / 083 234 5774
  • Email: hevette.legrange@nb.co.za