A Southern African writer Lidudumalingani, has been named this year’s winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, “Memories We Lost.” It was published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You.
The winner was announced at a dinner held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
As a result of being a Caine Prize winner, Lidudumalingani will be accorded the opportunity to take up one month residence at Georgetown University as a ‘Writer-in-Residence’ at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
Coupled with a £10,000 prize money, Lidudumalingani will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress and will also take part in Cape Town’s Open Book Festival, Nairobi’s Storymoja and Nigeria’s Ake Festival.
Lidudumalingani combines writing, filmmaking and photography, currently based in Cape Town, he was born in the Eastern Cape province in a village called Zikhovane.
The winning story, “Memories We Lost,” explores mental health through the relationship of two sisters in a South African village, one of whom is schizophrenic and the other her protector. The sister’s situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.
According to Lidudumalingani, in an interview with The Daily Vox, his inspiration for the story:
“The first might have been mental illness, or at least the way in which villagers speak and deal with it. Then there were conversations with friends, texts and visuals that suddenly were on my radar, memories of extended family members who struggled with mental illness – many of them on and off and at varying degrees.”
The Annual Caine Prize is awarded to an African writer of a short story that was published in English. The panel of judges for this year consisted of names such as, Adjoa Andoh, Muthoni Garland, Robert J. Patterson, Delia Jarrett-Macauley and Mary Watson.
Five writers were shortlisted for the 2016 finals: Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Abdul Adan(Somalia/Kenya), Tope Folarin (Nigeria) and Bongani Kona(Zimbabwe) and the winner Lidudumalingani.
According to the prize chair, “The winning story explores a difficult subject – how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia,”
“This is a troubling piece, depicting the great love between two young siblings in a beautifully drawn Eastern Cape. Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists.”
Click on this link “Memories We Lost.” To read Lidudumalingani’s winning story in full and you may also listen to it as read by Tseliso Monaheng in the SoundCloud player below.