Nineteen-year old Zimbabwean writer, Rutendo Chabikwa, is the winner of the coveted 2012 Golden Baobab Prize in the Rising Writer Category. The prize is awarded annually to African writers of children’s literature and young adult literature.
The other 2012 winners are Nigerian Joy Nwiyi in the Senior Category and Jenny Robson in the Junior Category for their stories “Something for Next Time” and “Wha-Zup Dude?” respectively.
In a brief chat with WIN, Canada-based Rutendo said she felt honoured and believed that this award will launch her to greater heights.
Rutendo won the award for her short stories “Letters from the City” and “A Healing Adventure.” Her love for sharing stories motivates her although she says poetry is her first passion.
“I believe that stories are what brings a people together, they are what unites dreams and reality,” said the young writer who has so much quotable wisdom and hope for her country’s literature.
“I hope that more Zimbabwean authors will emerge, not just in the area of children fiction stories, but in any genre, as writing in our own context helps reaffirm our identity. I encourage young writers to continue writing, whether or not you hope for a big break. One day your story will mark the beginning of a turning point in someone’s life, and what greater joy is there than that of knowing that your story has transformed a life.”
Born in 1994 in Harare, Rutendo is on scholarship at the United World Colleges at Lester B. Pearson College in British Columbia, Canada, where she is studying for an International Baccalaureate.
She becomes the third Zimbabwean writer to win the Golden Baobab Prize in a different category. The other previous Zimbabwean winners are Ivor W. Hartmann who scooped the prize in 2009 with his story “Mr Goop,” written for children between 12 -15 years, and Mirirai Moyo who won the award the following year (2010) with her story “Diki, The Little Earthworm,” written for children between 8-11 years.
Enjoy more works by Rutendo Chabikwa on her blog WORDS MEANT TO CREATE