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Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2019: Finalists announced

From entries in English and Afrikaans to isiZulu and Sesotho, here are the 20 finalists for the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2019

02 May 2019 - 11:28 By nb-uitgewers/publishers
The 20 finalists for 2019's Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature have been announced.
The 20 finalists for 2019's Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature have been announced.
Image: Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature

 The biennial Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature award has been a source of local young adult publications since its inception in 1980. Over the years some changes were made to the competition to ensure relevance to readers and the South African literary and social landscape. The most significant change was to open entries to all 11 official languages of SA, thus ensuring that more writers and readers benefit from the competition.

Michelle Cooper, publisher and head of children’s and youth literature at Tafelberg, says: “I cherish each Sanlam award-winning book we’ve published. They represent the best of local writing for young adults. Our latest batch of winners covers themes that are right on trend with international YA (young adult) and I know readers will be enthralled.”

Debut authors compete on level ground against established writers in this anonymously judged competition and some have gone on to succeed as published authors in other genres as a result of winning. With a few exceptions, a Sanlam winner is prescribed in schools regularly and some have been turned into films. Sanlam award-winners have also gone on to win other local literary prizes, like the Media24 Books Literary Awards and the Percy FitzPatrick Prize.

“Sanlam believes that learning provides the foundation for building a world of Wealthsmiths. Our investment in this competition for almost 40 years has resulted in thousands of young people getting access to books ‒ laying the foundation for living their best lives, now and for the next generation,” says Elena Meyer, senior manager of sponsorships at Sanlam.

Sanlam and Tafelberg, an imprint of NB Publishers) are proud to announce this year’s finalists.


• Jayne Bauling from White River, Mpumalanga, with Smoke Across the Sun;
• Jenny Hatton from Lynnwood Glen, Pretoria, with Upstanding;
• Nerine Dorman from Welcome Glen, Simon’s Town, with Sing Down the Stars;
• Sally Partridge from Durbanville, Cape Town, with The Whoevers;
• Shafinaaz Hassim from Polokwane with Nisa Qamar and the Legend of Qawthar; and
• Toby Damon Bennett from Claremont, Cape Town, with The Music Box Blues.


• Annerle Barnard from Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein, with Sindikaat;
• Christina Venter from Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, with E-pos vir Trui;
• Derick van der Walt from Villieria, Pretoria, with Die Toring van Jasmyn;
• Frans Fourie from Strand with Neuk;
• Nerine Ahlers and Aletta Steenkamp from Lynnwood and Waterkloof, Pretoria, with Ek is nog hier; and
• Tertius Janse van Rensburg from Framesby, Port Elizabeth, with Die sindikaat.

African languages:

• Lungile Promise Zwane from Wasbank, KwaZulu-Natal, with Umzabalazo (isiZulu);
• Thembisile Kundlwana from Sebokeng, Vanderbijlpark, with Tata Siyakuxolela (isiXhosa);
• July Innocent Mtsweni from Lindo Park, Pretoria, with Umfelasakhe (Ndebele);
• Thabo Kheswa from Bophelong, Vanderbijlpark, with Haeso ke kae! (Sesotho);
• Mokhwatsi Reuben Maponya from Tzaneen with Makhwatšo (Northern Sotho);
• Othusitse Moses Lobelo from Delareyville, North West, with Mmatla kgomo kodumela (Setswana);
• Mbedzi Nyelisani from Thohoyandou, Limpopo, with U Kondelela (Tshivenda); and
• Musa Aubrey Baloyi from Soweto with Tinsimu To Pfumala Mpfumawulo (Xitsonga).

A gold and silver winner will be selected in each category and announced at an awards ceremony in October 2019. The six prize-winning books will be launched at this event, whereafter authors will visit local schools and festivals as part of a publicity tour. The total prize money amounts to R90,000: R20,000 for the gold winners and R10,000 for the runners-up.