b. 1956, Eastwood, Pretoria, South Africa
novelist and academic
The South African writer Nhlanhla Maake is one of the most distinguished authors in the Sotho (Sesotho) language. Maake, who was born in Eastwood, Pretoria, started his literary career with three radio plays broadcast by Radio Sesotho between 1975 and 1980. A translation of H.C. Andersen's Dipale le Ditshomo (Stories and Tales) followed in 1987. Maake's development in both linguistic and literary studies was enhanced by his membership in various music, drama, and arts groups in the 1980s, and his later participation in editorial committees on African languages and cultures, as well as his extensive involvement in the study and teaching of literature, which culminated in the award of a doctorate from the University of South Africa (UNISA). Of the thirteen books he wrote between 1991 and 1999, five novels have won the Maskew Miller Longman's African Heritage Literary Award: Sejamonna ha se mo Qete (That Which Eats Man Does Not Destroy Him) (1993), Ke Pkethisitse Ditaelo tsa Hao (I Have Fulfilled Your Commands) (1994), Kweetsa ya Pelo ya Motho (The Depth of the Heart of Man) (1994), Mme (Mother) (1995), and Ta se nang Sekaja Mmae a Tele (He Who Has No Strength His Mother Should Give Up) (1996). Kweetsa ya Pelo ya Motho (The Depth of the Heart of Man) also won the M-Net Book Prize in 1995. Maake is also the author of Matshohlo a Dingolwa tsa Basotho (The Best of Sesotho Literature) (1993), three monographs that critique selected Sesotho books, and Hlwaya Tsebe (Open Your Ears) (1993), a handbook on the study of radio drama.
b. 1966, Congo-Brazzaville
poet, novelist, and essayist
Born and raised in Congo-Brazzaville, the poet, novelist, and essayist Alain Mabanckou has spent most of his adult life in France. His poetry explores the pain of exile and the profound links between exile, loss, and the search for "another" country. Mabanckou has written five collections of poetry; one of these, L'Usure des lendemains (The Wearing Away of Tomorrow) (1995) was awarded the Prix de la Société des Poètes Français. His first novel, Bleu-Blanc-Rouge (Blue-White-Red) (1998), which was awarded the Grand Prix d'Afrique Noir, is an original and complex narrative of African migration to Europe. It tells the story of Massala-Massala, an African migrant who suffers a series of mishaps in Europe and ends up in prison before being forced to return to Brazzaville, his original place of departure. L'Enterrement de ma mère (My Mother's Funeral) (2000) is a powerful short narrative written for beginners studying the French language and Francophone culture.