During the 2017 workshop in Tanzania I commissioned translations of four of the 2016 shortlisted stories in to Kiswahili. Elias Mutani and Richard Mabala worked on translations of extracts from Lesley Nneka Arimah's ‘What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky’, Lidudumalingani's ‘Memories we Lost’, Bongani Kona's ‘At your Requiem’ and Abdul Adan's ‘The Lifebloom Gift’.
Both translators, Elias and Richard, worked in partnership with the writers so that they had a full understanding of the work and were able to ask questions about complex meanings and ideas during the process.
Unfortunately Bongani Kona was unable to join us in Tanzania but at a pubic reading in Dar es Salaam, participants Lesley Nneka Arimah, Abdul Adan and Lidudumalingani read excerpts from their 2016 shortlisted stories in English at the Pan African Writers’ Lounge on April 1st 2017. Translations were first read in Kiswahili by Baraka Chedego and Zuhura and an interesting discussion about the nuances and challenges of translation followed with questions from the audiences to both the authors and the translators.
After the workshop I contacted NS Koenings and she agreed to translate the whole of Tope Folarin's story ‘Genesis’, so that all five of the 2016 shortlisted stories would be translated in to Kiswahili and we could post them up online for others to read.
It was an extremely interesting experiment for the translators and it is one that I hope inspires others to translate Caine Prize works in to African languages so that the stories can be shared more widely.
Written by Dr. Lizzy Attree, Director of the Caine Prize for African Writing