Zimbabwean novelist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga on October 24, 2021, was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2021 for her artistic work as well as her political commitment. 62-year-old Dangarembga has been fighting against corruption and freedom for years. She is a ‘widely audible voice of Africa in contemporary literature’, the jury noted. In her acceptance speech, she called for a fundamental shift to overcome racial hierarchy and the violence in Zimbabwe.
Dangarembga was chosen by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2021, which has been awarded since 1950. The prize included 25,000 euros ($29,100). With this prestigious German Award, Dangarembga became the first Black woman from Zimbabwe who has won the Peace Prize winner.
Who is Tsitsi Dangarembga?
Tsitsi Dangarembga is a Zimbabwean novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. Born in 1959 in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), she has also been contributing actively towards promoting freedom and women’s rights, and political change in Zimbabwe.
While being introduced at the award ceremony by Auma Obama, who is a sociologist, activist, and half-sister of former US President Barack Obama, said Dangarembga has worked against all odds for the ‘voiceless and freedom of expression’ in Zimbabwe.
In 1988, her debut novel Nervous Conditions was the first to be published in English by a Black woman from Zimbabwe. The book was named as one of the top 100 books in 2018 by BBC. In 2020, her novel This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In 1993, she wrote the story for the film Neria which become one of the most popular films in Zimbabwe.
Dangarembga has also been awarded the PEN Pinter Prize and the PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression in 2021 which honours authors who continue their work despite persecution.
What is Peace Prize of the German Book Trade?
The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade is an international peace prize that is awarded annually by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. The prize has been awarded since 1950 traditionally on the Sunday of the Frankfurt Book Fair which usually takes place in October. The prize includes 25,000 euros.
The Peace Prize acknowledges individuals who have been committed and contributed towards the realization of peace and humanity through their work especially in the field of literature, art, and science.