A student at the Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley has bagged another international literary award. The award is for her unpublished book titled “Honey Bee” which is inspired by historical events on the continent.
The awards were founded by New Zealand-based Nigerian novelist, Myles Idoko, author of ‘Black River: An Account of Christmas Preacher’.
Sisca Julius, 23-years-old, was born into a literary family as both her siblings are published authors.
Out of four finalists from Africa, the judges selected her fictional book.
Her fifth award-winning story focuses on the preservation of the indigenous Nama language.
“It’s about a family when the colonists came, they took this family to work on a farm and how every time the father would speak Nama, then his master would turn his ear and he was not allowed to speak it. So he didn’t want his children to speak it and I think this is how we all lost our language at the end,” says Julius.
Although she can’t speak the language, she fears its extinction.
“I think it is important because I can’t speak Nama at all. My grandmother never taught us and it feels like such a loss. So I am doing my own research and learning on my own, I don’t want us to lose our language.”
Julius’ driving force is her creative writing lecturer Sabata-Mpho Mokae, who is also an author.
Mokae says stories like these are of utmost importance.
“One hopes that there will be measures in place, to stop languages from dying out. South Africa right now is in a critical space where we are rebuilding a broken nation, and part of rebuilding a broken nation is making sure that people’s identity is kept intact, and one of the ways to do that is through language,” says Creative Writing Lecturer, Sabata-Mpho Mokae.
Nama chief Paul Swartbooi has hailed the author’s efforts in raising awareness about the ancient San language.
It’s not clear when Julius will receive her award but for now her focus is on penning more stories.