A host of judges announced Rhodasi Mwale as the 2020 winner of the Kalemba prize for her short fictional story that will see her walk away with $1000.
According to the Zambia Times, Rhodasi’s story of “If It Ain’t Broke” is a story that revolves around an individual who is struggling with mental health and depression.
A quote from her short story “Dr Theo assured me, in a stern, noncommittal tone, that the world wasn’t out to get me and that my children weren’t monsters sent to torment me,” she writes. “He scribbled a prescription and shuffled me out of his offices as fast as he could that I felt rejected. Had it come to this? Even a man I paid to listen wasn’t interested anymore. It was time to find a new doctor.
Rhodasi Mwale is a student of Biomedical Sciences and also a student of Infectious Diseases at the University of Zambia. According to her, she was inspired by some of the books that she read during her younger days.
She remembers “curling up on a bean bag in the library, in Grade 3, reading illustrated volumes of the Adventures of Tintin. In Grade 5, I read Eleanor Hoffman’s Mischief in Fez, and it has stayed with me since.”
Mwale who is 31, was not short on excitement for having won the prize but to her, even just the mere nomination meant so much. “Just being shortlisted is everything because it means that I do belong on the African market. There is such a profundity to African literature that I’ve always felt that my voice is a tad too informal, my prose too simplistic for the market.”
Rhodasi Mwale was not short on excitement for having won the prize
Mwale, who also writes under the name, Dhasi Mwale, has several fictions coming up including her debut novel, Note Worthy by Belonging Books. Other works are scheduled to appear in The Scarlet Leaf Review and Bewildering Stories.
Her story beat five others to win the prize including, Chowa Chikumbi, A Silent Cry; Vanessa Nakayange, I’ll Keep You Safe; Samuel Zimba, Junta or Divorce; Mukuka Nkunde, Daze and Otensia Kapinga’s After the Storm.
A total of 231 stories competed for the 2020 Kalemba Prize, which has now entered its third edition ever since it was inaugurated.
The Kalemba Prize is a home-grown initiative celebrating Zambian writing. It is funded and administered by Ukusefya WORDS, publishers of the national bestselling book, Insoselo na Mapinda. The 2021 Kalemba Prize will open later in the year.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.