Pearson South Africa hosted the ninth annual Maskew Miller Longman (MML) Literature Awards on Wednesday, 25 November 2015 in Cape Town to announce the winners of this national literature competition. Award-winning South African children's author, Dianne Case was the guest speaker at this year’s Awards ceremony.

The competition judges had the difficult decision of selecting only 8 finalists, from hundreds of submissions received for children’s stories aged 9 to 12. Winners included a teacher with a passion for theatre, freelance translator, freelance journalist and writers, a church leader with a focus on the youth, and a community project member who helps children discover nature through art.

Join us in congratulating the following winners from the various language categories:

Jelleke Wierenga - Mensekind teen monstervlieg (Afrikaans)

A dark creature, even darker than the dark night, crawls from the stump. His eyes protrude on the sides of his head. His body and legs bristle with black thorns and quills. Ursula cringes in fear. She wants to run … run and run and run and never come back! But she has to stop the monster fly. Then the horrible creature emits a piercing whistle. Over and over and over again, he screeches the terrible sound. Stabbing pains shoot through Ursula's ears. She hears the creature approaching; she hears the rush of his wings. She smells the stinking fumes coming off his body. But she can also smell the pure fragrance of a blood-red rose, a snow-white lily and a purple-blue violet. Ursula knows … the time has come.

Bridgett Pitt - The Night of the Go-away birds (English)

Honesty, who lives with her mother and brothers in Johannesburg, is devastated when her father is shot by poachers. He works with an anti-poaching unit at a Game Reserve. One night, a few days after the shooting, she wakes to find that the beaded rhino her dad got her has turned into a life-sized spirit rhino. Together they travel to her dad’s game reserve to ask the animals to help save his life. They decide to send the Grey Loeries to help wake him. They find her father and the birds sing for him, but she must go back to her bed before she wakes up. When she wakes up that morning, her mother tells her that the hospital has phoned to say that her father is awake and will recover.

Sipho Richard Kekezwa - Icebo Likamalusi (IsiXhosa)

Malusi is an 11 year old boy who grew up under very difficult circumstances. In winter, everyday, Malusi had to walk to and from school, barefoot and he had to face bullies like Slexe who pickpocket him and other children on their way to school. He tried every trick in the book to make sure that his pocket money was safe but Slexe was always ahead of him. Eventually Malusi came up with a master plan to protect his money: he created a secret pocket in his pants so that he could hide his money. Slexe could not find Malusi’s money and that was only part of Malusi’s master plan.

Emmanuel Nkosinathi Nazo - Imbewu Yomuthi Obabayo (IsiZulu)

An old folklore retold with amazing creativity. This story is based on a
well-known folktale theme, namely a clever small animal who outsmarts a stupid
predator. A hungry hyena wants to eat a cunning baby rabbit. But the rabbit
makes a clever plan, and plays a trick on the hyena: he tells the hyena that he
can have a better meal if he goes after the goats in the village, disguised as
one of the goats. Will the hungry hyena fall for the rabbit’s trick and what
will his fate be?

Mabonchi Goodwill Motimele - La fata ga le boe fela (Sepedi)

Kholofelo is a very talented young goalkeeper. His mother died when he was a baby and Mma Mabunda became Kholofelo’s foster parent. All he knows about his father is that he was a very good goal keeper. This drives Kholofelo to work very hard at his soccer to be like his father. Kholofelo is tormented by the lack of his parents and searches all over for the father he does not know. He ends up living on the streets. One day Morei, the coach who has been searching for him, finds him playing for another team. He recruits him and takes him to trials at a professional team academy. To his joy he is selected, and when he introduces himself to the head coach, he discovers that this is the father he has been searching for so long.


Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho - Mveledzo na zwighevhenga (Tshivenda)

Mveledzo left home alone on a cold cloudy day to go shopping at a Spaza-shop belonging to an Ethiopian man. Five robbers are seen robbing the Ethiopian man. Mveledzo captured the incident with a cell phone. The robbers spotted her and chased her to the nearby bushes. She had a narrow escape. She went to the police and presented her evidence. She became a prominent young hero in her community.

Masocha Conny Lubisi - Xixima (Xitsonga)

Masana Rivisi is a ten year old boy in Grade 4. His brother Honisi is in Grade 5. Masana is an intelligent learner and is gifted at school. When the school closes for the winter vacation, it is announced that Masana and two other learners have been promoted to Grade 5 and will proceed to Grade 5 when school reopens in July. Masana’s brother is proud of him and he is looking forward to getting academic help from him as they will be in the same class. He gives Masana his books to read so that he can help him. Their father is a teacher at another school far away from home. He is not impressed with Masana’s promotion, because he is not in favour of children skipping grades. He refuses that Masana proceeds to Grade 5 when the schools reopens because of the possible impact on the older sibling.

A prize of R7 500 was awarded to each winner and publication of their children's story by Pearson.