Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi has won the 2016 South African Literary Awards K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. Winners were announced on 7 November 2016 at a gala dinner at UNISA.
On receiving the award, Panashe had this to say:
“It is deeply affirming whenever you receive external validation for what is most often a solitary and isolating experience. This award in particular is an honour because it bears the name of one of South Africa’s literary greats. Over and above that, as someone with Pan-Africanist ideals, I’m deeply humbled that South African readers were able to find resonance with a story set in Zimbabwe, despite what many prospective publishers had said to me. I’m truly grateful to be a writer who has been allowed the space to bring all of herself and her experiences and to have that appreciated by a reading audience.”
Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity, feminism and patriarchy, spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities, poverty and desperation, and wealth and abundance.
“Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine is as fresh and bracing as mountain air.” – Mandla Langa
“Written in the wake of Aidoo, Dangarembga and Adichie, Sweet Medicine has a voice and drive all of its own: witty, incisive and thought-provoking, it is a novelistic debut you will find hard to put down.” – Dr Ranka Primorac, University of Southampton
“How Panashe Chigumadzi deftly deals with Tsisi’s decision as a young woman who must make it against all odds is what makes Sweet Medicine a must-read.” – Zukiswa Wanner
“Sweet Medicine is a daring debut which will go down among Zimbabwean literature’s finest millennial strivings, no mean feat coming from a 24-year-old.” – Stanley Mushava, Literature Today, The Herald Zimbabwe
“A novel of colourful characters and powerful emotions in a carefully constructed landscape.” – Jabulile Ngwenya
“Sweet Medicine’ really gets to the heart of what define a depressed economy without being overly-simplistic. Vivid and compelling – this is a superb read!” – Karen Tennant, Glamour magazine