Our Winners

  • 2016 Winners +

    Vennessa Scholtz

    Vennessa Scholtz

    from South Africa

    Winner of the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

    Vennessa Scholtz has been a journalist for more than 20 years, working in radio and print media. She has won several awards for writing about health related issues in South Africa. Vennessa currently works in the media office of the City of Cape Town, highlighting the hard work that is being done on the ground. She believes reading is the key to education, empowerment and giving voice to children’s imagination and hopes to encourage young children to find and grow a love for literature.

    WINNING STORY: Kita and the Red, Dusty Road

    Kita is a little girl who loves walking home. More often than not, she walks on the red dusty road that leads to her home. Mamma doesn’t want her to walk in the road, always asking her little girl to walk on the sidewalk. But Kita loves the dust clouds that form and she’s not worried at all about getting her pretty white dress all dirty or the Dust Eater she has been warned about. However, she soon runs into trouble and just when she thinks there’s no way out, Mamma comes to the rescue.


    Lori-Ann Preston

    Lori-Ann Preston

    from South Africa

    Winner of the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

    Lori-Ann Preston is a seasoned south African child educator with more than 20 years of experience. At a young age, she opened an Educare Center and spent 10 years caring for children between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Her love for teaching as well as drama, inspired her to establish a private drama academy for children in her community. For five years she taught drama to children and staged several plays. After 5 more years in child education Lori-Ann Preston is currently pursuing an Honors degree in Education at the University of South Africa.

    WINNING STORY: The Ama-zings!

    ‘The Ama-zings!’ is a fast moving, fun-filled adventure story about 5 school friends who find themselves trapped in Cango Caves. They encounter bats, African cave spiders, quicksand, a whirlpool and an earthquake. Each chapter dramatically ends leaving the reader desperate to find out what will happen next. Will Yoyo kiss Matthew? Will Matthew survive the whirlpool? Was Hlumelo really bitten by Vampire bat? Will the children ever escape the cave?







  • 2014 Winners +

    Portia Dery

    Portia Dery

    from Ghana

    Winner of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

    Portia Dery is a writer/blogger, community development worker and social entrepreneur with a focus on writing activities in Ghana. Her love for books dared her to become a writer. She enjoys gardening and meeting people. Her works have been published by the UK poetry library; Artsbeat, Afrika’s first anthology; Ayiba magazine; and the Young Journalists and Writers (YJAW) platform. Portia is the founder of the African Youth Writers Organization (AYWO), which gets children to read and write by grooming them in an incubator program for a specific period of time.

    WINNING STORY: Grandma’s List

    Everyone has problems but Fatima, an eight year old girl, has the biggest problem in the world - she is tired of been treated as a child. For a long time she had been looking for an opportunity to show everyone, especially her family, that she is smart like any other grownup. One day, Fatima gets the opportunity to be a superwoman and save the day! She runs all the errands for Grandma from grandma’s list of to-do-things and waits eagerly to be praised but things turn out differently and she learns an important lesson.


    Mary Ononokpono

    Mary Ononokpono

    from Nigeria

    Winner of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

    Mary Okon Ononokpono is a Nigerian-British writer, artist and illustrator. Born in Calabar, Nigeria, Mary moved to the United Kingdom as a baby and has lived there ever since. Mary has a passion for African arts, culture and history. With a background in design and journalism, Mary has been featured in numerous Pan-African publications. Following a brief return to Nigeria in December 2012, Mary turned her hand towards creative writing.

    WINNING STORY: Talulah the Time Traveller

    Talulah Taiwo is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Talulah is an inventor that happens to be obsessed with coding. She lives with her Mum (an independent architect) and with her trusty sidekick, Karma, an intelligent jet black cat. Talulah's latest app has been entered into the 'Minds of Tomorrow' science fair, but Mum is unable to take her due to a looming deadline and poor organisation skills. Disappointed at the thought of Mum letting her down again, Talulah decides to take matters into her own hands. She creates a shock inducing time management app to help Mum keep to time. However in her haste, she accidentally enters part of the code incorrectly. Upon testing the app, Talulah finds herself suddenly transported to an ancient Egyptian city. The trouble is, the unexpected power surge has drained the battery on her tablet. Aided by Karma, a gang of cats, and a curious Egyptian boy, Talulah sets about finding a solution to her problem. Will they get the tablet to work so that she can get back home in time for the fair?


    Xanele Puren

    Xanele Puren

    from South Africa

    Winner of the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators

    Xanele Puren grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Mossel Bay, Western Cape, South Africa. Her love for illustration was awakened through the countless number of children's books her mother exposed her too. Xanele went on to study Visual Communication Design at Stellenbosch University, a graphic design and illustration degree. In her final year, the students were encouraged to use "design to make a difference." Xanele channeled her time and energy towards two things she loved: children and illustration. After visiting an Early Learning Centre in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, to research whether there were needs that could be addressed through design, she noted that not many of the centres (hosting children between the ages of 1 and 5) had no access to books. Xanele illustrated and designed three educational, bilingual books, and then took her creative activism a step further. She transformed dull, dreary-looking crèches inside and out by bringing traditional nursery rhymes, animals and imaginary worlds to life through bright paints and brilliant illustrations. After graduating university Xanele established See-Saw-Do, a social enterprise that beautifies child environments through beautiful, bright relevant themed murals. It has since grown into a sustainable business run by Xanele and her husband that now focuses on the holistic improvement of child environments by designing beautiful and functional child environments, mural makeovers, products and accessories. 


    Xanele Illustration


    Brief 2_Xanele.jpg - 2.60 MB



  • 2013 Winners +

    Liza Esterhuyse

    from South Africa

    Winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Book:


    Liza Esterhuyse is a qualified occupational therapist who has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Intervention. Liza is many things: a daydreamer, a book junkie, a red wine drinker, a world lover, a tree hugger, a dog enthusiast, a horse admirer and a Capetonian..

    The Little Hippo:

    Faraway in the savannah a little hippo sighed. The rains were late and the hippo-pool was getting very crowded. Then he notices the wildebeest, zebras and antelope gathering for their annual migration and he decides to join them. However, the little hippo quickly realises that the journey is not as easy as he thought and that it’s filled with danger. Luckily, he meets friends along the way who help and guide him through the migration.

    Karen Hurt

    from South Africa

    Winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Book:


    Karen Hurt is an independent writer, editor, materials developer and writing workshops facilitator who lives in Johannesburg. She was born in Zambia where she spent her early childhood before moving to South Africa. Whenever Karen can carve out the time, she loves to slip into her ‘other world’ and write fiction.

    What's Going on at 179 Jabulani Street? Summary

    Jama’s life is upside down and going down further until he reluctantly accepts the pink jacket his father insists on buying him from a secondhand clothes seller on a freezing evening in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. He finds keys and an address in Yeoville in the pockets. This is the beginning of a dangerous adventure that leads to a new friendship with a girl called Sophie who Jama discovers the jacket had belonged to. Parting with the truth when it comes to telling their parents what they are up to, Jama and Sophie discover a Mozambican craftsman at 179 Jabulani Street who has been trapped in the rhino horn trade by a fierce poacher. They come up with a plan to help him escape and get the syndicate bust. Along the way they make partners with and inherit a dog they rename Licks.

    Kanengo Rebecca Diallo

    from Tanzania

    Winner of the 2013 Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers:


    Twelve year old Kanengo Rebecca Diallo lives in the city of Dar-Es-Salam, Tanzania, with her mother, Nuru, her father, Anthony, and her two siblings. Since she was eight years old, Kanengo’s dream has been to become a world renowned author of books and if lucky, best-selling books. Kanengo discovered that she has a unique talent of drawing manga or anime comics. Usually when she writes her stories, she turns them into anime cartoon drawings.

    Pieces of Africa Summary:

    This is a story about four children with diverse backgrounds who are from different parts of Africa. They are chosen to find all the magical puzzle pieces scattered around Africa in order to save the world. They all came from a long lineage of puzzle finders that started since the beginning of time but in trying to find the pieces, all their ancestors failed and died. Now it was up to them to gather all the pieces within a set period of time or else they, and the whole world will perish.

  • 2012 Winners +

    Joy Nwiyi

    Joy Nwiyi

    from Nigeria

    Winner of the 2012 Golden Baobab Prize, Senior Category:


    Joy Nwiyi is a graduate of the University of Calabar and also holds an M.A. degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She resides with her family East of the Niger in Nigeria. She writes poetry, short stories and mentors young people amongst other activities.

    Something for Next Time Summary:

    Fidé longs for the adventure and freedom that comes with his age. He invents different pranks and strategies to outwit his parents. Amusingly, his pranks are found out with every new invention. The most daring brings him an outcome he is not ready for and he has his ‘freedom’ checked. The story interestingly is told from the young, and yet bold narrative voice of his younger brother who wonders why his big brother must go to such extents to invent mischief considering the consequences.


    Jenny Robson

    from Botswana and South Africa

    Winner of the 2012 Golden Baobab Prize, Junior Category:


    Jenny Robson is a music teacher who lives and works in Maun, Botswana on the edge of the Okavango Delta. She says, "The exciting, full-on noise of music and the thoughtful silence of writing are the perfect combination for me." She has had ten young adult novels published and has won several awards including the UNESCO Prize for Youth Literature in the Service of Tolerance. Jenny is a widow with two adult sons who live and work in London, UK.

    Wha-Zup Dude? Summary

    Kesha longs to have a cellphone, but he doesn't have much hope of getting one. Then he finds a cellphone hidden in some bushes and takes it home. He will just keep it for a little while, he decides, just to enjoy how it feels.

    But there is a call. Kesha answers and hears a frightening man speaking on the other end. Kesha panics: he wants to put the cellphone back where he found it as quickly as possible. But will he manage without being caught?

    Rutendo Chabikwa

    Rutendo Chabikwa

    from Zimbabwe

    Winner of the 2012 Golden Baobab Prize, Rising Writer Category:


    Rutendo Renee Chabikwa was born on the 6th of October in 1994 in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. She was awarded a scholarship to study for an International Baccalaureate with the United World Colleges at Lester B. Pearson College in British Columbia, Canada. Rutendo started writing at a very tender age, and while she is honored to receive recognition for her short fiction, her main focus has always been poetry. Writing has always been a passion of hers as she loves to express her creativity through language.

    Letters from the City Summary:

    This story is about friendship that extends beyond any hardships. The narrator is a village youth who has been left by the only friend she knew in a pursuit of better future. The only means of communication available to them is letter-writing. With accounts and descriptions so close to home, the narrator takes the reader on a journey of true friendship and city adventures.

    A Healing Adventure Summary:

    Inspired by the death of close relatives, the author wrote this story to show the hopes that she had for the survival of her relative. The story is about a group of boys who venture into the village mountains in search of a fairy tale character, a friendly snake to save their aunt. The story goes from hope, to fatigue, to celebration through their persistence, and it rejuvenates an unwavering faith in childhood stories.

  • 2011 Winners +


    Ken Fansworth

    from South Africa

    Best Story for ages 12-15 years

    Ken Farnsworth is married with three girls (now aged between 19 and 26 years) and resides on a smallholding set in the African bush outside Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Recently turning (a ‘young’) fifty years of age, Ken tried his hand at creative writing. His efforts at writing about his passion, about Africa, about the bush, about the goings on in it - the wars, hunting, survival - resulted in several short stories being published in magazines and newspapers. Through this gift he hopes to lure others into developing the same love and respect he has for this great continent.

    Winning Story: The Rooster
    A father’s gumboots, a feisty fowl, a developing hostility that smacks of the xenophobia currently displayed in some parts of southern Africa are all elements that play a role in a grieving boy’s first steps towards manhood. The Rooster captures a brief but telling period in the life of a gumboot-wearing boy—gumboots bequeathed to him by his father—and his violent encounters with a rooster each time he traverses a local mining village. The attacks lead to an animosity that reaches a climax when the mine is abandoned and the rooster, avoiding all attempts to capture it, escapes into the bush. Out there, much to the boy’s anger, the alien creature not only thrives but it also continues to launch its assaults whenever their paths cross. Humiliated by the bird and mocked by his friends the boy plots its demise. After several failed attempts to exact retribution he eventually has his arch-enemy in his grasp and the opportunity to destroy it. Can he do so?

    Edyth Bulbring

    Edyth Bulbring

    from South Africa

    Best Story for ages 8-11 years

    Edyth Bulbring was born in Boksburg and grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She attended the University of Cape Town where she did a BA and edited the University newspaper Varsity. She worked as a journalist for fifteen years and was political correspondent at the Sunday Times covering the constitutional negotiations and first democratic elections. After completing her MBA at Wits University in 1999, she was a project manager for a few years before quitting corporate life. She is the author of The Club, which was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers in September 2008, and five young adult novels: The Summer of Toffie and Grummer (Oxford University Press, February 2008); Cornelia Button and the Globe of Gamagion (Jacana, April 2008); Pops and The Nearly Dead (Penguin, March 2010); Melly, Mrs Ho and Me (Penguin, September 2010) and Melly, Fatty and Me. (Penguin, September 2011). She lives in Johannesburg

    Winning Story: Sour Worms
    Sour Worms is about a young girl, Zenani, who has saved up her Saturday job money to buy her grandmother a special present for her seventieth birthday. Zenani's beautiful sister from the big city is also coming home for the birthday party and Zenani would do anything to keep her sister and her fancy present away.


    Luc Haasbroek

    Luc Haasbroek

    from South Africa 

    Best Story written by a Rising Writer, 18 years and below

    Luc was born on 11 April 1996 and raised in Durban, South Africa. He lives with his parents and younger sister. Luc has always told stories, even before he could write, he told tales that his mother would write down. At 9 years, he wrote his first short story -it revolved around an alien who turns out to be a teddy bear. He was addicted to writing. His love for words grew over the years and when he was 11 he completed his first novel. He is also interested in film and drama. Acting is one of his passions. In 2010, he starred in Neil Coppen's acclaimed play Tree Boy. Since then, he has completed five manuscripts, and he wouldn't trade writing for the world!

    Winning Story: The Dance
    The Dance is a story about a Girl, a Cat, and Death. It's just an ordinary day for Death -people to find, souls to collect -until he meets Thandi. She's four and a half years old, and she can see him. Their paths cross at the funeral of Tibbs, an ownerless Cat. It is over Tibbs' grave that they have a conversation about names, spades, life -and death- that will alter their lives forever.
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  • 2016 Shortlist +

    Picture Book Prize Shortlist

    Kai Tuomi (South Africa)A Dark Night for Wishes

    Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa)- Mr. Cocka Rocka Roo

    Early Chapter Book Prize Shortlist

    Ayo Oyeku (Nigeria)Maya and the Finish Line

    Khethiwe Mndawe (South Africa)- Lights and Freedom

  • 2014 Shortlist +

    Picture Book Prize Shortlist

    Portia Dery (Ghana) – Grandma’s List

    Shaleen Keshavjee-Gulam (Kenya) – Malaika’s Magical Kiosk

    Mandy Collins (South Africa) – There is a Hyena in my Kitchen

    Mike Mware (Zimbabwe) – The Big Ball


    Early Chapter Book Prize Shortlist

    Bontle Senne (South Africa) – The Monster at Midnight

    Mamle Wolo (Ghana) – Flying through Water

    Mary Okon Ononokpono (Nigeria) – Talulah the Time Traveller

    Hillary Molenje Namunyu (Kenya) – Teddy Mapesa and the Missing Cash

    Jayne Bauling (South Africa) – The Saturday Dress


    Illustrator's Prize Shortlist

    Gyimah Gariba (Ghana) - ggariba.tumblr.com

    Xanele Puren (South Africa) - www.seesawdo.com

    Wesley Van Eeden (South Africa) - www.facebook.com/Resoborg


  • 2013 Shortlist +

    Picture Book Prize Shortlist

    Carol Gachiengo – Grandma Mimo’s Breakfast (Kenya)

    Philip Begho – The Princess with the Golden Voice (Nigeria)

    Early Chapter Book Prize Shortlist

    Richard Street – Rhino (South Africa)

    Sabina Mutangadura – Seven (Zimbabwe)

    Rising Writer Prize Shortlist

    Fego Martins Ahia – The Little Secret (Nigeria)




  • 2012 Shortlist +

    Junior Category Shortlist

    Yaba Badoe of Ghana: The Fish-Man of Purple Lake

    Daniel Ansah Akrofi of Ghana: The Stray

    Yaba Badoe of Ghana: The Fisherman's Daughter

    Senior Category Shortlist

    Gothataone Moeng of Botswana : Absolute Truth about Red Mites

    Sedem Agbolosu of Ghana: Transfiguration

    Rising Writer Shortlist

    Sarah Juma of Nigeria: Grey Marine




  • 2011 Shortlist +

    Junior Category Shortlist

    Dorian Haarlioff (South Africa)-The Water Diviner

    Marion Drew (South Africa)Refiloe and the Washed Chickens

    Senior Category Shortlist

    Adeboyin Oluwaseun Olatoye (Nigeria)-The Night Heaven Wept

    Tunji Ajibade (Nigeria)Siro Tombi

    Rising Writer Prize Shortlist

    Nnamani Chiemerie (Nigeria)Nigeria at Fifty


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  • 2016 Longlist +

    Picture Books Prize Longlist

    Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa) – Mr. Cocka-Rocka-Roo

    Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa) – Snails Have Feelings Too!

    Victoria Blain (The Gambia) – The Baobab Ghee

    Kai Tuomi (South Africa) – A Dark Night for Wishes

    Vennessa Scholtz (South Africa)- Kita and the Red, Dusty Road

     Early Chapter Books Prize Longlist

    Oyeku Ayodele Moses (Nigeria) – Maya and the Finish Line

    Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa) – The Ama-zings!

    Dina Mousa (Egypt) – Maya and the Mystery of the Cat Burglars

    Khethiwe Mndawe (South Africa) – Lights and Freedom

    Chidinma Jay Nnamani (Nigeria) – Soti and Zita's Escape to Earth

  • 2014 Longlist +

    Picture Book Prize Longlist

    Katherine Graham (South Africa)The Lemon Tree

    Aleya Kassam (Kenya) – The Jacaranda Tree

    Kwame Aidoo (Ghana)The Tale of Busy Body Bee

    Mandy Collins (South Africa)There is a Hyena in my Kitchen

    Mike Mware (Zimbabwe)The Big Ball

    Shaleen Keshavjee-Gulam (Kenya)Malaika’s Magical Kiosk

    Portia Dery (Ghana)Grandma’s List


    Early Chapter Book Prize Longlist

    Ricky Dankwa Ansong (Ghana)Kweku Ananse: The Tale of the Wolf and the Moon

    Jayne Bauling (South Africa)The Saturday Dress

    Mamle Wolo (Ghana)Flying through Water

    Mary Okon Ononokpono (Nigeria)Talulah the Time Traveller

    Bontle Senne (South Africa)The Monster at Midnight

    Hillary Molenje Namunyu (Kenya)Teddy Mapesa and the Missing Cash

    Dina Mousa (Egypt)The Sunbird and Fatuma


    Illustrator's Prize Longlist

    Elizabeth Jeffery (South Africa) - http://www.greenorebooks.co.za/

    Melany Pietersen (South Africa) - www.melanypietersen.com &  www.happyartworks.com

    Gyimah Gariba (Ghana) - ggariba.tumblr.com

    Jillian Slabbert (South Africa) - http://jiljarvis.co.za/

    Lorraine Alvarez (Zimbabwe) - www.facebook.com/lorraine.alvarez.posen.art

    Mokoena Kobeli (South Africa) - www.behance.net/mokoenakobeli

    Robert Foote (South Africa) - www.facebook.com/robfooteillustration

    Setor Fiadzibey (Ghana) - www.facebook.com/setor.fiadzigbey

    Shan Fischer (South Africa) - www.shanfischer.com

    Wesley Van Eeden (South Africa) - www.facebook.com/Resoborg

    Xanele Puren (South Africa) - www.seesawdo.com

    Zineb Benjelloun (Morroco) - www.facebook.com/ZNBillustrated 


  • 2013 Longlist +

    Picture Book Prize Shortlist

    Carol GachiengoGrandma Mimo’s Breakfast (Kenya)

    Mandy CollinsDad Goes to School (South Africa)

    Philip BeghoThe Princess with the Golden Voice (Nigeria)

    Liza EsterhuyseThe Little Hippo (South Africa)

    Nneoma Ike-NjokuElelenma (Nigeria)

    Philip BeghoThe Two-Headed Monster (Nigeria)

    Regina MalanThe Butterfly Tree (South Africa)

    Ansie Nel - Thumisang and Pulane (South Africa)

    Ayibu MakoloThe Little Yellow Frog (Nigeria)

    Nahida EsmailBibo Learns to Speak the Truth (Tanzania)


    Early Chapter Book Prize Shortlist

    Fawa ConradieKay Cera Cera (South Africa)

    Sabina MutangaduraSeven (Zimbabwe)

    Edith-Susan UchennaChristmas in Kemah’s Home Town (Nigeria)

    Richard StreetRhino (South Africa)

    Sedem Abla Agbolosu - Kwame Gets a Job (Ghana)

    Tunji AjibadeIn the End (Nigeria)

    Karen HurtWhat’s Going on at 179 Jabulani Street? (South Africa)

    Ayibu MakoloMadam’s Maid (Nigeria)

    Derek LubangakeneOf Ghosts and Grave-Robbers (Uganda)

    Olorunfunmi TemitopeGrandma’s Hens (Nigeria)


    Rising Writer Prize Shortlist

    Jennifer SarfoSongs of Gods (Ghana)

    Kanengo DialloPieces of Africa (Tanzania)

    Fego Martins AhiaThe Little Secret (Nigeria)

    Asantewa Owusu-DarkoThe Busting of the Greedy Gangster (Ghana)

    Freda SarfoMaking a Wish (Ghana)

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Award Winners