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African Performance 2008
Listen to the dramas for 2008

Montage of listening and recording

Listen to the Winning Dramas


First prize winner: Dear Mr Lampard by Risenga Makondo (South Africa)
Director: Jenny Horrocks.

15 year old Fortune lives in Zimbabwe where his obsession with Premier League side Chelsea prompts him to write repeatedly to his favourite player, Frank Lampard. To his surprise, Lampard writes back enclosing a ticket to an England v South Africa game in Johannesburg. Fortune then embarks on an incident filled adventure to get to the match, overcoming huge obstacles to finally meet his hero. Author Risenga Makondo is himself a Chelsea fan and comes from the north-east of South Africa near the Zimbabwean border.

Listen to "Dear Mr. Lampard" (29 mins)

Second prize winner: A Home for Tai by Tawanda Mutero Kanengoni (Zimbabwe)
Director: Alice Muthengi

Taipanei, a young Zimbabwean woman who has failed to fall pregnant a year after her marriage comes under pressure from her in-laws and her husband disappointed that she has not conceived. The mounting social and family pressure eventually leads her to seek help from a traditional healer who gives her roots to use. Her joy in getting pregnant soon turns to tragedy as the medicine man's concoction almost costs her life. She loses her baby but her own life is saved by a most unlikely hero and the process she learns a valuable lesson.

Listen to "A Home for Tai" (29 mins)

Joint third prize winner: Funeral Bells by Benjamin Kent (Ghana)
Director: Alice Muthengi

It?s another Saturday in Nsawm and as usual there's a funeral to organise. Among the numerous guests who have arrived are Mr Samuel Ahiable and his wife Gloria. Like many of the other guests they know the deceased only briefly ? but that doesn't stop them enjoying the food and delivering speeches in honour of the dead man. A wry look at the central role funeral rituals play in African society.

Listen to "Funeral Bells" (30 mins)

Also, hear what inspired Benjamin Kent from Ghana to write the play and why the judge liked it so much, plus a few funeral stories from across the continent.

Listen to The Funeral Phenomenon (23 mins)

Joint third prize winner: A Dangerous Voyage by Olusanya Kolawole Oluwaseyi (Nigeria)
Director: Jenny Horrocks

The tale of four West Africans who decide to risk their lives in a fishing boat, and set off in the hope of reaching the Canary Islands, and a better life. As their journey progresses their various characters are revealed, and when things start to go wrong, they drop their guards and share the reasons they want to leave, and the hopes and dreams they have if they reach their destination.

Listen to "A Dangerous Voyage" (30 mins)

Also, the judge tells us why he chose it. In reality, our reporter in Morocco meets African migrants, legal and illegal, who have made their home in the capital Rabat with dreams getting into Europe.

Listen to the companion programme to "A Dangerous Voyage" (23 mins)

Special commendation: Power Failure by Jide Afolayan (Nigeria)
Director: Catherine Fellows

An entertaining and imaginative take on that perennial African problem - power cuts - which will strike a chord with listeners all over Africa. Odion gives up a good job in Lagos and moves to his village where he appears to be very much enjoying the quiet life. He's particularly partial to locally produced corn beer - so much better than all the imported stuff in the city. As he tells his story it is clear that the lack of power is at the root of his decision. The city makes you depend on electricity and just when you can't do without it, takes it away from you. And when you find your son suffering from a severe asthma attack in a hospital with no electricity to run the respirator, you can end up resorting to desperate measures.

Listen to "Power Failure" (23 mins)

Special commendation: Belonging by Mirirai Moyo (Zimbabwe)
Director: Catherine Fellows

So how do you bring a play in which the heroine is a chicken and the hero a hyena to life? Fortunately radio is the perfect medium for a play which uses animal characters to explore the nature of identity. Is it possible for us to transcend the limitations of our culture, class or ethnicity? Is a bright young chicken doomed to live at the bottom of the pecking order? And is the hyena prepared to become a laughing stock in his pack by befriending an animal he should really be eating? Our judge described this as "a delightful piece full of wit, tenderness and charm."

Listen to "Belonging" (30 mins)
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