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African Performance
Meet the winners for 2007
Winners of African Performance 2007

Meet the Winners of 2007


In first place is Abubakar Adam Ibrahim from Jos, Nigeria, with his play A Bull Man's Story.

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Abubakar has written stories since childhood
A Bull Man's Story is a simple, but powerful drama which deals with an all too common theme with freshness and emotional truth.

The play demonstrates the impact that domestic violence can have on the life of a child. The story is narrated by a young boy (played by nine year old Mohamed Mansaray) and reveals the confusion, hurt and anger he feels as he witnesses his once gentle father turn into a 'bull man'.

The father beats the mother who in turn lashes out at her son. We, the audience, glean that the father has financial troubles, but the boy has no explanation for the changes he witnesses. As the violence escalates, he begins to fail at school, and himself becomes a target for his father's frustration.

The author, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, said he was moved to write the play because he felt that the effect on children of domestic violence is not sufficiently recognised in his native Nigeria.

He wanted to draw attention to the cycle of violence and negativity that is set up when the head of a family begins to take out his anger on those around him.

When Abubakar was phoned with the news of his success he was over the moon - and a little bit smug: "my brother, who encourages my writing, said he didn't like this play because it was too 'childish'!" Abubakar's ability to get inside the mind of a child was exactly what the judges appreciated about his writing.

Abubakar was doubly excited to hear of his success given the fact that when he received the phone call he was being put through his paces in a gruelling training camp in Abia State.

The 27 year old graduate in mass communications, had just begun his year of national youth service.

Abubakar has written stories since childhood, but it was the African Performance competition that spurred him on to start writing seriously.

He's entered several times before, but only ever received encouraging letters. He says he's going to spend his prize money on a new computer so he can write more easily.

Listen to The Bull Man's Story

Second prize went to A Time for Justice by Enna Neru from Botswana -who, it turns out, is not Enna Neru at all . . ..

Anna Neru
Anna is concerned about the plight of the Bushmen
A Time for Justice is an ambitious play which explores the impact that an internationally famous Western anthropologist has had upon his family and upon the Bushmen of Botswana, amongst whom he has been living and working most of his life.

The play begins with the news of his murder, and it soon becomes clear that his two sons, far from regretting his death, have reason to welcome it. The play flits between the past and the present, and, throughout, the murdered anthropologist and his Bushman wife comment upon the action from beyond the grave.

Writer Enna Neru proved very elusive, having given no phone number on her application form. Eventually a letter tracked her down at her retreat in the bush outside Maun in Botswana.

Originally from South Africa, she is a mother of two grown-up children and runs a camp for tourists and organises wild life excursions for them. It turns out that her real name is Anne Uren!

Anne says that whilst obviously the play is fiction, she has met characters similar to those she depicts. She is deeply concerned about the plight of the Bushmen and wanted to highlight the damage that can be done by insensitive outsiders.

Listen to A Time for Justice

Crystal Ading' wins joint third prize with a dramatic love story full of violence and intrigue: The Game Plan

Crystal Ading' from Kenya, author of The Game Plan
Crystal is an editor of children's books
The heroine of The Game Plan is Dinka, the feisty daughter of a well-connected and dictatorial father, who commits the cardinal sin of falling in love with a white man.

Her father is appalled, given that his own wife left him for a white man. He succeeds in marrying Dinka off to one of his acolytes, but there is a twist in this tale. For his own manipulative reasons, Dinka's husband allows her to see the man she loves . . .

Crystal Ading' was thrilled to win the competition, she told the BBC that it has given her faith that it is possible to make a career as a writer.

Nairobi is her home, but she is currently working in Tanzania as an editor of children's text books. She is married with a young daughter.

So, what was Crystal's inspiration for The Game Plan? "When people see a mixed race couple here in Kenya, everyone assumes that if it is a black woman she is either a prostitute or a gold digger" she said "I wanted to show that there can be genuine relationships based on love."

Listen to The Game Plan

Joint third prize winner The Proposition by Jide Afolayan from Nigeria tackles one of the most frequent themes to have been chosen by entrants to this year's African Performance competition.

Jide Afolayan
Jide has based the play on his own experiences
The problem of sexual harassment in universities is widespread in Africa: young women are frequently asked to sleep with their tutors in order to gain good grades, and even threatened with failure if they refuse to do so.

This play proposes two practical solutions to the problem and is very entertaining into the bargain.

Jide Afolayan is himself a university lecturer and says he has based the play on his own experiences.

"From time to time girls come to me telling me that their teachers have demanded sex from them in exchange for passing their exams". So what help is Jide able to offer them? "Sincerely, not a lot because there is often no proof."

This is what got Jide's imagination working, and he came up with an ingenious and funny suggestion to help girls get evidence to incriminate their professors. You'll have to listen to the play to find out what it is!

Unlike the other successful writers, Jide was not was not at all surprised when he got the call telling him the good news: "I knew I had written a winner, I just knew!" he told the BBC.

Listen to The Proposition

Find out more about the winners and the judge:

Listen to Meet the Winners

Listen to Meet the Judge

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