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Kenyan Caine African Writer Winner Promise To Donates Winning To Street Kids

By Published July 03, 2018

Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has won the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story Fanta Blackcurrant wining £1000 which she promised to donate to help street kids.

Her winning short story is about is about a street kid in Nairobi named Meri. Ondjerika was announced by Chair of the Caine Prize judging panel, Ethiopian-American novelist, Dinaw Mengestu, at an award dinner at the SOAS and the centre for African studies.

Narrated in the first person plural, Fanta Blackcurrant follows Meri, a street child of Nairobi, who makes a living using her natural intelligence and charisma, but wants nothing more than "a big Fanta Blackcurrant for her to drink every day and it never finish”.

Mengestu praised the story in his remarks, saying: "The winner of this year’s Caine Prize is as fierce as they come – a narrative forged but not defined by the streets of Nairobi, a story that stands as more than just witness. Makena Onjerika’s Fanta Blackcurrant presides over a grammar and architecture of its own making, one that eschews any trace of sentimentality in favour of a narrative that is haunting in its humour, sorrow and intimacy”.

Onjerika, is a graduate of the MFA Creative Writing programme at New York University, said she chose to write about street children as "Kenyans - me included - do not see street kids as children.

"There are children, and then there are 'chokora'," she added, explaining the derogatory Swahili term used by Kenyans, which translates as "street urchins".

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