True stories: our R10?000 winner

2009-11-27 00:00

A STORY of survival and triumph, despite two life-threatening experiences, has “turned out well in the end” and reaped rewards for a local writer.

At a ceremony at the Witness offices in Willowton last night, city resident Mazwi Ngubane won the Open category of the 10th anniversary Witness “True Stories of KZN” competition. He received a cheque for R10 000.

Ngubane works as an emergency medical dispatcher with EMRS at Grey’s Hospital. His winning entry was the story of how he came close on two occasions to having a life story without “a happy ending”.

Entitled Ten days in Hell, Ngubane’s story tells of how he was lured to Gauteng under false pretences and then forced to work as an apprentice criminal. When able to escape back to KZN, he was involved in the notorious 2006 Christmas Eve bus crash that killed 12 people.

Runner-up in the Open category, Paul Fleischack, deputy rector of Michaelhouse, won R3 000 for his tribute to an Nguni cow called Hwaqahwaqa.

Retired Pietermaritzburg resident Richard Graham won the Snapshot category and R3 000 for his story The Sangoma and the Rooster. Graham’s grandfather called in a sangoma to solve a problem with ongoing stock theft on his farm.

Features editor and competition organiser Shelagh McLoughlin said it is encouraging to see how the competition is drawing entries from a more racially diverse audience. “We also have a growing number of entries from young writers and school children, which is most gratifying.”

To mark the 10th anniversary of the competition, Shuter & Shuter will publish a book of stories by the winners and runners-up of both story categories from the last 10 years. It is due for publication in mid-2010.

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