Mozilla’s Common Voice in collaboration with Hekaya Arts Initiative is awarding the top three Kiswahili essay writers with prizes of $400 USD, $250 USD, and $100 USD respectively.

The writing competition is part of Mozilla’s Common Voice goal to grow Kiswahili’s open-source data set, enabling the inclusion of local African languages in tech use and development.

Hekaya Arts Initiative is a literary and cultural organization, that facilitates conversations about the use and evolution of Kiswahili language through art and literary festivals.

The competition seeks to attract submissions across different Kiswahili-speaking regions and diasporas, beyond East Africa where the language is predominantly spoken. The deadline is April 30, 2022, and the winners will be announced on May 13, 2022.

Writers are encouraged to explore creative writing formats inspired by culture and social justice topics in the following categories:

  • Music/song, dance, and local instruments
  • Language
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Cultural objects
  • Beauty and aesthetics
  • Housing/Architecture
  • Indigenous health/traditional health practices
  • Literature and Linguistics
  • Traditional/historical livelihoods e.g. pottery
  • Social issues such as land justice, mass graves, Christianity and its effects on cultural practices
  • Local heroes/historical figures
  • History and archaeology

Guidelines for submission

  • Received submissions will be in the public domain. All work submitted will be under Public Domain (CC-0) license.
  • Participants must sign the Contributions Agreement template found here
  • Text specifications:
    • There should be no digits in the written work such as 2021; instead, use words
    • Abbreviations and acronyms like “USA” or “ICE” should be avoided because they may be read in a way that does not coincide with their spelling
    • The text should not use derogatory language
    • The text should not promote any form of gender harassment, abuse, or violence
    • The text should not perpetrate or condone sexual harassment or biases
    • The text should be respectful of gender diversities i.e. usage of correct pronouns
    • The text should not propagate violence and/or threats of violence
    • The text should be in a digital format not handwritten
    • The content must be your own, no plagiarized content

All submissions should be sent to [email protected] by April 30, 2022. For more information visit, Hekaya Arts Initiative.

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