Rotimi Babatunde has won the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing with his story Bombay Republic. His story was my choice to win the award after I read all the five selected stories. Read my thoughts here. Rotimi used a simple ex-soldier to write a multi-thematic story that could be appreciated from different angles.
According to the Chair of Judges, Bernardine Evaristo,
Bombay's Republic vividly describes the story of a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma campaign of World War Two. It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and psychology of independence.
There is more to this story. In addition to exploring the psychology of independence, it further shows the causes of despotism. Read more from the Caine organisation here.
This ten-thousand pound award has become a tool for unearthing new African writers. The award was criticised for been narrow in its selection of works, described in certain quarters as poverty-porn, as winners. However, in the announcement of the 2012 Shortlist, the mission was to provide stories 'beyond the more stereotypical narratives'. And this was somewhat achieved.