We have the winners of the “Africa with an Ñ” literary contest


We have the winners of the “Africa with an Ñ” literary contest

  • The Equatorial Guinean Julia Raquel Alene Ngomo Afang and the Cameroonian Lorraine Mbessa Ndzana have won first prize in the categories of story and investigative work.
  • The award carries €2,500 for each of the winning works.

Tuesday, 29th November, 2016. The story The Bridge of Life by the Equatorial Guinean Julia Raquel Alene Ngomo Afang and the investigative work on the teaching of Spanish in Cameroon are the winning texts in the literary contest “Africa with an ‘Ñ’”, aimed at African women who write in Spanish.

The contest is an initiative by the Women for Africa Foundation to boost the presence of Spanish in the neighbouring continent as a tool for development, most especially through women. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are over one and a half million students of Spanish. This reflects the growing interest in the language, which is already the second tongue in the world in terms of the number of speakers, with nearly 500 million.

The Bridge of Life tells the story of a teenage girl from Gabon who, on being orphaned, is taken in by an American doctor into the heart of her family, who live in Manhattan. The main character begins a new life full of hope but which also presents difficulties in adaptation.

The jury that judged the tales—made up of the writers Belén Gopegui, Laura Freixas and Najat el Hachmi—underlines that the winning text uses “the construction of a female voice in the tradition of Lázaro de Tormes, which is at times reminiscent of an African Cinderella and whose modern life moves on at the mercy of plans beyond her control”.

The winning investigative work, entitled “Development of communication skills among secondary school pupils in Cameroon”, looks in great detail at the Spanish language teaching system in the African country, identifying existing weaknesses while presenting some didactic proposals to improve learning among students in the matter.

The Hispanists Carolyn Richmond, Ana Rodríquez Fischer and Emilia Velasco, on the jury in the investigative work category, chose this text “for its great theoretical preparation, which may serve as an example for other related studies, and for clearly showing the problems and challenges faced in teaching Spanish in Cameroon, while at the same time offering very practical, achievable didactic proposals. The researcher has professionally used a method suited to the subject under study and has been meticulous in applying the theoretical budgets as well as scheduling practical activities.”

The prize carries €2,500 for each of the two winning works. In this first edition of the competition, a total of 10 stories and 8 investigative works were presented, coming from Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

We are grateful to all the authors who took part in the contest and congratulate the two winners.

About the winners:


  Lorraine Mbessa Ndzana was born in 1986 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. After completing secondary education, she began her university studies in the University of Yaoundé, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Language, Literature and Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures. Four years ago she moved to Spain with a scholarship from the University of Lleida to do a master’s in Spanish teaching for immigrants. She is currently doing a doctorate in Education at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Her research subject is “Academic literacy in Cameroon: university students’ concepts of writing.”.

Read “the development of communication skills among secondary school students in Cameroon”


 Julia Raquel Alene Ngomo Afang was born in 1993 in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, and has lived in Spain for five years. With a bachelor’s degree in Law, she has studied at the University of La Laguna (ULL), at the King Juan Carlos University of Madrid (URJC) and at the Complutense University (UCM), where she is doing a master’s in International Relations and International Law. An avid reader, she has been writing since she was 15. With her tale The Bridge of Life, the young author shows the ability of human beings to overcome life’s adversities. “It is in our hands to cross over to the other side, or to remain anchored in the same place, resigning ourselves to our fate,” explains Julia R. Alene.

Read “The Bridge of Life”


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