According to Zimbabwe creative industries blog Culture 51, Zimbabwe’s Book Cafe’, flagship venue of Pamberi Trust, is a laureate of 2011 Prince Claus Awards. It is amongst the most prestigious global awards in culture, presented annually to individuals and organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for outstanding achievement in culture and the positive effect of their work on the wider cultural or social field.
The award has been described as “a momentous achievement for Zimbabwean performing arts, and for Book Cafe’”, which becomes one of the first live performing arts venues of this kind in the world, built on a platform of freedom of expression and focusing across music, poetry and theatre with public discussion, film and multi-disciplinary arts, to win the acclaimed global award. Book Cafe’ was awarded the prize for its role in “culture and development”.
Four African recipients in performing arts have previously received the award: Baaba Maal (Senegal, music), Werewere Liking (Ivory Coast, spoken word), Yousour N’dour (Senegal, music) and Zimbabwe’s Edgar Langeveld (comedy), who fittingly achieved his major successes in Book Cafe. Coincidentally, the award for Book Cafe’ comes as it commemorates its own 30 years of history (including Grassroots Books, the famous radical bookshop that transformed into Book Cafe’ in 1997).
The other laureates, joining Book Cafe’ this year, include Kazakh artist Said Atabekov, Nicaraguan rural community arts organiser Nidia Bustos, the photographer Rena Effendi from Azerbaijan, Guatemala’s radical performance artist Regina Galindo, the Ilkhom Theatre from Uzbekistan, Haitian writer Kettly Mars, performance artist Rabih Mroué from Lebanon, the RIWAQ Centre for Architectural Conservation in Palestine and Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser.
The Prince Claus Fund presented the international Prince Claus Awards annually since 1997 to honor individuals and organizations reflecting a progressive and contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development. The Fund was inaugurated in 1996, named in honor of Prince Claus of The Netherlands. It receives an annual subsidy from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.