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MAY AYIM AWARD

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Despite all obstacles, Blacks in Germany are developing and implementing ideas, organizing events and paving the way for a self-empowered Black community. The way to achieving the goal may still be long, but Black visionaries and organizations are taking up the challenge. A challenging event was initiated and turned into reality. It is The first International German Black literary Prize Award (May Ayim Award). AFRITOPIC attended the award event.  
 
 The first International German Black literary Prize Award ceremony took place on the 29th October 2004 at the House of World Cultures in Berlin , Germany . The award named May Ayim Award was initiated by Michael Küppers-Adebisi, and organized in cooperation with the House of World Cultures, German Commission for UNESCO, the online portal CyberNomads of which Küppers-Adebisi is a founding member, a team of authors called “Macht der Nacht” and the artist/sculptor Stephen Lawson who donated the award’s sculpture. The event was also supported in numerous ways by businesses and individuals from the Black community within and outside Germany .
 
 The name “May Ayim” was chosen for the award in recognition of the fundamental work of late May Ayim in bringing Black German literature to public awareness as well as her relentless efforts in the Black German movement to achieve self-empowerment. May Ayim, a Ghanaian-German born in 1960, grew up and studied in Germany to become author, poet and a prominent activist in the Black German movement. Her dissertation formed the basis of her book titled Farbe bekennen. Afro-Deutsche Frauen auf den Spuren Ihrer Geschichte ( Berlin 1986). The book was later translated and published in English under the title Showing our Colors (Amherst 1992). It became one of the most referenced books in publications relating to Black/Afro-German issues. 
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 Olumide Popoola, 1st Prize, LYRIC
 
The book and her personality brought May Ayim recognition and invitations from diverse public and academic institutions to give speeches and lectures. Together with other activists, she formed the Initiative Schwarze Deutsche und Schwarze in Deutschland (ISD) (Organization of Black German and Blacks in Germany ). The organization was intended to serve as a network of Blacks in Germany with the aim of fighting for and achieving self-empowerment of the community. Another May Ayim’s work blues in schwarz weiss was published in 1995. May Ayim was hard-working with enormous personal burdens. Soon destiny took control and she decided to leave the world in 1996. Two of her works were later published posthumous. These works include nachtgesang (1997), Grenzenlos und unverschämt as well as a documentary film Hoffnung im Herz by Maria Binder.
 
Contestants/Organizers
 
 According to the organizers of the event, the award is aimed at Black contestants worldwide working/involved in literary arts. The submitted work may incorporate May Ayim’s vision; constructively overcoming isolation of individual Blacks in the mainstream society of Whites, promotion of heritage identity and self-empowerment.

The call for submission of literary works was published early 2004 in the media. A couple months later, several works including stories, fine art, multimedia CDs and music videos were submitted to the organizing committee. Works were received from as far as Canada . A jury was elected comprising Peggy Pieche, Dr. Marion Kraft, Adetoun Adebisi, Robert Ajani and Ekpenyong Ani. The jury had the delicate responsibility to objectively and professionally review, judge and select the winning works out of the 26 accepted.

 
Ekpenyong Ani
 
In the evening of the D-day, guests were gathering and chatting in the foyer of the House of World Cultures while waiting in anticipation to be part of the first event of its kind in Germany. At about 9:45pm , the guests were informed to move to the theatre hall/Audimax were the event was about to begin. With the guests comfortably seated, the floodlights deemed and spotlight on stage with a big screen displaying the text “Black Germania. 1st International German Black Literary prize”, an atmosphere of pleasant emotion was felt in the hall. To begin with, an opening speech was delivered by Christine M. Merkel, a representative from the German Commission for UNESCO. After her speech, a video clip of an interview with Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ), who was a sponsor and the patron of the event, was shown. In the video, LKJ commended the exceptional character and work of May Ayim and expressed his support for naming the award “May Ayim Award”.
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 The video was followed by speeches from organizers and supporters including Ekpenyong Ani, Peggy Piesche, Sven Arnold from the House of World Cultures and Christine M. Merkel from the German UNESCO Commission. There was a round of applause for the speakers while the spotlight was gradually deemed and there was a brief silence in the hall. Then, a strong lively voice from the stage side went through the hall; the voice of Adetoun Adebisi-Küppers who came up on stage as the moderator of the event. She welcomed the guests jovially in German, English and Yoruba languages and gave information about the contestants' works received, the elected members of the jury, the process the jury adopted in selecting the winners and the agenda for the evening. She was later joined by the initiator of the award, her husband Michae Küppers-Adebisi, who expressed his gratefulness to everyone that contributed in making the event a reality.
 
 Adebayo Adebisi 
 
 The well moderated award ceremony continued with performances by contestants in each category of the award as well as shows by special guests. Winners in each category were announced as soon as the contestants have presented their works. Each of the first prize winners received a golden sculpture and a bunch of flowers from Stephen Lawson while the second and third prize winners received a bunch of flowers each. The sculture was created by Stephen Lawson for the award. The category winners include the following:
 
EPIC
First Prize
Name: Mario Curvello

Work/Title: Die letzte Fabel der Schildkröte

Second Prize
Name: Kofi Yakpo

Work/Title: Love of Convenience

Third Prize
Name: Luc Degla

Work/Title: Ein ganz normaler Abend

LYRIC
First Prize
Name: Olumide Popoola

Work/Title: Undercurrents

Second Prize
Name:
Amatoritsero Ede

Work/Title: The Skinhead’s Lord’s Prayer

Third Prize
Name: Hakim Al-Jamil aka Harold Lee Rush

Work/Title: Who killed McDuffie? A definitive question

MULTIMEDIA
First Prize
Name:  MC Santana

Work/Title: Watch Your Wayz

Second Prize
Name: Germ

Work/Title: G.E.R.M

Third Prize
Name: Kofi Yakpo

Work/Title: Ich hab geträumt

Competition Honary Mentioning
Name: Adedayo Adebisi

Work/Title: Freunde

Non Competition Honary Mentioning
Name: Yamile Lijphart

Work/Title: Painting
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 Photo Album>
 
 The end of the event was marked with note of thanks from Michael Küppers-Adebisi to the guests, the technical crew for making the technology work and the cooperation partners as well as supporters for their help. Olumide Popoola, the first prize winner in the category LYRIC was invited to perform again. At the end of her performance, she was presented with a bunch of beautiful flowers by Stephen Lawson and was joined on stage by other prize winners and organizers of the event. In all the guests witnessed a well organized literature prize award with a lot of fun and high quality professional performances. In the book May Ayim Award Erster internationaler schwarzer deutcher Literaturepreis 2004 ( Orlanda , Berlin 2004) more information is given about the award and the contestants. A list of the contestants and their works include the following:
 

EPIC: Mario Curvello (Die letzte Fabel der Schildkrote – Romanzero), Kofi Yakpo (Love of Convenience), Luc Degla (Ein ganz normaler Abend), Olumide Popoola (This is not about sadness), Whylee MC (Dillinger, der Finder – ein Romanfragment), Maureen Maisha R.Eggers (Wann und wo die Heilung geginnt) and Donna L. Clovis (Burden).

LYRIC: Olumide Popoola (undercurrents), Amatoritsero Ede (The Skinhead’s Lord’s Prayer), Hakim Al-Jamil (Who killed McDuffie? A definitive question), Amatoritsero (Speaking in tongues), Kabasia Katarina Chuwa (Immigrant), Uduma Kalu (The lottery), Kofi Yakpo (Ich hab’ getraumt), Pablo Menfesawe-Imani (Blackness), Anant Kumar (Relativitätstheorie), Anant Kumar (Der Negger des Biergartens), Arturo Rodriguez Bobb (von meiner Straße aus), Cinnamon Sandjon (sinnend ICH sein), Lesego Rampolokeng (sevens sealed swaskrit), Amy Evans (autobiography of a deconstructionist), Uche Nduka (Oh Friend), Uche nduka (A Pledge) and eborah Moses-Sanks (Smiling Woman)

MULTIMEDIA: MC Santana with Blackfish (Wayz), Germ (Schicksal…und Gottes Gabe), Kofi Yakpo (Ich hab’ getraumt), Bantu (Omowale), Curly Energies (Sun Leegba Love – Gen Impuls, bullet_proof_soul – Let them move, Alison – It’s only me, Elem Enopeh – Qualität, Funk a Tear – Introscope) and Macht der Nacht (digital)

Competition Honary Mentioning: Adedayo Adebisi (Freunde) and Non Competition Honary Mentioning: Yamile Lijphart (Untitled painting)

Contributions by members of the Macht der Nacht include Ika Hügel-Marshall (Wurzeln), Angela Alagiyawanna-Kadalie (Almanach der Ahnen), Modupe Laja (Chains of Time), Magali schmid-Mbawala (Just a Shade of Color) Raphael Dernbach (Liebe), Sheila Mysorekar (Things that happened at the end of the world) and Michael Küppers-Adebisi (Den sprachballast abwerfen).

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