Zimbabwe writer Mhlanga honoured
Cont Mhlanga has written several plays and books
Zimbabwean playwright Cont Mhlanga, an outspoken opponent of Robert Mugabe's regime, has been honoured with an international award.
Mhlanga has won the inaugural $50,000 (?33,000) Artventure Freedom to Create Prize for his politically-charged satirical play The Good President.
The prize was created to honour artists who defend their freedom of expression at great personal sacrifice.
Mhlanga was one of several people and groups honoured at the London ceremony.
He was described by the philanthropic organisation as a "fierce opponent" of the Mugabe regime.
Mhlanga said he wished the world would stop talking to Robert Mugabe. He wants the world to listen to the voices of the people, the people whose lives he writes about.
Razia Iqbal, BBC Arts correspondent
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The Good President depicts an African dictator who has ruled Zimbabwe for 27 years since the country gained independence in 1980.
The play is presented as a fictional account, but closely mirrors recent and current events in Zimbabwe.
Speaking from Zimbabwe, Mhlanga said: "I am extremely humbled by the recognition of my work. This award is not just for me, it is for those artists who are victimised for working with me, and it is an award for theatre in this country.
"Theatre is the only tool that amplifies the people's voice in Zimbabwe."
A statement from Artventure said Mhlanga had been "challenging and questioning state ideologies, policies, corruption, nepotism and leadership" for more than 25 years.
Mhlanga will dedicate ?16,000 of his prize towards making his work available to a wider audience and to the southern Africa region.
Second place went to the Belarus Free Theatre, an underground project founded in 2005 as an artistic means of resisting censorship.
Pakistani-Norwegian singer and human rights activist Deeyah, nicknamed "The Muslim Madonna", was third.
Burmese satirist Zarganar, who was recently imprisoned for 45 years, was awarded the Imprisoned Artist Prize.
The ?16,000 Youth Prize went to City of Rhyme, a 14-strong hip-hop group from northern Brazil, whose lyrics condemn violence.
Kutsho i BBC NEWS 26/11/2008
Ngithanda ukuhalalisela leliqhawe likaMthwakazi nge international award ayiphiweyo kuphakanyiswa ikhono lakhe kanye lesibindi sokumela incindezelo lokuhlukunyezwa ngumgabe. Kunengi esimazi ngakho ikakhulu ku theatre, music,TV dramas kanye lezamasiko. Ngikhumbula i Ndebele "cultural village" yakhe duze leMakhokhoba.Ngake ngayidla inyama yokoswa laphayana kanye lebhobola eliphekwe ngolaza.Lezivakatshi zami ezazivela ekudeni zadla zancinda li recipe yesiNdebele ezazingayazi. Ngazizwa ngizigqaja ngobuntu bami.
Ngithi kuCont; sifunda okunengi kuwe kaMhlanga. U Nkulunkulu akunike amandla uqhubekele phambili ngomsebenzi omuhle.Lathi sithola i inspiration, sizozama ukwenza ama "cultural villages" lapho esikhona, ukuze siziqakise ngenvelaphi yethu.
Uyibambe ungayeki. Singabayini ngaphandle kwakho!