On Saturday October 8, 2016, the Writivism management learnt with great regret, of allegations of serial plagiarism levied against the winner of the first Okot P Bitek Prize for Poetry in Translation. We strongly condemn the theft of creative ideas and attempts to profit from them. Our instant investigation reveals that two of the five poems submitted to the Okot P Bitek Prize for Poetry in Translation, ‘A Dua for the Masses’ and ‘she was born natural’ contain ideas and words that belong to other poets.
The last line in ‘she was born natural’ represents the seriousness of the similarity between Redscar’s version and the other version, the only difference being the replacement of Oakland, with Nairobi:
REDSCAR: she was born natural
“she was born natural, permed, for one summer thick strands strung out on chlorine in NAIROBI swimming pools crying for the thick to come back”
NIJLA (pub’d 2013): I was born natural
permed for one summer
thick strands strung out on chlorine
in Oakland swimming pools
crying for the thick to come back
Investigations into the matter continue, including seeking Mr. Redscar McOdindo K’Oyugi’s defence and explanation, as we are committed to ensuring a fair hearing and presumption of innocence alongside other due process guarantees. A decision on the remedies in the matter shall be announced as soon as it is reached. We reiterate our commitment to supporting creativity, originality and authenticity.