Berlin-based journalist Trish Lorenz has been announced as the winner of the 2020/2021 Nine Dots Prize for her ‘compelling and well-evidenced’ response.
Lorenz’s winning essay argued that no question of what it means to be young in the 21st century should overlook the significant youth populations of sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Focusing on Nigeria – one of the youngest countries in the world, where more than 42% of the population is under 14 years old – as a case study, she proposes to conduct in-depth interviews and discussions with the youth population to explore the topics such as: the role urbanisation is playing in defining this generation, and how this generation is in turn redefining the notion of an African city; the emergence of a distinct generational identity across music, fashion, design, art, and culture; and how this generation is employing technological solutions to become self-sufficient and solve pan-African and global issues. She will also look at the discrepancy between the average age of the population and the age of its leaders, who are amongst the oldest in the world and focus on the activists challenging traditional societal norms and carving out a new vision of what it means to be African.
Lorenz has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She is a regular contributor to titles including The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Telegraph, among others, and her reporting has included covering stories in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Formerly a design columnist at The Independent and the Lisbon correspondent for Monocle magazine, she covers subjects ranging from design, art and culture to travel, politics and human interest. She moved to Berlin in early 2020. Prior to that she lived in Lisbon for eight years, working as a correspondent in Portugal and the Portuguese speaking world, a role that involved travel and reporting on African Portuguese speaking countries such as Cape Verde.
Lorenz said: “I am very excited to have been chosen as this year’s winner. The topic is a subject that’s close to my heart – in my travels to African countries I’ve always been struck by the energy, commitment and positivity of the young people I’ve met. I’m very happy that the prize will give me a chance to learn more about some of their lives, achievements and ambitions and to share their stories more widely across the world.”
Soro Soke: The Young Disruptors of an African Megacity
May 26, 2022
For the first time in human history, people aged over 65 now outnumber children under five. Yet one region in the world is bucking this trend: the world’s top 20 youngest countries by population are all located in sub-Saharan Africa, and Africa’s population under 35 now equals almost a billion people. Whilst there has been much research and reportage in the West around the lives of millennials and Gen Z, little has been written on the dreams and aspirations, the fears and hopes, the needs and desires of young Africans. The Yoruba expression Soro Soke, meaning “Speak Up”, has become a clarion call for young Nigerians seeking to make their voices heard, resonating across the African continent and around the world via social media. Trish Lorenz speaks to the bright new entrepreneurs, artists, and activists of Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria, to understand what it means to be young in an otherwise ageing world.
This book is currently available to pre-order and will be free to download from 26 May 2022.
Yevgenia Albats is a Distinguished Journalist in Residence at New York University's Jordan Centre, and the former Editor in Chief and CEO of the Russian political weekly New Times as well as an anchor with Echo Moskva broadcasting.View profile
Anne Applebaum is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a Pulitzer-prize winning historian. She is also Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics’ Institute of Global Affairs where she runs Arena, a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda.View profile
Bibi Bakare-Yusuf is co-founder and publishing director of Cassava Republic Press, one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, and the co-founder of Tapestry Consulting, a boutique research and training company focused on gender, sexuality and transformational issues in Nigeria.View profile
Professor of English at Cambridge University since 2012, Steven Connor is Director of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).View profile
Petina Gappah is a widely translated Zimbabwean writer and an international trade and investment lawyer, currently she is the Principal Legal Advisor to the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade AreaView profile
Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek Literature and Culture and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge.View profile
Alcinda Honwana is Strategic Director at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa and Centennial Professor at the Department of International Development at the London School of EconomicsView profile
Peter Kadas is a Trustee of the Kadas Prize Foundation.View profile
Roger Martin is Professor Emeritus and former Institute Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.View profile
Riccardo Rebonato is Professor of Finance at EDHEC Business School and Scientific Director of the EDHEC-Risk Climate Impact Institute. Previously he was Global Head of Rates and FX Research at PIMCO. He also served as Global Head of Market Risk, Global Head of Research and Head of Complex IR Derivatives Trading at several UK-based international institutions.View profile
David Runciman is Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge and presenter of the podcast Past Present FutureView profile
Eva Wolfangel is a journalist, speaker and moderator, named European Science Writer of the Year in 2018 by the Association of British Science WritersView profile