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Namibians have stories to tell

2021-11-26  Paheja Siririka

Namibians have stories to tell
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Ndawedwa Hanghuwo, Natasha Uys, Pauline Buhle Ndhlovu and Namafu Amutse were recently honoured with first places in the 2021 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards.

These awards are given every two years to celebrate the works of four Namibian literary artists—two writers (fiction and non-fiction), a poet, and a visual artist—published in Doek! Literary Magazine (Doek!). 

Hanghuwo, who is studying towards a degree in English Literature at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, won the best fiction award. His story titled “Silhouette” showcases confidence and a compelling voice, according to the judges.

“The twist in this wonderful short story is a bonus that exhibits his writing acumen and willingness to push beyond the boundaries of the ordinary,” said the judges.

Hanghuwo has been writing since 2017, and this is his first publication. The fact that it scooped an award has motivated him to pursue his writing career.

“In terms of Namibian literature, I want us to be known and to go out there in the world. I want us to inspire Namibian writers. When people hear Namibia, I want them to think of literary arts,” he said happily.

Uys, who won the non-fiction category, said the awards are validating and honouring. 

“I have been writing as a journalist for about 16 years. However, I have been writing on a more personal level longer. I believe every story is worth telling, and as someone who has written about Namibian books, I have received many books and spoken to many authors. I know that Namibians have stories to tell, and those stories are worthwhile,” she added.

Uys’ ‘Ouma Sophie’s Gold’ was described as poignant and exemplary non-fiction writing, and was unanimously selected by the judges. 

Uys is a journalist and editor from Windhoek. She is currently studying media management through the Sol Plaatje Institute at Rhodes University.

Her biggest wish for Namibian literature is that more people tell their stories so that they can be shared.

Ndhlovu won the poetry award for ‘Green And Greening’, while Amutse won the visual art category for ‘Chrysalis’.

The fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual arts winners are awarded N$ 5 000 each from Bank Windhoek, the official sponsor of the Doek Literary Awards. They also receive a unique trophy designed by Attila Giersch, an award-winning Namibian jeweller.

In addition to this, they each receive a custom-made leather book jacket from Leon Engelbrecht Design. The fiction and non-fiction winners each receive N$ 2 500 vouchers from Gondwana and Namibia Wildlife Resorts, respectively.

Each shortlisted writer receives a N$ 1 000 book voucher from the Book Den generously sponsored by AdForce, a bottle of Guardian Peak wine provided by Namibia Wine Merchants, a bottle of Desolate Gin from Copper & Coal Distillery, and a hamper from Namibia Dairies.

Bank Windhoek has been committed to supporting local art creatives by financially boosting the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards, which seek to recognise their literary talent and amplify their work to new audiences at home and abroad.

“We firmly believe in giving back to the communities in which we operate and supporting the causes that truly make a difference at a grassroots level, where the community is strongest and where common values and experiences dominate and bind,” stated Jacquiline Pack, the bank’s marketing and communications executive.

2021-11-26  Paheja Siririka

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