The chosen symbol for the 2023 edition of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards is the aloe (Aloe littoralis).
A common sight in Windhoek and greater Namibia, the aloe uses its unique biological attributes to survive challenging weather conditions. Its thick succulent leaves store moisture that sustains it through long periods of low rainfall. When in bloom, throughout autumn and winter, it produces dull rose-red or bright red-yellowish flowers that seem to crown the plant with a warm flame. Able to survive temperatures as low as -3.9°C, it withstands the coldest Namibian winters in resolute majesty. The aloe’s flowers and leaves are edible and can be harvested from the wild as a local food and for their medicinal properties.
Bank Windhoek, Doek, and Namibian literary artists mirror this wonderful local plant in interesting ways: all of them have adapted to the country’s demanding artistic climate while producing stories and art that nourish their respective communities. Together, Bank Windhoek, Doek, and Namibian writers, poets, and visual artists are committed to bringing the country’s hidden stories to local and global audiences as well as archiving them for present and future generations.
The aloe is yet another representation of Doek’s motto and the wisdom which makes great storytelling possible: hope and optimism in spite of present difficulties.
The 2023 concept and logo were designed by Clara Mupopiwa, an award-winning multidisciplinary Namibian designer and educator.
The trophies of the 2023 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards were designed by Erik Schnack, an award-winning Namibian sculptor.
Using collected metal cans and stitched together with metal wire, each trophy is a painstakingly crafted creation imbued with individual colours and contours—no two trophies are the same.
The trophies are unique pieces of art that will be presented to the 2023 winners and serve as a reminder of the inter-connectedness of the arts and the practitioners working to tell stories to local and international audiences. In creating these special designs, Erik Schnack has expended his skill and craft with care and dedication—the recipients of the 2023 awards for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual arts awards will be rewarded with trophies to treasure.
Every ten years, an exhibition of the various awards shall be held to showcase these special pieces of art and the concepts that inspired their creation.