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 concept will be translated into a physical award designed by Erik Schack, an award-winning Namibian sculptor.
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.