With the announcement of the 2023 BWDLA’s longlist, the local literary in Namibia was abuzz with excitement and discussion about the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art that was eligible for consideration by the judges. Adjudicated by Dr Nelson Mlambo, a lecturer specialising in African literature, Natasha Uys, a well-known journalist and the winner of the 2021 Nonfiction Award of the BWDLAs, and Namafu Amutse, one of Namibia’s most talented visual artists, who also won the inaugural Visual Arts Award of the BWDLAs in 2021, this year’s offering of writings from Namibia provided the reading public with writings covering a broad set of themes. The writings, too, highlighted the diversity of storytelling that is alive in the country, as well as the growing commitment to crafting stories that have local and universal appeal. Compiling the shortlist, then, was no easy task for the judges; choosing the final four winners was much harder.
After weeks of discussion and deliberation, the judges of the 2023 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards are delighted to announce the winners of the second edition of these crucial and community-building awards.
The winners are:
for “Letters To Chloe”
published in Issue 7: November, 2021
“Roxane Bayer’s winning short story is a sensitively written piece about the changing nature of friendship and how it affects two friends who slowly grow apart. Bayer’s writing is both poised and poetic, and has keen observations of the devastation caused by the loss of companionship.”
Roxane Bayer is a Namibian writer and reader. She obtained a BSc in Earth Science from Stellenbosch University and her undergraduate and honours degrees from the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Journalism and Media Technology. Roxane’s bylines have appeared in The Namibian. Her short story “Bastards Of Remember When” was published in Now Now: The 2023 Doek Anthology. She was a member of 2022-2023 Doek Collective.
Nina Van Zyl
published in Issue 8: May, 2022
“Motherhood—both its joys and sadnesses, its gifts and its burdens—continues to be rich literary terrain for Namibian writers with numerous submissions delving into the complexities and challenges of the important social state. Nina Van Zyl’s “Motherhood” explores her pregnancy and child-rearing experiences. Searing and honest, Van Zyl’s writing adds a distinctly Namibian voice to the burgeoning literature—both in Africa and the rest of the world—of women’s experiences of motherhood.”
Nina Van Zyl is a Namibian freelance writer, illustrator and photographer. She holds a BA degree from the University of Stellenbosch. In 2021, her visual essay “Threshold” was longlisted for the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards. From the gritty creative spaces of Braamfontein to the optimism of Windhoek’s media industries, Nina continues to explore what it means to create and to be authentic to her soul.
Veripuami Nandee Kangumine
for “Daughters Of A Witch”, “There Isn’t A Word In Your Language For Being Touched”, and “The Jackal Who Prepares You For Marriage”
published in Issue 7: November, 2021 and Issue 10: May, 2023 respectively
“Veripuami Nandee Kangumine composes poems that provide visceral sensorial explorations of trauma and violence. Her winning trio of poems—”Daughters Of A Witch”, “There Isn’t A Word In Your Language For Being Touched”, and “The Jackal Who Prepares You For Marriage”—are ruminations in the language of loss—of identity, of innocence, and of bodily autonomy, daily and generational occurrences that women in Namibia suffer and endure. With careful compositions, stanzas that sing off the page and into the heart and mind, Kangumine’s poetry is hailed as heralding a new age of Namibian poets.”
Veripuami Nandee Kangumine is a Namibian poet and writer. Her poems explore nostalgia and the multiple identities in which it manifests itself. In 2021 she was named by Isele Magazine as one of the young African Poets to watch. Her work also appears in My Heart In Your Hands: Poems From Namibia (UNAM Press, 2020) and Doek! Literary Magazine. She is a fellow of the Narrating Namibia, Narrating Africa Doek Emerging Writers Program.
for “The Gift”
published in Issue 9: September, 2022
“Namibian visual artists continue to produce works of photography and illustration that are stunning and haunting. In this regard, Jean-Claude Tjitamunisa’s photography series “The Gift” has been one of the most well-received visual offerings in Doek! Literary Magazine. His use of black masculine figures to explore gentleness and sensuality has defined his photographic style. This win is a testament to his talent, his skill, and his determination to continue producing authentically Namibian visions.”
Jean-Claude Tjitamunisa is a Windhoek-born multi-faceted creative. He recently had his first solo exhibition for his abstract-architectural body of work titled “Unseen” which was published in Issue 3: Stories From A Small Alace… and longlisted for the 2021 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards. He is the Head of Social Media and Marketing for Turipamwe, an award-winning design agency.
Congratulations to all of the winners of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards.
This year’s BWDLAs have been endowed with prizes that are designed to support writers, poets, and visual artists as they bring their visions and tales to life in Namibia. Led by Bank Windhoek, the official sponsor of the Doek Literary Awards, the winners of each category—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art—will be awarded NAD5000 in cash.
Thanks to the Gondwana, Namibia’s premier collection of lodges and resorts, each winner will also receive a voucher to rest, recuperate, and dream of new stories and visions at one of their lodges.
The Wine Shop, one of Namibia’s leading wine distributors, will generously provide wine to all of the shortlisted literary artists and judges—wine, literature, and artists have long enjoyed close relationships and it is encouraging to see The Wine Shop continuing these storied affairs.
To fuel the creative fires, Namibia Dairies will provide hampers containing some of their most popular products to all of the writers, poets, and visual artists whose works make it to this year’s shortlist.
Because Bank Windhoek and Doek believe in recognising as many literary artists as possible, all of the longlisted writers, poets, and visual artists, will be invited to participate in creative writing and storytelling workshops focusing on their specific fields of creation. The attendance fees and materials needed to meaningfully participate in these workshops will be generously sponsored by Bank Windhoek.