On Tuesday, 28 November 2023, the 2023 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards judges announced the winners of the second edition of the community-building awards ceremony hosted in Windhoek.
In the fiction section, Roxane Bayer was announced as the winner for “Letters To Chloe”. Her 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 is one of the writers who was selected to be a member of the 2022-2023 Doek Collective, a group of Namibian writers who, through Doek’s efforts and nurturing, have been featured at the 2022 Doek Literary Festival and had their work published in Now Now: The 2023 Doek Anthology.
Nina Van Zyl’s “Motherhood”, was awarded the nonfiction award for her essay, which explores her experiences of pregnancy and child-rearing. In 2021, Van Zyl was previously longlisted for the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards in the Visual Art category for her photo essay “Threshold.”
Veripuami Nandee Kangumine, the winner of the poetry section, 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.
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. In 2021, Tjitamunisa was longlisted for the BWDLAs in the visual art category.
The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards (BWDLAs) are awarded every two years to celebrate the works of four Namibian literary artists published in Doek! Literary Magazine. The publication is Namibia’s first and only literary magazine. As part of Doek’s mission to foster a robust literary community in the country, the Awards seek to bring a wider Namibian and international audience to the selected works and literary artists.
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, 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 works covering a broad set of themes.
While congratulating the winners, Bank Windhoek’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sponsorships, Bronwyn Moody, said as Connectors of Positive Change, the Bank believes in the power of storytelling, capturing the imagination of audiences and taking them on a journey, whether the medium is sculpture, the written word, photography, or theatre.
Moody added that sponsoring the Bank Windhoek Doek! Awards support the Bank’s belief that creativity holds incredible value, not only to the artist but to society at large. “As we journey together with Doek! Literary magazine, we bolter Doek's mission of fostering a robust literary community in our country and shine a light on their vision of anchoring Namibian work on the African continent and beyond,” she said. The next Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards edition will be hosted in 2025.