The 2023 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards has announced Dr Nelson Mlambo, Natasha Uys and Namafu Amutse as this year’s judging panel, while Clara Mupopiwa and Erik Schnack, are the commissioned artists.
The panel of judges features a diverse selection of award-winning literary professionals and enthusiasts from Namibia. They bring considerable experience to the adjudication process. They are committed to recognising and rewarding Namibian literary artists who have produced resonant works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.
As for the commissioned artists, each edition of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards carries a theme built around a specific concept. The idea is finally translated into physical form. It takes shape as unique trophies awarded to each year’s winning literary artists.
The judging panel profile
Dr Mlambo has degrees in literature and communication from the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Namibia (UNAM), and Stellenbosch University. He is a Senior Lecturer at UNAM; his areas of interest are literary studies, with a particular focus on African literature. Dr Mlambo is an Africa-Oxford (AfOx) Fellow and a Visiting Academic at Oxford University (2023-2024). He has published over 50 journal articles, books, and chapters on African literature.
Uys is a Namibian writer and editor from Windhoek. She has worked in the media industry for 17 years and regularly writes about her lifelong love: books. She works as a sub-editor for The Namibian newspaper and holds a postgraduate diploma in media management from Rhodes University. In November 2021, she won the inaugural nonfiction award at the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards for her essay "Ouma Sofie's Gold".
Amutse is a multidisciplinary artist from Namibia pursuing a Bachelor of Education Honours degree in English and German at the University of Namibia. She is a photographer, film director, and writer. In 2021 she became the inaugural visual arts winner at the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards for her photography series "Chrysalis", first published in Issue 4 of Doek Literary Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in Windhoek, Dubai, London, and Freiburg. Namafu’s work has been featured in Pitch Magazine, Culture Icon Zine, Tender Photo, Lolwe, and Black Masculinities.
Mupopiwa is an award-winning multidisciplinary designer and educator from Namibia. She sees the world through a curious and creative lens encompassing colours, patterns, form, typography, textures, and systems. She is most thrilled when these come to life in her graphic design work. With a love for the African continent, she is confident about Africa’s contribution to the design world. Her style is rooted in a self-proclaimed Afro-chic genre which she explores in various personal projects, building a meaningful, vibrant, and African-centred aesthetic narrative.
A graphic design lecturer at a local college in Namibia, Mupopiwa mentors talented young creatives pursuing design as a career path. She is passionate about skills transfer and mentorship. Mupopiwa's passion for the brand development industry has been recognised locally and regionally.
Schnack was born in Windhoek, Namibia. He is a Michaelis School of Fine Art graduate with a BA Hon (FA) specialising in sculpture. Schnack’s work ranges from sculpture, graphic art, animation, and installation art. He has participated in seven solo and 21 group exhibitions over four decades in Namibia, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Germany, the United States, Finland, and Serbia. He has won over ten local and international awards and nominations.
Schnack is well known for his mixed-media collaborations featuring art installations that explore mechanical movement, automation, technology, and Artificial Intelligence. Life-size organisms and creatures, organically shaped forms, and reliefs are regular features in his works which are handcrafted and delicately sewn together using discarded cans. Since 1996 Schnack has been an art lecturer at the College of the Arts, acting as the Head of the Department of Visual Arts from 2008 to 2009.
The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards are awarded every two years to celebrate the works of four Namibian literary artists published in Doek! Literary Magazine, 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.
Bank Windhoek and Doek said they are delighted at the appointment of this year’s judges and commissioned artists and wish them all well on their respective adjudication and creative journeys.