WINDHOEK – Youth activist, Job Amupanda, has a radical transformation bookshop, an initiative he operates together with his likeminded peer, Henry Shimutwikeni.
The bookshop has more than 200 titles (books) from more than 150 authors from Namibia and beyond, particularly African. Onesmus Embula talks to him about it.
Tell us all about Radical Books initiative, objectives and what inspired this idea?
Radical Books is an Afrocentric bookstore with three interconnected objectives; the creation of critical consciousness, shouldering radical and local authors and providing employment and internship opportunities. By and with critical consciousness we hope to contribute to a Namibia whose children, youth and adult are well read and understands our collective interest as a people and society. Indeed, it is our deliberate objective that the books we make available provides to our people an authentic knowledge of self. This knowledge-of-self should then lead to confidence-of-self. Shouldering local authors in general and black authors in general is our second objective. There are many authors who have written wonderful books over the years but these books are either in boxes under their beds or in the boots of their cars. Imagine an author that travels, all the time, with books in the bag as he gets into a taxi from place to place. Most of these books are rejected or seen as not important by existing shelves. We are changing this. Authors will no longer abandon their dreams of telling their stories in books fearing that their books will be rejected. We would like to change that and we will be there for our authors. Thirdly, apart from employment, we will be providing to few of the youth who will be fortunate to be employed there, we will be announcing internship opportunities for students studying library and information science, accounting and book keeping, finance and business administration, communication, marketing and ICT and any other opportunities for our youth to learn and practice their skills in a work environment. It will be exciting. The future will be so bright. The youth will need sunglasses.
Who are your target audience/ market?
The target audience is all those who want to emancipate themselves from mental slavery, those seeking to shield themselves from the illicit society and those seeking an authentic knowledge and confidence of self. We will also be having several prescribed books for several social science disciplines for students at NUST, UNAM and IUM. We are also working on several packages that will be made available in January 2019.
What are your views regarding the culture of reading in Namibia currently and what impact do you intend to spark?
We have been hearing that we have a low reading culture. It is not really our concern because we know that those who claim that our youth do not read have not done anything to change that. We are not concerned because our youth will now understand that the arrival of Radical Books means that they now need to start reading. The Namibia we are crafting will not have room for the ignorant. It will require a generation of young men and women who are operating at high level of knowledge and detest ignorance. Radical books are at the centre of that vision.
Anything else you wish to add, perhaps the future plans of this project?
Given that our country now has free primary and free secondary education, those who do not take education seriously will have limited privilege and opportunities in a Namibia we are crafting. In the new Namibia we are crafting, young men and women will be selecting boyfriends and girlfriends, apart from love, on the basis of knowledge and consciousness they have. We not only have radical books in our store, we also have the biggest Oshiwambo collection in Windhoek. All the storybooks used in schools are there from the well-known authors. Those that miss the Oshiwambo novels they did at school must visit us to get sentimentally reunited with the old times.
We have English-Oshindonga, English-Otjiherero and English-Oshikwanyama books that deals with common expressions. Parents whose children never get an opportunity to study Otjiherero and Oshiwambo at school are buying these for their children to learn at home. We also have many authors such as Sisa Namandje, Archie Benjamin, Peter Ekandjo, Prince Mashele, Steve Biko, Pallo Jordan, Chinua Achebe, Angula Ndjembo, Seth Boois, Petrus Mbenzi, Petrus Amakali, Paavo Hasheela, Secilia Nekwaya, Tuhafeni Da Silva, Shiimi yaShiimi, Rachel Shaketange and many others. We encourage many Namibians to visit us at no 40 Schonlein Street in Windhoek-West.
New Era Reporter
2018-11-28 11:45:09 9 months ago