• July 9th, 2020

Are Namibians reading locally authored books?

  Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK- Everybody has become a writer all of a sudden. Blog posts, memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, you name it, are some of the literary works that Namibians have recently been engaged in.

Radical Books is an Afrocentric bookstore with three interconnected objectives  to create critical consciousness, to shoulder radical and local authors and provide employment and internship opportunities. Mirjam Hauwanga, the Operational Manager of Radical Books, says the bookstore holds more than 100 books from Namibian established and upcoming authors. 

“We have about 105 different books in different quantities written by different authors,” she says.
For bookstores such as Radical Books to take in written work, there are set criteria used to scrutinise the work. The criterion for taking in a new book is they (authors) should have a good message to put out there. 

Speaking to Entertainment Now! this week, Hauwanga pointed out that the book should be launched before it lands on their shelves and, if not, they launch it for the author. 
“It should not contain lies or bad controversial theories. A bonus point is that the book must be written by a Namibian,” stated Hauwanga.

She mentioned that they take one copy to read. This process takes about one to two weeks then after that, they revert to the author. Hence, the person bringing the books needs to be the owner or author. Another factor that prevents Radical Books and other bookshops from taking in books is the price of some books. “Some books may have an unreasonable price when it comes to sales, so we usually look at the price so that we don’t have a book on our shelves that is not making any sales at all,” she explained. 

On whether she sees Namibians as readers and buyers of books, Hauwanga said they are avid readers. “Oh, yes, they read, very much. Namibians do love reading a lot. And the books that I have seen, which people are more interested in reading are those about Namibian history,” she outlined.

Entertainment Now! spoke to Otto Kapuka, who is busy with his third book, was keen to find out what keeps him writing, why does he write and what advice he has for future authors. 
“One thing that I can tell you is the impact and that’s how I have been operating. It is of utmost importance that you write with an intention,” said Kapuka.

He mentioned that one of the reasons why Namibians are not writing is because of the lack of diversity. People do not have the ideal content and diversity when it comes to writing. 

Kapuka said his style of writing is mostly influenced by society. “What has kept me writing to a point where I am busy with my third book is the fact that I am living. And when you live, you experience things and when you experience things you learn from them and you pass on what you have learned through writing, ” he highlighted.

Finance will always be an issue, especially in these tough economic times. “I am including something about money in my next book, the moment you use your own money to publish a book you have to know whether you will be able to recover that from the sales of your books,” said Kapuka. 
He advised future authors to know their target audiences because they are the ones who will be bringing in revenue.  

Consistency seems to be the order of the day as far as being an author is concerned. “When I wrote my first book, I knew that my second book was coming and when I started with my second book, the third book was already in the pipeline,” said Kapuka.

The top bestselling books at Radical Books include ‘Successful Entrepreneurship’ by Twapewa Kadhikwa, ‘The Process’ by Sesilia Nekwaya, ‘The Ndonga Royal Kings’ by H D Namuhuja, ‘Olufuko Festival: Practice and Perspectives of the female Initiation Rite- A research prepared by the Outapi Town Council’ by Unam, ‘Wrongly Framed’ by Rhingo Mutumbo and ‘Everything is War’ by Otto Kapuka.

New Era Reporter
2019-08-16 09:26:56 | 10 months ago

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