Following her award for Best Screenplay for the film ‘Hairareb’ at the King Moshoesho Film Festival 2023 in Lesotho recently, Aina Kwedhi is looking forward to writing more scripts, working with more Namibian producers and sharing Namibian stories with the world.
Hairareb also won five other awards at the festival: Best Feature Film for Executive Producer Dantagos Jimmy-Melani and Producer Ellen Ernst; Best Actress for Claudine de Groot; Best Actor for the late David Ndjavera; Best Director for Oshovelio Shipoh and Best Cinematography for Antonius Tsoub.
Kwedhi told VIBEZ! she feels honoured because the award was unexpected.
She said the script took her about a year to write.
“I was introduced to the concept in 2016 when the Namibia Film Commission (NFC) invited me and another writer to attend a development workshop that was facilitated by Ben Johnson Jr, a professional screenwriter from South Africa, to adapt two books into short scripts: ‘Product of Trauma’ and ‘Hairareb’,” she explained.
“Initially, I was only assigned to adapt ‘Product of Trauma’ but ended up adapting ‘Hairareb’ also.
I was a bit surprised when they assigned me to write a script for ‘Hairareb’ because another writer was supposed to be working on that. I wrote a short script in 2018 that was sent out to a group of producers and ended up with Ndapunikwa’s production house. I then started working with Ndapunikwa to develop the story into a feature-length screenplay that would later go into production in January 2019.”
Kwedhi said she loves writing and has always used writing as a form of therapy.
“I used to write a lot in high school and didn’t even know about screenwriting until I watched the episode of the Nickelodeon show Victorious, called ‘Wi-Fi in the Sky’, in which the characters had a group project to write a script. I fell in love with the craft. So, I started researching and reading a lot of scripts.”
According to her, ‘Hairareb’ is a Namibian story; the characters, the landscape, the wardrobe, all show so much appreciation for Namibia as a country. She is proud of the film because they owe it to Namibians to show other nations who they are, as Namibians, through film.
With her contribution, the multi-award-winning film ‘Hairareb’ is officially an African classic, having already achieved a number of continental and international accolades, including winning Best Feature Film Southern Africa and Best Director at the 9th SOTAMBE International Film and Arts Festival in Lusaka, Zambia, in September 2022.
The film also captured the coveted Best Movie Southern Africa trophy at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award Ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2022.
The film was nominated for Best Feature Narrative at the 30th Annual Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles in May 2022, and previously received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Awards for Hazel Hinda in Cannes and Lagos, respectively, in 2021.
‘Hairareb’ is also the current holder of the Best Narrative Film, Best Director and Best Male Actor Awards at the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards.
Hairareb is based on a book by August C. Bikeur.
It was previously performed as a radio play in Khoekhoegowab, and later developed into a script by Kwedhi, funded by the NFC.