The ocean in words and pictures

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The ocean in words and pictures

Many children in remote areas of Namibia hear about Walvis Bay, sea animals and the lagoon, but they have never seen a boat, dolphin or flamingo, among others. 

This prompted journalist Taati Niilenge to write ‘Pewa’s Ocean Adventures’, providing an insight into the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean through pictures and words.

Niilenge told Youth Corner the original concept for the booklet is from 10-year-old Hedwich ‘Pewa’ Kanghuti, who approached her to write a children’s book. 

“We thought that the ideal topic would be to write something about the ocean, especially the Walvis Bay lagoon that would enable her peers in Namibia, Africa and the world at large to experience the beauty of the Namibian ocean, and help promote the Namibian tourism sector,” she explained. 

Another reason for crafting the booklet, she said, was to entice people to visit Walvis Bay, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that hit the coastal tourism sector hard for the past two years.

Gathering information for the booklet, Niilenge worked with the Lady Victoria Tours and the Walvis Bay Tour Guides companies, who allowed her to take Kanghuti on trips into the sea. 

“I captured real-life pictures of everything that she experienced on the boat tours. We also worked with the Flamingo Villa Boutique Hotel, where Pewa and her “family” (actors) stayed.”

Asked about her experience while compiling the booklet, which took her about two weeks, Niilenge said it was interesting to see Kanghuti’s excitement every time she saw something like a seal or boat. 

“I enjoyed taking pictures of every scene. We decided to take real-life pictures and not use cartoons, as we want children to see the real thing. Surprisingly, it was hard to do the layout of the book, since its mostly with pictures. Usually, I write stories without pictures, but it was a great learning experience.”

The 40-page booklet, which was translated into Oshiwambo, Afrikaans and Spanish, also has the objective of creating a reading culture in children, “as the world has changed a lot from reading books to being addicted to electronic devices”.

“We hope that this book will, especially, reach the remote areas of Namibia and Africa, where the imagination of rural children can be awakened,” expressed Niilenge, who has also authored three other books, in collaboration with other Namibian women, focusing on gender equality. 

‘Pewa’s Ocean Adventures’ was sold for the first time at World Ocean Day celebrations at Walvis Bay on 10 and 11 June 2022. 

Two days later, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes officially launched it and commended the author for featuring the ocean, saying: “after all, the whole of Namibia benefits from the ocean”.  

On her part, Kanghuti said she was excited to be a character in a booklet, but is mostly happy that other children will see a dolphin, seal, flamingo and the Walvis Bay lagoon.

She and Niilenge wish for companies to adopt schools in their towns and sponsor at least 10 books for those schools’ libraries, so that every child can experience the beauty of the ocean.

They plan to channel funds from the sale of the booklet towards the Walvis Bay problem of drug abuse among learners.

The book is sold at the Lady Victoria and Walvis Bay Tour Guide boat companies. 

Niilenge can be reached on 0812491161.