The publication is a cornucopia of extraordinary and fascinating material which is a resource for students, teachers and readers interested in Namibia. It aims to fill a huge gap in Namibian literature and contributes to a greater understanding and knowledge of this rich field.
The strength of the book lies in its egalitarian and inclusive approach and the way it contextualises the political archaeology of place, time and people. Writing Namibia restores balance in addressing silences around gender, race and orature. The text is wide ranging defining literature in its broadest terms.
The 24 chapters cover literature of all genres in Namibia since independence: written and performance poetry, Oshiwambo orature, drama, novels, women’s writing, Ju|’hoansi literature, publishing, autobiography, children’s literature, story-telling through film, Otjiherero praise poetry, subaltern studies, Afrikaans fiction, German literature and the interface between literature and society.
Notwithstanding the fact that the book is academic in nature, it will also appeal to general readers who are interested in learning about the country and the creative writing that is popular here. Namibian post-independence literature is noted for capturing the nuances of a new nation attempting to forge its identity and developing a sense of nationalism and pride, which is reflected in many of the chapters.
Self-determination and national sovereignty came to Namibia only in 1990. Since then new themes and original ideas have been expressed signifying transition that finds mention in the title.
The shift in literature from emancipation and solidarity in the anti-colonial struggle to critical reflections under a new government are reflected in the chapters.
While some of the critique focus on negative elements and discuss ‘struggle literature,’ most contributors are very optimistic and testify to Namibian aspirations to find their own means of positive expression.