A performance poet makes a debut, Nigerian crime thriller writer Leye Adenle dreams of a factory of firsts, and a technicolour taxi bursts into flame in Doek! Literary Magazine’s vivid tenth issue.
Co-founded in 2019 by acclaimed local author Rémy Ngamije, the Pan-African, free online publication is at the centre of a number of platforms designed to nurture Namibia’s budding crop of literary talent.
From last year’s inaugural Doek Literary Festival to the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards, the Narrating Namibia, Narrating Africa Doek Emerging Writers programme and an incoming Doek anthology, Doek stands tall as an independent arts organisation bent on elevating the often overlooked literary arts.
For its milestone tenth issue, the theme is ‘The Struggle’. In a selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, documentary photography and visual art, the battle is multifaceted and ranges from the struggle to live up to one’s parents’ expectations, to collect a passport from home affairs, to keep family secrets, to leave and to returnn home, to survive sexual assault and to face the lingering horror of the Herero and Nama genocide.
Harrowing in historical poetry by genocide activist Keith Vries who asks “who did you leave in the waters surrounding Shark Island?”, in poems of predatory uncles by Veripuami Nandee Kangumine and in words by Frieda Mukufa who writes “I am afraid that my name will be accompanied by the word #JusticeForEtuhole” as she considers the country’s staggering incidents of deadly violence against women, Doek! reflects contemporary Namibian life to bear witness, in vignettes and to cast spells against what seems inevitable.
Upon the tenth issue’s publication which includes two poems by Mukufa who regularly performs her poetry as Damn Etu, the writer tweets: “Yesterday, @doeklitmag published their 10th issue and I woke up a published poet.”
Mukufa’s literary magazine debut is a Doek! raison d’être, namely to provide a platform for writers to emerge professionally and within a literary community that will drive them to thrive.
“As a poet and literary individual, I am glad to know that there is a literary magazine whose aim is to provide a platform to talented Namibian writers and those who aspire to showcase their work,” says Mukufa.
“Doek! recognises the talent that exists within Namibia and I believe it is yet to be fully tapped into. Having a space where my work can exist for generations to come, where my work is not changed in form or shape, it means that freedom of expression
as a creative is entirely mine,” says Mukufa.
“For a few years now, most of the literary spaces that have been occupied by Namibian writers and creatives have been in academia. With Doek!, there is a lot of freedom to the work that the authors put out. This is important because everyone has
a different writing style and it should be celebrated as is, without too many rules around it.”
Featuring auralgraphs from Angola and Eswatini, images of the Afro-Brazilian tradition ‘Bori’ by cover artists Daisy Serena and Sergio Silva, as well as colonial era and nation building documentary photography from Windhoek to Khartoum by Dieter Hinrichs amid much more, Doek! marks its tenth outing with a bright, continent-trotting issue that speaks of home and beyond the horizon.
– email@example.com; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthmukaiwa.com