The Hand-in-Hand for Africa and Namibian Literature Award (HiHFA-NLA) is the third activity of BVIF. It was established in 2015 in Namibia, following the unique partnership formed between Hand-in-Hand for Africa e.V. (HiHFA) and the Bonny Vainö Idhenga Foundation (BVIF).
Descriptively, Hand in Hand for Africa e.V. (HiHFA), is an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) from Cologne, Germany, a donor organization that has been and still is actively involved in various humanitarian activities in Namibia. HiHFA is engaged for the benefit and growth of Namibia and her people.
The idea of establishing an Award for literature and academic work stems from the fact that the Apartheid system, which existed prior to independence, created a situation where the oppressed indigenous people had little to no education. This resulted in a general lack of appetite for the creation and enjoyment of literature, a factor that has continued to hamper the development of Namibia.
HiHFA & BVIF believe that encouraging authors and giving the public access to their literature will stimulate reading culture. This will also assist in the alleviation of poverty, as it is proven that reading and writing contribute to education and therefore to development. BVIF focuses on recognizing and rewarding people who are engaged in scripting Namibian literature and thus they are recognized as bringing positive changes to the future of Namibia.
The Focus on Literature (Why Literature?)
Literature is one of the most beautiful arts known to mankind. Be it fictional, non-fictional or academic, it plays a major role in the creation and maintenance of our daily lives. As is the norm with every other work of art, it educates and entertains.
Literature mirrors our society, and calls to us to look deeper at ourselves. It celebrates the beauty of life, the beauty of being a human being and the power of free will. Literature is also created to challenge individuals to questioning their standing and therefore purpose in society.
Written works further allow us to organize our thinking around values and ethics, allowing us to express our emotions, to enter new worlds, gain new insights and to travel without ever leaving our chairs, homes or nomadic routes.
This award intends to encourage Namibians to develop a passion for reading and writing in English, as it is the country’s official language. It also aims to assist up-and-coming authors to express creativity in their own indigenous languages. In addition, the award aims to create a positive attitude towards written works of Namibian origin.
The HiHFA-NLA will be held annually and it will allow entries by Namibian writers who have published outstanding work, as well as, works that are in the process of being published. It also allows for the consideration of literary works that have made a significant contribution in a particular sector of Namibian society. Entries will therefore be invited into the following categories:
- Published works
- Unpublished works
- English Language works
- Indigenous Language work
- Scientific (fictional & non-fictional) work
The award will consist of a congratulatory certificate and a monitory sum of N$30,000 (Thirty Thousand Namibian Dollars). This amount may be reviewed from time to time.
English and Indigenous Linguist Academics will nominate individual writers or groups of more than one writer. The BVIF Board of Trustees will invite esteemed Academics, writers and poets to judge the writing, they will be drawn from Universities and Colleges of Education specializing in Management, Science, Architecture, Health, Mining (Engineering and Geology), Economics, Agriculture, and more. The nominations will be submitted to the secretary of HiHFA-NLA before 31st March each year.
The nominee must:
- Be a Namibian citizen.
- Submit a work in either English or in one of the indigenous Namibian languages.
- Have made a valuable contribution to Namibian Literature in English or Indigenous languages (fictional and non-fictional).
- Have made a valuable contribution through research, education or management or the development of the Namibian nation.
The nomination will be considered under the following criteria
- Initiation, Practicality, and Importance;
- Noteworthy contributions to books and poetry writing in English and Indigenous Literature and Linguistics, professionally and academically.
- Literary works which have made a significant contribution to policy making, or have contributed to changes of major importance at national or international level.
- Significance to an academic faculty e.g. Agriculture, Architecture, Economics & Management Sciences, History, Health and the Medical Sciences, Law, Mining (Geology & Engineering), Mathematics and all other Sciences.
Submissions will be written in English or in one of the Namibian Indigenous languages. The pieces of written work to be considered will be classified in the following categories:
- Published Novels and Poetry
- Unpublished works
- Academic Journals
- Educational magazines
- Undergraduate and Postgraduate Thesis
- Theater Plays
- Children and Teenagers fiction books
- Indigenous Languages categories, etc.
Award Screening and Selection
The Secretary of the HiHFA-NLA will receive the Nomination Forms on behalf of the Foundation, forward the nominations forms to the panel of Academics for initial screening who will consider and recommend names of the proposed Awardees to the Board of Trustees, of the Foundation, for final approval. The Selection Committee will consist of the following members:
- Representative of the National Libraries of the Republic of Namibia;
- A select panel of Academics from Universities and other tertiary institutions specializing in selected sectors;
- Representatives of Colleges in English and Namibian Indigenous Literature and Linguistics.
The HiHFA-NLA Ceremony will be held annually, on a date and venue to be specified in due course.
After every Award ceremony, the images of the previous Awardees will be uploaded onto the website of the Foundation.