The 2023 Doek Anthology titled Now Now is a stunning collection of short stories featuring writers from Namibia, Eswatini, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Edited by Rémy Ngamije, the book’s launch took place on November 16.

The Doek Anthology is produced every two years by the Doek Collective — a group of 8-10 Namibian writers who have been published in Doek! Literary Magazine, served on the Doek! editorial team, or participated in Doek’s creative writing workshops. Each iteration of the anthology focuses on a specific literary medium: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or visual art (photography or illustration), or a combination.

Supported by the University of East Anglia’s International Chair of Creative Writing, and championed by its inaugural chair Tsitsi Dangarembga, the Doek Anthology has three goals: first, to showcase promising Namibian and African literary voices from the continent to a local, national, and continental audience; second, to combine excellent storytelling with world-class design to ignite a passion for reading; and third, to archive Namibian and African literature for future generations of readers and writers.

Read the full synopsis below:

In this bold collection of short stories four siblings spend a nostalgia-filled and truth-revealing night in their grandparents’ house before it sold; a couple considers the bloom and doom of their relationship in the Namib Desert; a young mother struggles to breastfeed her newborn infant while confronting uncomfortable truths about her marriage; a post-apocalyptic Windhoek reveals intimate ways of surviving; rain in Northern Namibia brings much needed water and dreaded terror to the land; the life cycle of a frog traces a story of attraction and love; a man reflects on a life lived and potentially lost after a violent encounter; a bar filled with boredom becomes the backdrop for a rumination on time’s passage; fire and anxiety burn without pause—and with great humour—in Cape Town; three portraits of war provide glimpses into the lives lived through and around conflict; two young boys discover the meaning of friendship in a small town; and a protest ushers in new and uncomfortable truths for Namibia’s young and restless generation.

Rémy Ngamije, the co-founder of Doek! Literary Magazine and the chairperson of the Doek Arts Trust, served as the anthology’s editor. He remarked that he was extremely pleased with the final product:

After two years in production, I am delighted to see this anthology making its way into the world. The featured writers have produced an anthology that is worthy of a reader’s time, they have written stories that provide numerous avenues and angles of discussion—these writers will surely go on to produce further writings that will help to shape continental literature.

More than just a collection of local writings, the anthology bursts with stories that have universal themes. The gravitational pull of incessant work in the modern capitalist economy, the changing nature of marital relationships, sexual identity and the need for social camouflage, and the fluidity of memory and remembrance of war-related trauma—these are just some of the discussions swirling in the stories from Eswatini, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Truly, the anthology would feel at home on a bookshelf in Windhoek as it would in Nairobi, in Accra as it would in Cairo.

The anthology showcases the diversity of styles employed by Namibian writers as well as the richness and inventiveness of local storytellers.The stories in the collection include:

  • “Bastards of Remember When” by Roxane Bayer (Namibia)
  • “Leave Love In The Desert” by Charmaine //Gamxamus (Namibia)
  • “Mastitis” by Mubanga Kalimamukwento (Zambia)
  • “Rosary, Key, Battery, Marble, Flash Drive” by Ange Mucyo (Namibia)
  • “When The Rains Come” by Ndawedwa Denga Hanghuwo (Namibia)
  • “Amphibian Means Both Life” by Zanta Nkumane (Eswatini)
  • “Eat Or Be Eaten” by Katherine Hunter (Namibia)
  • “They Say Change Is Inevitable” by Kay-Leigh De Sousa (Namibia)
  • “Make Busy” by Jason De Klerk (South Africa)
  • “War People” by Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe)
  • “My Friend Rajiv” by Darlene Kooper (Namibia)
  • “A Thousand Ungovernable Voices” by Filemon Iiyambo (Namibia)

We are certain that this anthology will lead Namibian literature to new horizons. Find more info here.

Congrats to the selected writers!