Namibia launches book that chronicles COVID-19 impact on society

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A book that chronicles the Namibian society’s battle against COVID-19 was launched Thursday evening in Windhoek.

The book, “In Times of Pandemic,” contains 13 short stories. An initiative of Goethe Institute Namibia, it offers a multi-dimensional view of the impact of, and Namibians’ response to, the pandemic.

The 13 pieces were chosen from 33 submissions in a competition for short stories on the theme of the pandemic, said Detlef Pfeifer, head of information and library at Goethe Institute Namibia.

“The anthology is a true imitation of the reality experienced during the most challenging time the world had to endure,” he said.

Sarah Negumbo, director of National Library and Archives Services at the Namibian Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture, said the book would not only serve as a reflection of a difficult period but would further offer hope.

“The pandemic has affected us all directly and indirectly in one way or the other. Stories in this book, therefore, represent courage and hope,” she said.
“Moreover, (it) emphasize community support during the surge of cases and death,” Negumbo said.

Since the outbreak in 2020, Namibia has recorded more than 170,000 cases of COVID-19, with over 4,000 deaths, according to Ministry of Health and Social Services figures.

Meanwhile, winners of the competition said writing has been therapeutic amid lockdowns.

Lloyd Tendai, the third-prize winner, said that participating in the contest has helped ease anxiety, isolation, and grief amid a scourge of COVID-19 cases.

In addition, the book also helped some young writers to get published.

Charmaine Gamxamus’s entry, “Dehisce,” was included in the book.

“This is my first published work,” said the 26-year-old. “Apart from being accorded a chance to recall society’s arduous efforts to cope with COVID-19, it has inspired me to pursue my gift for writing and literature.”

The book will be distributed to community libraries across Namibia. Enditem

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