In 2009, I met Neshani Andreas. As Namibia’s most successful female novelist at the time, the author of ‘The Purple Violet of Oshaantu’, and someone whose work I greatly admired, she needed no introduction. She was a woman who spoke with grace and warmth, and had an inspiring presence about her. My first and only personal encounter with her was testimony to this.
We began a conversation at an event we were both attending, and after exchanging our admiration for each other’s work, she frankly stated, “Nangula, I have an idea that I want us to work on together. How about we create greeting cards in Namibian languages?” With a background in Africana Studies and a passion for representing the continent in a modern and culturally relevant way, I thought this was ingenious, and responded, “Of course! But why stop at Namibian languages?” And so began an animated 5-minute discussion on making this happen. Interrupted by someone who was surely one of her fans, we promised to stay in touch.
As it happens, life took over, time was fleeting, I moved away to study, and we never reconnected. But I often thought about that conversation, and two years later in late 2011 on a vacation home from school in the US, I decided it was time to get in touch with Neshani to bring this idea to fruition. Sadly, in my search for her contact details, I found out that Neshani had passed away earlier that year, after having battled lung cancer for a year.
Distraught by this news, but touched by the impact she’d had on me and her passion for genuine African expression, I believed that the best way to honor Neshani’s legacy would be to implement the ideas we shared during that 2009 conversation.
Today, through the work of an amazing team (Seth Caskey and Isaac Esseku) and with the support of associates who are equally passionate about African language and expression, we are proud to present Neshani Press. Named in Neshani’s memory, Neshani Press is an embodiment of our joint passion for Africa, the arts, and writing. We’re excited about creating original, culturally relevant and innovative communications in local African languages, and invite you on the Neshani journey.
© 2013 Neshani Press, CC