May 17, 2011

Writer Neshani Andreas died

One of Namibia's foremost writers, Neshani Andreas, died at the age of 46. Andreas had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010. Born in Walvis Bay, Andreas worked in a clothing factory before studying in to be a teacher at the Ongwediva Teachers' College, where she taught for five years before completing a Bachelor of Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in Education at the University of Namibia (Unam). She then became associate director of the US Peace Corps in Namibia, a position she held for four years. At the time of her death, Andreas was working for the Forum of African Women Educationalists in Namibia (FAWENA) as programme officer. She also volunteered at the National Archives, in the 'Archives of Anti-colonial Resistance and the Liberation Struggle' Publication Committee, where she helped develop several publications. Andreas was also politically active during the period just before Namibia's Independence.

Her first novel 'The Purple Violet of Oshaantu' was published by Heinemann in the prestigious African Writers Series in 2001; and by Weaver Press in Zimbabwe in 2004. The book, about the struggle of women in northern Namibia for equality and against patriarchal practices, is already a classic of Namibian literature and will be a lasting monument to Neshani Andreas. Her wish to have it published in Oshiwambo was not realised during her lifetime. According to a report in the May edition of Prime Focus magazine, Andreas had completed the manuscript for her second novel before her death. (The Namibian)

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