New novel, Mama Namibia, set against Herero genocide
“With every genocide we forget, we give permission for the next one to happen.”
With these severe words, author Mari Serebrov, a week ago launched her fictional book set against the 1904 Herero genocide, Mama Namibia. The book is published by upcoming bookstar, Bryony van der Merwe of Wordweaver Publishing House.Mama Namibia is the only Wordweaver novel not written by a Namibian, but the story is a Namibian story. Serebrov explained how a chance meeting in America with Kapombo Uazuvara Ewald Katjivena in 1999 led to the conceptualisation of this novel about the Herero genocide. “It was first meant to be a more historical account, but during my research I realised that much had been written in academic texts about the genocide, but this was not readily accessible, nor frequently read by most people. I wanted to make this story available to a wider audience.” She decided to write a novel instead. The story follows Jahohora in her struggle to survive the Omaheke in the aftermath of the German extermination order placed on the Herero people in 1904. Jahorora and her family are taken from Kapombo and the story develops against the background of the elders and their struggle for survival. This book is moving and compelling, heart-wrenching and hopeful. But, as Hoze Riruako said at the launch, acknowledging the past is vitally important, not for the sake of revenge but for the sake of forgiveness, acceptance and a new sense of freedom. The author will soon take her book on tour throughout Namibia and Botswana. Mama Namibia is published by Wordweaver Publishing House. The book can be bought directly at the shop in the Old Breweries, or at bookstores countrywide.