n Mousaion - Few books, many languages : Namibian publishing for children




Even though Namibia was never a British colony, English was chosen by the new government at the time of independence in 1990 as the only official language of the country and the main or sole medium of instruction in schools. The main focus of this article is to demonstrate the detrimental effect that education in an unfamiliar language is having on the development of a reading culture among Namibian youth. This situation is contributing to the neglect and deterioration of the 12 other Namibian languages. The discussion includes a description of the Namibian language scene and the consequences of the language policy on the publishing of multilingual children's books in Namibia, which again jeopardises the incentives and creativity of Namibian children's book authors and illustrators. A statistical analysis of books published for Namibian children for the period 1906-2011 is presented, albeit not a comprehensive one. Lastly, a brief overview of the Namibian Children's Book Award and the publishing projects of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Namibian Children's Book Forum (NCBF), is presented.


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