Amutse wins 2021 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Visual Arts Award

Otis Daniels_Finck
Windhoek • Monique Adams

Born in Walvis Bay, Namafu Amutse attended Immanuel Ruiters primary school. She then moved to Swakopmund in 2007 and attended Swakopmund Primary School.

Amutse completed high school in Windhoek at the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule.

She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Education Honours in English and German at the University of Namibia (Unam).

An article written by Masiyaleti Mbewe describes the innovative and artistic Amutse by saying “her work is fuelled by Southern African tradition, feminism and Afrofuturism”, with the focus of centring black perspective from all walks of life.

Since a young age she was constantly surrounded by entertainment, specifically film and music.

She grew up watching pre-recorded episodes of a very popular show at the time, ‘Kaput and Zosky’, on videotape. At home they had a large collection of Nigerian films that would be watched every day.

A few of her favourite films are ‘Mr Ibu’, ‘Aki na Ukwa’ and ‘Osoufia in London’.

“I remember rushing my chores to be done by 6 pm to watch my favourite shows like ‘My Three Sisters’, ‘Two Sides of Anna’, ‘Paloma and Diego’, as well as ‘Storm Over Paradise’,” Amutse says.

The young Amutse was recently awarded the 2021 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Visual Arts Award for ‘Chrysalis’.

“I am genuinely grateful for the path that my creative journey is taking me on and even more so honoured to have received this award,” Amutse says.

Having worked with her brothers on this project, she says of them thought that it would lead to so many surreal moments or achievements.

“What I find amazing is that this work has been showing for a while and to now be able to sit back and reap its benefits brings me great joy,” she says.

She is at a point where she does not think that she has developed a particular style, being at an early stage of her career, Amutse will still allow herself to play around, have fun and explore.

One thing she hopes people feel when they watch or see her work, is a sense of feeling at home and feel seen.

The moment she realised that she wants to be in the creative space was in grade 10, when she joined the school’s newspaper as a journalist and this is where she enjoyed the creative process.

“For the years that followed, I allowed myself to explore most of the creative spaces to pinpoint what my exact interests were. I chose photography as one of them because it allowed me to create work in a much shorter amount of time than film would,” she says.

The main challenge for Amutse is respect and the lack thereof. She says many times when you are a young creative, people expect you to be desperate and what usually happens is that they use this to exploit you for their benefit.

“I personally gallivant the other way when I hear the word ‘exposure’, because what exposure translates to is that my work, time and effort are disregarded,” she says.

One of her accomplishments is the moment she made the decision to venture into the art of storytelling because that moment led her to so many other proud moments.

She said that it was the catalyst and although she doesn’t remember it exactly, it has brought her to where she is today and it will take her to where she will be in years from now.

Three people she would like to have dinner with are: Ijeoma Umebinyuo, Steve Biko and Toni Morrison.

“Their individual work and sense of self has had a huge impact on not only how I approach my own work but also how I view myself,” she says.

Ijema’s written words instil so much power in her. Biko’s black consciousness movement and approach of shifting the focus to the black self-introspection completely switched up her understanding of how she views her existence in this world.

Morrison showed her what itius like to be intentional with the perspective of who you are telling stories for.

“The word that ties all three of these people together is ‘self’. Self-understanding, self-improvement and self-reflection,” she says.

Her advice to inspiring individuals out there: “Just start! Start with what you have, understand your intention and have fun.”