Boois follows in late father’s footsteps

|Namgu’s Escape Theory was published earlier this year by Unam Press.

08 December 2020 | Art and Entertainment

CINDY VAN WYK







WINDHOEK

Before Beauty Boois could even write their name, their father Seth was crafting the kind of tales that make a legacy.

A legacy of telling your own stories, ones that feature people who look and sound and think like you.

And with their debut novel, |Namgu’s Escape Theory, Boois hopes to live up to that legacy.

“I don’t think this book would exist if it hadn't been for his encouragement,” they said of the well-known football stalwart, who passed away in September.

“My father wrote extensively. Seeing him hunched over his laptop with research notes at ungodly hours was something I grew familiar as I was growing up. He always stressed the importance for us, as Khoekhoegowab speakers, to tell and write our own stories. He was my biggest cheerleader throughout my writing process for this story.”

Mental illness and overcoming trauma

Published in July by Unam Press, the novel introduces us to a beautiful and privileged girl from a wealthy family. As |Namgu makes her way through school and university, struggling to find her place in the world, tragedy strikes.

With her life thrown into turmoil, she battles to find an escape from loneliness, anger and depression.

Boois’ debut follows |Namgu’s journey through psychotherapy and social support to deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder that engulfs her.

And with a background in clinical psychology, the author paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to live with mental illness and what it takes to overcome trauma.

This, Boois said, is in the hopes that every reader learns that healing is possible.

“Healing is attainable for all of us, regardless of the traumatic experiences we face,” they said.

“Snippets of my personal story can be found in the pages of |Namgu’s Escape Theory, but ultimately, the novel is a collective experience about the social realities of many Namibians, especially that of Namibian women and gender diverse persons.”

Challenges

“The most challenging aspect of the entire process of getting published was having to do rewrites.

“I love the writing process but the editing process can be quite excruciating! The only thing that got me through that process was working with editors from Unam Press who have a nurturing approach when it comes to their editing styles,” they said.

On what Boois wishes they knew before writing |Namgu’s Escape Theory, the author said: “I wish I’d known more about intersectional feminism, because writing from that perspective is inclusive and empathic.

“I also wish I knew more about spelling and grammar. It would've made things a lot easier for the Unam Press team.”

Hoping to see more queer and intersectional feminist stories about social justice movements on the Namibian literary scene, Boois’ advice to aspiring writers is, quite simply, to write.

‘Silence the hypercritical voice’

“Write as much as you can, as often as you can and as extensively as you can. Silence the hypercritical voice in your head and just write,” they said.

The author added that they want to read more Namibian stories that weave mythology into their pages and that feature people from marginalised groups as the main character.

As for what lies ahead, that’s a bit of a mystery to Boois too.

“I’m not one to plan ahead too far out, I live very spontaneously, so my next move is going to be a surprise to me too!”

Maybe more poetry, maybe another novel, definitely more opinion pieces – but one thing’s for certain: They’re crafting a legacy of their own.

The novel is available from Unam Press as well as at The Book Den, Namibia Book Market and via the African Books Collective.

For more information, follow Unam Press and Boois on social media.

*Boois’ pronouns are they/them.

- [email protected]

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