The Namibian Children’s Book Forum (NCBF)

The NCBF is a non-governmental organisation managed by volunteers from the educational and library world. On 14 March 1988 the first constitution was signed. In 1993, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, Mrs. Kovambo Nujoma, accepted patronship of the NCBF.

The aims of the NCBF are: 1. To encourage a love of reading and a book culture among Namibian children and youth; 2. To promote the production of Namibian juvenile literature.

In order to achieve the first aim, the following activities were organised by the NCBF: Ten annual National Readathons, involving more than 350 000 learners in 1999; Twenty children’s book festivals, with puppets, dramatisations, storytelling, book exhibitions, teenage panel discussions, etc.

In order to achieve the second aim, the NCBF organised the following activities: Symposia, talks, workshops for writers, lectures, discussions with local and international speakers; Radio and television interviews; Publishing projects;· The establishment of the Namibian Children’s Book Awards and Prizes for Manuscripts. Eleven awards cermonies have been held since 1988.

The NCBF Book Award and prizes for manuscripts

The first Namibian Children’s Book Awards for published books were made in 1988. Initially an award consisted of a medal and a certificate to the author and/or illustrator and a certificate to the publisher. Later various donor agencies sponsored funding for cash prizes to winning authors and/or illustrators. In 1990 the first NCBF Manuscript Prize was established to encourage talented Namibians who may not have published a book yet, to write and submit manuscripts suitable for possible publication.

The following donors have sponsored prizes: · SIDA (Manuscripts) · Hans Berker (Manuscripts) · Finnish Embassy (Oshiwambo and English Prose) · Charlotte Hoeflich (German Prose) · South African High Commision (Afrikaans and Tswana Prose) · Namibian-German Foundation (Namibian African Language Prose) · CYMOT (Poetry, Drama, Picture Books) · Renate Grossmann (Non-Fiction)

Manuscripts prizes are given annually while medals for published works are presented according to a four-year rotational programme to cater for all Namibian languages and genres. 
Year 1: Oshiwambo and German Prose as well as Picture Books in any Namibian Language; 
Year 2: Caprivi/Kavango and Afrikaans Prose as well as Poetry in any Namibian language; 
Year 3: Khoekhoegowab (Nama-Damara), San (Bushman) and English Prose and again, Picture books in any Namibian Language; 
Year 4: Otjiherero and Tswana Prose, Drama and Non-Fiction in any Namibian Language.

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