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The Purple Violet of Oshaantu (African Writers Series)
“I did not want to be insensitive to my culture, I did not want to be insulting, but I wanted to be as honest and realistic as possible.” Neshani Andreas
Through the voice of Mee Ali, readers experience the rhythms and rituals of life in rural Namibia in interconnected stories. In Oshaantu, a place where women are the backbone of the home but are expected to submit to patriarchal dominance, Mee Ali is happily married. Her friend, Kauna, however, suffers at the hands of an abusive husband. When he is found dead at home, many of the villagers suspect her of poisoning him.
Backtracking from that time, the novel, with its universal appeal, reveals the value of friendships, some of which are based on tradition while others grow out of strength of character, respect, and love.
Neshani Andreas was a Namibian writer, who had also worked as a teacher and for the American Peace Corps. She is best known for her novel The Purple Violet of Oshaantu, which made her the first Namibian to be included in Heinemann's African Writers Series. She died at the age of 46, having been diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2010.
From 1988 to 1992, Andreas taught at a rural school in northern Namibia. In 2001, she published The Purple Violet of Oshaantu which was inspired in part by her experiences there]. The novel explores the status of women in traditional Namibian society. When the book was published as part of the African Writers Series by publishers Heinemann; the first Namibian author to have a work included.
The work gained her international attention, being one of the first post-independence novels published following the South African occupation. She explained that at the time, the writing culture was not well established in Namibia, describing the work as "lonely". At the time of publishing her first novel, she was 37 years old.
Andreas was working as a programme officer for the Forum for African Women Educationalists at the time of her death at the age of 46. The organisation seeks to educate women and girls. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2010.