Prime People @ 20: Treasure Book talking

I’ve always loved taking photos, but I’m not so good with keeping my photos arranged to make it easy to enjoy looking at them. The oldest photos I have of myself is when I was 9-months old, taken by my parents close to 30 years ago, but its only one. The rest of my photos, no one knows what happened to them, the few I find are taken randomly and offer no clear story of my growing up.

The thought struck me when I grabbed a copy of this giant photo album called, ‘Prime People @ 20.’ The photo book is organized, designed and published in a professionally styled, long lasting, easy, educative and most importantly fun manner.

Whether you are looking for a unique gift for friends and family or a better way to store and present your photographs taken around Namibia’s celebrations of the 20th independence Anniversary, Prime People @ 20, is the ideal thing.

With close to 300 pages printed on glossy, heavy paper, the N$250 price tag at the back appears a giveaway because the photo book has a lot of useful features for everyone, starting with the high quality product it’s made of, an easy-to-use service and the very educational element it carries.

The book with photographs taken on different days and places during those ‘crazy weeks’ surrounding our 20th independence celebrations, comes in a magazine style with only captioned sub-headings which makes the viewing process fast and easy with an array of options for sizes, styles, backgrounds and layouts.

The book can be read and viewed all the way through in one go but the nicely headed sections and captions mean it’s one you can pick and put down as you feel.

It carries a foreword from the President, Hifikepunye Pohamba but the most striking part is that the publisher, John Walenga, happens to be the photographer of this national treasure.

“Readers will find this pictorial journey enjoyable and informative as it provides a front set view of the events that happened in our country during the 20th Anniversary. It will indeed be enjoyable for both Namibians and visitors alike,” says President Hifikepunye Pohamba in the foreword.

How could one person have taken so many photos within a short-space of time?

“I knew what I was doing when I decided to take those photos at independence stadium on March 21. I knew what would come out of it,” says Walenga, a career photographer, now fulltime media mogul.

From the first pages which takes you to what was happening in the VVIP section when President Pohamba was taking his oath of office for the second term, to the arrival of the who’s who of African and world politicians and leaders that made the 20th independence anniversary glitterati, and to the masses that were colourful across the whole stadium, its pleasing to see that brightness boost also helped make the images brighter.

The photographs are more people focused, with other environmental and action portraits such as the parade by the defence force to celebrate 20 years of service, mixed in with life, sombreness (of those not with us) and satisfaction of how far we have come as a nation.

If you enjoy Namibian politics, you will no doubt enjoy this book. If you are interested in knowing the vastness of Namibian culture, you will too fall for it. Walenga’s photography is extremely good, he captures the things you would see and mixes with the things you’d probably miss.

The fact that there are no picture-by-picture captions makes it more interesting. I found my neighbour’s teenagers going through the book, they wanted my opinion of page 28, where a military official has his eyes closed. One of the teenagers was arguing that the officer was not asleep but rather captured immediately after a yawn, while the others thought otherwise.

“I really don’t know whether he is dozing or was yawning, but I can tell you his eyes are closed,” was all I could say.

In my eyes the package does have a ‘wow’ factor and even if you missed Namibia’s independence festivities in Windhoek, the book lives you through the experience.

The book is detailed and rather in depth but this doesn’t mean it’s one for the VVIPs.

It is one that schools would need from primary up to high learning institutions, one that foreign affairs can give to their missions abroad, one that tells a thousand stories in one edition, one that can be forked out from the archives, at the nation’s jubilee and relieve the greats of yesteryear, one that can teach neutrals like myself to start my own family pictorial magazine comprising all life stages.

It’s one for the ordinary people who cherished independence and were captured in the magazine, to take it and treasure ‘being there’, when everyone was there. It is evidence.

Prime People @ 20 was made for your coffee table.

Every page is full of useful hints and the large headers make it easy to find the specific tip you’re looking for.

It might not a book to sit down and read in an evening for some, but it is good to have on your shelf so you can get it down and have a glance before you go and spend several dollars on something you could never be proud of.PF