For years, Namibia has been one of the best performing African countries in the media and press freedom rankings conducted annually by Reporters Without Borders in 180 countries around the world. In 2022, it ranks 18th, only two places behind Germany (16th). Historically, Namibia has also played an important role in the struggle for press independence in Africa: In the Windhoek Declaration adopted in 1991, journalists from a total of 38 African countries called the “the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic, and free press […] essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development”.
One of the key voices in Namibia’s press and a driving force of the Windhoek Declaration: political correspondent, editor-in-chief, and publisher Gwen Lister. Raised during the apartheid regime in South Africa, she moved to South West Africa, now Namibia, after graduating from university. There, she has been championing freedom of the press relentlessly and fearlessly. Defying state repression, numerous arrests, and attempted assassination by the South African secret service, she carried on with her critical coverage. After Namibia’s independence in 1990, Gwen Lister and The Namibian remained cautionary voices monitoring and questioning the new government’s work.
Today, she promotes freedom of the press, freedom of expression and independent journalism in Namibia as chairperson of the Namibia Media Trust. Against this background, Gwen Lister will be honoured with the Honorary Award of the German Africa Foundation for her extraordinary commitment to freedom of the press. In a subsequent discussion, you will have the opportunity to jointly discuss the status quo of press freedom as well as the current challenges for female journalists in both Namibia and Southern Africa.
Dr Uschi Eid, President, German Africa Foundation (Download the speech here)
Robert von Lucius, Member of the Board of Trustees, German Africa Foundation (Download the Laudation here)
Gwen Lister, Founder of The Namibian and Honorary Laureate (Download the speech here)
Gwen Lister, Founder of The Namibian and Honorary Laureate
Josey Mahachi, Multimedia Journalist, Deutsche Welle
Klaus A. Hess, President, German-Namibian Society
Click here to go directly to The Namibian‘s article on the presentation of the Honorary Award to Gwen Lister.