The overall winner of the Shining Light Awards for 2012/2013, that culminated in a glitzy gala event last Thursday, is Erkki Hifindwako.
His circular diamond ring, based on a traditional African basket design, consisted of 575 white and yellow diamonds weighing close to 14 carats. "The growth of the Shining Light Awards has far surpassed my expectations since the concept crossed the borders into Namibia in 2007. With 63 design entries received in the first edition, participation has risen to 103 high quality and original designs from which 6 have made it to the top of the current collection," explained Chief Executive Officer of the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), Shihaleni Ndjaba. As a result, the latest collection also represents the cultural diversity within Namibia, as well as the creativity of young and upcoming designers. The theme for this year's competition was "Women of Africa - Your Light Shines."
"Of late, there have been too many reports in the media about the dreadful abuse that is being perpetrated against our women. It is really a sad reality that the people we call our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters are not getting the respect they deserve for the pivotal role they play in society and our individual lives. However, in spite of the many challenges our African women face, they, like diamonds, radiate unparalleled strength and beauty that is priceless," noted Ndjaba. The NDTC says it takes pride in the fact that it has diversified the competition's original concept to include young Namibian women in exhibiting this year's collection as models in the promotional material that travel with the collection around the world.
"The exposure created by their involvement is testimony to our efforts as NDTC, to further add value to Namibian society through Namibian diamonds. You will be pleased to know that the collection has already begun its journey to a diverse international audience and will further travel around the globe before it returns home for the Miss Namibia beauty pageant later this year," Ndjaba said.
This was the NDTC's third Shining Light Awards, which this year also included pieces from Botswana's Shining Light competition. Six pieces were chosen as winners to be crafted from more than 100 designs submitted and these six designs used a grand total of over 14 000 diamonds. The journey of the collection began in November 2011 with educational road shows in Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo and Tsumeb to ensure wider participation in the country.