The Namibian creative industry was rattled yesterday morning with news of the death of renowned film-maker, Oshosheni Hiveluah.
While The Namibian was still waiting for official response from the family by yesterday afternoon, the newspaper understands the film-maker died on Wednesday night at a hospital in Windhoek after being ill for some time. She was 37.
Many industry insiders and friends flooded social media with messages of condolence. Fellow film-maker Oshoveli Shipoh posted on Facebook: "I cannot begin to express the broken heart I feel this morning... We lost an amazing film-maker. Rest well, Osho." Shipoh said Hiveluah's illness recently became critical.
Media magnate Lorraine Kondombolo also poured her heart out on Twitter: "All of a sudden my heart is heavy. We have lost a giant in the creative industry, as a nation, her loved ones. Life is but a gift that can be taken away at any given moment. My condolences go out to her family, close friends and colleagues in the industry".
Hiveluah spent most of her childhood in East Germany, but returned to Namibia after independence in 1990. She directed her debut student film 'Tulila's Fate' in 2004, which went on to win the audience choice award at the Wild Cinema Film Festival in Windhoek the following year. Her career has been a successful one, as she has showcased at several international festivals and won various accolades.
Hiveluah directed films such as '100 Bucks' and 'Tjitji the Himba Girl'. The latter won best narrative and best cinematography at the Namibia Theatre and Film Awards in 2014 and received a special mention at the Bangalore Short Film Festival in Bangalore, India, in 2015.
The Namibia Film Commission (NFC) yesterday afternoon released a press statement by the commission's executive secretary, Florence Haifene.
"The NFC has learnt with sadness of the passing of an iconic Namibian film writer, director and poet, Oshosheni Hiveluah. Oshi, as we affectionately knew her, was a passionate film-maker," Haifene said. She also praised the late creative artist for her contribution towards the industry.
Hiveluah's desire to tell stories and give back to the industry were responsibilities the film-maker honoured until her last days, as she served as a jury member for the recently held Namibia Theatre and Film Awards.
"Our deepest condolences to Oshosheni's family and friends accompany this message as we too mourn her passing. May her soul rest in peace," Haifene further said in the statement.
Senior media officer at the commission Hertha Katjivena described the day as a sombre one. Marinda Stein, who directed 'Women of our World', a series which featured Hiveluah, also expressed sorrow on social media.
"Dearest Oshi, thank you for trusting me to tell a part of your story... Her words to me when she watched 'Women of Our World' episode were: 'Thank you for a heart that beats to the same rhythm as mine.' Today I think many of us can relate to that," she posted.