There is a dire need to tell and sell new stories as Namibian creatives, and there is a lot of potential in collaborating with other sectors to express and sell the narratives.
These are the remarks of Hazel Hinda, a theatre performer, writer and director, who has been on the screen for more than a decade – 13 years to be exact – growing and nurturing her craft as a creative in the entertainment space.
Hinda is part of the list of Namibians who contributed to the online reader put together by the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), dubbed ‘Theatre Practices and Business in Namibia Reader 2021’.
The online reader is a compilation of perspectives by 18 Namibian theatre and creative practitioners, offering recommendations on how emerging theatre artists could navigate theatre practices sustainably in the country.
“The performance opportunities are seasonal in Namibia, and it would be good for actors to blend their skills sets with other practices that can be used for sustainable purposes without straying too far from the drama field. This all calls for serious research and innovative thinking,” said Hinda while having a candid conversation with Nelago Shilongoh, the artistic director at NTN.
Hinda said the Namibian actor today cannot just learn how to act on stage or film; they need to learn the business side of things and the paperwork, master how to write proposals, research, read and understand the socio-economic environment – and therefore, the industry cannot afford to have unproductive personalities.
“I would also encourage actors to spread out into the country and not limit themselves to Windhoek. Actors often stay in the capital city and wait to be cast in someone’s production, which is not a sustainable way of looking at life or a career. Go back into your communities, identify the gaps, create relationships and sustain yourselves.”
The former 7de Laan actress is disappointed that a lot of creative work is based in Windhoek.
Hinda, herself, was confined to the capital to cement herself where opportunities were.
“I decided to stay in the city for a while, as I wanted to plough my footprint where the opportunities were most offered – but eventually, you should be able to expand your footprint and create new relationships and sustainable projects.”
She added: “If we are to build this sector, we also need to plough back into the regions and fill the gaps there. We cannot sit on our bread and wait for productions to happen. Institutions can only do so much”.
Hinda pointed out that the government and local authorities have made available spaces such as halls and other infrastructure to use for stage productions.
“It is unfortunate that many young people cannot participate in drama clubs today. The quality and quantity have changed over the years. After my early training, I went on to study a diploma in performing arts (drama) at the Tshwane University of Technology,” said Hinda.