• October 1st, 2020

Musicians are not the only artists in this country - Philander

Namibian literature heavy-weight Frederick Freddie Philander has bemoaned that musicians are not the only artists in the country; hence, funding should focus on all artists from various categories. He said this in response to the budget allocation by the education ministry to the National Arts Council of Namibia. 
The arts council has been tasked with the allocation of money to ease the effects of Covid-19 as a temporary relief fund for the entertainment sector.

“Not even one of these 
Namibian Annual Music Award winners has been making charts. If you look at the history and the quality of work they have been producing, it is unacceptable. Every time, it’s always them who want to be voorbokke (front runners) when it comes to money and things like that,” stated Philander.

Philander was livid that music has been the centre of attention when it comes to the entertainment spectrum. “There are other things, but music – we are tired of this music thing, which doesn’t go anywhere,” said Philander.

The exploitation of traditional dancers

Another frustration declared was the issue of traditional dancers by actor Banana Shekupe from the Artist Union, who says they are being exploited. 
“The dancers being used at the airport are the guys who are carrying our culture. Even there, down in the regions, they are being exploited and side-lined,” said Shekupe.

He said: “With all these programmes online, how can a dancer from Tsumkwe, Katima Mulilo or Ohangwena be recognised?. We are only talking about Windhoek when it comes to the allocation of this money”.

Shekupe inquired on whether organisations such as the National Theatre or Arts Gallery are decentralised. “Those people in remote areas need to be on the database; are these institutions centralised. Is Nascam decentralised or is it only Windhoek-based or the artists who take part in the NAMA,” he probed.

He also categorically stated that there are people who are artists in Namibia but are not known. 
“How are we going to go down to them as the arts council so that we can treat everyone equal?” he questioned.

The chairperson of the arts council, Patrick Sam, responded to the issue of decentralisation by saying it is not a sector-specific challenge where discussions about human development are carried out.

“It all comes to the quality of schools, life and access towards the arts sector. I don’t think our sector is entirely responsible for decentralising because if there is no road when I travel to the Epembe constituency, for an example, how do I get my dance crew or services there? I would need a decentralised road that can get me to that place,” said Sam, further explaining that decentralisation is not sector-specific but a relevant issue that needs to be addressed. 
 On the funding of the entertainment sector and for clarity, Sam explained that council will fund artists from three different categories. 

“The council funding primarily works through three streams: artists, projects and organisations. They are all similar but with different objectives,” he informed.

– psiririka@nepc.com.na

Paheja Siririka
2020-06-22 08:33:26 | 3 months ago

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