Prince Kamaazengi Marenga
MAUN-Despite its ruthless sun, Maun is a beautiful scenery for blissful fun. From November 24, artists from around the world descended on the small town of Maun, Botswana for a week long Art Festival.
The festival included all arts genres from comedy, poetry, visual arts and music. From workshop to performance, the artists engaged in a kind of cultural exchange programme that helped them draw from each others’ experiences. The comedy night saw Namibia well represented by the comedian, Big Mitch, aka Son of a Mitch, who with great wit and artistry put an itch into the seats of the audience. He got the audience into two lines. The one for the ATM machine and the one for HIV tests and joked about how, it is very easy to go ahead and jump the line at HIV tests and how you would be allowed to go ahead respectfully. His comedy is the work of a psychiatrist who takes the “patient” down everday happen-stances to hold a correcting mirror for him/her.
The audience were clapping and kicking the air with great laughter probably from seeing themselves reflected in his comedy. “I learned a lot from the Festival, I loved how culture was being used as a vehicle for art. All of the comedians from Botswana were actually doing their whole set in their vernacular. And I wish, we Namibian comedians can get into a stage where we can express ourselves in vernac. In Namibia, we don’t have an all inclusive Arts Festival, most of the times, comedy is excluded. I think we should have something like that in Namibia involving all genres of Art,” Big Mitch relieves the experience.
The Poetry night was well handled by Jermaine Bardos who spat a rage of fire no fire extinguisher could arrest. He said his poetry is made of Black people who were put on slaves ships to far away places with the sky being the only cameraman taking snapshots from above. He implored the audience to look at what their identity is, outside whatever problems they might have. Jermaine gave the poetry night a certain height. Wisdom thrown around the hall to all with an ear to hear. “ Through this festival, I got to realize that Africa carry a common wealth and this common wealth is called Art. Since we have one of the greatest history of all times, we got to express this through Art. I got the privilege to experience this gathering of “art” where we could share the African Dream together. I got to learn different African backgrounds, different cultures and different African languages like “ke ditori tsedi serious” (Big and serious stories). This was one of the greatest gathering I’ve partaken in.” reflects Jermaine.
On the final day, the artists were treated to a boat cruise in the floodplains of the Okavango delta to take the heat off from a fun filled full week of great Art and craft. Namibia can learn and take a leaf from this kind of festivals. The Art industry need to be given the support it needs for it to grow into a big industry that can reward Artists for all the work they put to give sound and balance to our lives.