The sixth and final cycle of the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN) relief fund, which amounted to N$974,999.80 came with some artists not receiving any grants.
In a recent NACN Facebook post, the NACN announced that 85 projects have been approved and fall in the categories of Arts, Culture and Heritage which can be termed as the cultural and creative sector. “The number of applications received was exceedingly higher than any of the previous five cycles. However, this indicated the success of the relief fund in reaching and attracting applicants from various parts of the country and highlighted the great pool of creative talent, cultural skills and related groups and organisations in Namibia,” read the post.
Applicants included traditional to contemporary artists, crafters, other creatives, as well as promoters of varying facets of the cultural and creative sector in Namibia.
This, however, did not stop some creatives from expressing their disappointment, as one individual Clarice Sonblom Theys commented: “I guess literary art is not that important in Namibia and my current choice of language, Afrikaans, is even less important. Not even worth a stupid N$2 000.00! This is my second attempt to get funding from you. The first time around I (and all the writers who applied that year) were rejected. Your reason at that time was that you do not have people on board with the skills to evaluate literary art. Mind you, previous years you have assisted writers. (Some whom I know). I’m beginning to doubt that you want to ‘unlock the creative potential of the nation’.”
According to the NACN, the selection process at all stages involved validating that each application met the criteria. This did not sit well with another creative, who wrote: “This process could’ve been done better. I worry that literary arts and others have no place in Namibia. This should be high up. There are better ways to show appreciation and support the artist in need. Not this. Looks like favouritism.”
In summary, the Covid-19 relief fund received a total of 1 717 applications across all categories from July to September 2020, of which 385 were assessed and 236 approved for funding. This translates to 143 individuals, 42 organisations and 51 group-approved applications countrywide.
The exercise proved the perception that most applications came from the Khomas region, which came as no surprise since Windhoek is the epicentre of the cultural and creative sector in the country. However, the fund attempted to ensure that as many possible regional applications were supported through the process.