WINDHOEK, NOV 1 – It began with a call-out for artists to submit applications to perform and now, after the selection of over 30 wide-ranging artists, the Otjomuise Live Arts Festival (OLAF), a project by the Goethe-Institut Namibia and National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), will take place from 6-13 November 2021, all across the city of Windhoek.
OLAF is largely brought about by the inaccessibility of the majority of Windhoek’s inhabitants to various artistic expressions; often limited to indoor, and at times, inaccessible areas of the city. This brought about a partnership of stakeholders namely, the City of Windhoek, ConSoAV and NBC, which offers opportunities for immersive, experimental, and refreshing artistic forms to be showcased or installed in public sites where life and the arts can meet.
The family friendly festival is open to the public at no cost, and features small-scaled happenings, installations, performances, live music and public engagements spread across the city.
The name Otjomuise stems from the Otjiherero name for the city, which means ‘place of steam’. The name reflects not only the city’s unique environmental character, but also its rich heritage and searing creativity to impact its inhabitants. Set to take place on an annual basis, the festival ultimately aims to contribute towards a city that enables dynamic and accessible live artistic forms for cohesion, collective reflections and enlightenment.
The launch of the festival on 06 November, 12H00 at the UN Plaza Park in Soweto, will be officiated by the Windhoek city mayor, His Worship, Dr. Job Amupanda.
NTN Artistic Director, Nelago Shilongoh said the OLAF was designed to extend the creative arts into the city across various public spaces to address the issue of inaccessibility to live arts by many of the city’s inhabitants.
“We come from a tradition of open air performances and creative forms as Africans, and we wish to return to this
inclusive setting, especially during the pandemic to offer safe access to our artistic expressions. The festival also aims to tackle the classism affiliated with Windhoek’s arts programming, by extending it to the general public so that they can be exposed to our local, creative talents,” she said.
On the importance of public arts, Goethe-Institut Namibia Director, Dennis Schroeder said that it adds value to our daily life and the space we live in. “Public art helps people connect with a place, feel at home and appreciate their space. Art and
design as such are highly entrepreneurial, creative entrepreneurship increasingly becomes a pillar of national and global economies. And cultural identity is expressed in a public forum and accessible to everyone. Lastly, public art slows us down,
entertains, amuses and directs our attention to issues that concern all of us,” he said.
Local Namibian artist, ML Musik’s song ‘Windhoek City’ ft. Mappz, was selected as the festival’s theme song which reveres the city’s raw talent and creativity. On the value of embracing and diversifying our local creative arts to invigorate the city ML Musik shares, “Lagos is known for entertainment, Joburg is known for entertainment, Nairobi is known for entertainment. This is because these countries prioritised and embraced their own arts. Windhoek is one of the best tourist attraction cities in the world, and local arts could play a bigger role in shaping tourism and eventually exporting arts
through tourists. For a 2.5 mil country, we have more than 5 music genres which the world has not yet discovered. If Afrobeats can take over the world, so will our unique artistic expressions.”
To end off on a celebratory note, the festival will close with a free music concert on 13 November, 19H00 which will feature live music by MarvTown, Nga-I, ML Musik, Adora, Asserdeep, and Big Ben.
The festival is proudly supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Namibia, Equipped Dance Academy, College of the Arts, Eldorado Secondary School, and Tobias Hainyeko Primary School. – firstname.lastname@example.org