It was a masquerade affair on the 25th of November when art lovers, artists, GBV survivors, activists, and more came out on a rather wet Saturday evening to The National Theatre of Namibia to witness for themselves the talent this year’s edition of the annual #BreakFree Art for Activism Against GBV Show Vol.3.
#BreakFreeFromViolence Kickstarting 16 Days of Activism
#BreakFreeFromViolence is an organisation under the First Lady’s One Economy Foundation that dedicates itself to raising awareness and making efforts towards the eradication of gender-based violence in Namibia.
In her welcoming remarks, Executive Director of One Economy Foundation, Dr. Veronica Theron, shared that the Arts for Activism show is held on the 25th of November annually to commemorate the start of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children, which ends on December 10th, on Human Rights Day.
“Usually, during these 16 days we have heightened awareness-raising activities, but for the last maybe eight to nine years, we in the Office of the First Lady have 365 days of activism,” she stated.
Under this year’s theme, Art = Change, young artists from all over Namibia between the ages of 15 and 35 applied for a chance to be part of the top 5 contestants under the four different categories: performance arts, visual arts, fashion design, and multimedia, which itself was this year’s newly added category. Moreover, each category winner walked away with N$10,000 in prize money, while the overall best artist(s) of the night received an additional N$20,000.
A Word from the Contestants and their Motivations for the Arts Show
I spoke to Lynette Musukubili (27), a Visual Arts graduate from the University of Namibia (UNAM), just before the show. She shared that art was always a big thing for her growing up.
“Also with me, with the type of artwork I do, it’s like therapy,” she shared. Adding to that, if she won her category’s prize money, she would spoil herself a little and ultimately invest in her art career.
“The show is a great thing exposure-wise. It’s not only artists that are watching, because usually when we have exhibitions, it’s just family and fellow artists that will show up, but with an event like this, it’s broad and you have different people from different institutions present,” she stated, adding that a part of her wishes it was a little more public since the art show mainly operates on an invite-only basis.
I love the idea! As artists, we hardly get things that are catered to us too.Lynette Musukubili
Vistorina Silvanus (23), a recent law graduate and a visual arts contestant, shared her aspirations for entering the art competition. “I’ve always wanted to have my art made public. I’ve never had an exhibition before, so I just wanted to start doing that. I mean, the more people see you, the more they engage with you,” she explained.
Candice Griffiths has been doing make-up for seven years and entered the visual arts category when she heard of the show this year for the first time.
“I will be doing somebody who has been beaten and stabbed, and these are going to be bloody,” Griffiths shared just before the show. Her motivation with the prize money is to start a business, as it’s always something she’s wanted to do. Moreover, she’d like to inspire other young ladies to show them that they can do this as well.
“As you know, this is my first time doing this. I am not really a stage person, [but] I want to inspire a lot of young women, encourage them, and tell them that you can do this if you put your mind to it,” Griffiths expressed.
Tangi Uushona (24), who was performing an original spoken word that evening, stated that she didn’t have a job. Hence, the competition prize money would have helped her carry out her freelancing work as a writer from home. Adding to that, the win would be more than just the money for her.
“Its like a career starter situation,”Tangi Uushona
Melissa Müller (32), a performance category artist, had this to say: “I need to make an impact in my country; that is why I do art. I do art to heal, and if I do win, if it’s God’s will, then I would love to start doing workshops with young men and women so that they can individualise themselves and get to know themselves. Introspection is key.”
Charmaine Boois (28), a journalist from the south, founded Bold Geeks Media, a content creation platform. She went around her community searching for talent and started the Bold Geeks Drama Group just three months before the Arts Show.
“They are unemployed, and [this group] is a way to get income for them,” Boois explained, referring to her drama group members, adding that if they were to win their category, her first job as director would be to buy equipment and cameras so that she can go through training with her team on how to film and share stories from the South because, according to her, it’s her passion besides reporting.
The Judges, Performer and MC of the night!
The Master of Ceremony for the night was media personality, model, and entrepreneur Maria Nepembe Amunyela. There was one musical performance by Waters, who opened the show by performing two of his songs.
Furthermore, the panel of judges for the competition included College of the Arts director Ms. Angelika Schroeder; international award-winning actor, master of ceremonies, and media personality Mr. Adriano Visagie; Pan-African philosophical and musical artist Mr. Ndasuunye Papa Shikongeni; creative director Ms. Senga Brockerhoff; and fashion designer and lecturer Ms. Beata Hamalwa.
#BreakFree Arts For Activism Show Vol III – Class of 2023 Winners
Finally, the show concluded with the announcement of each category winner. The UCDC Dance Crew won the performance category. Lynette Musukubili won the visual arts category. A survivor herself, Ngaa Gowera won the fashion design category. Ben Valombe and Charles Zambwe won the multimedia category. Moreover, the UCDC Dance Crew walked away with the extra overall grand prize of the night!