Namibia’s capital city launches first public live arts festival

Children observe a live musical performance at the Otjomuise Live Arts Festival in Windhoek, Namibia on November 6, 2021. (Press Photo / OLAF Namibia)
Children observe a live musical performance at the Otjomuise Live Arts Festival in Windhoek, Namibia on November 6, 2021. (Press Photo / OLAF Namibia)

The National Theater of Namibia on Saturday drew the curtains on a first-ever public live arts festival in the capital city Windhoek.

The first of its kind festival will see over 30 artists featuring in a weeklong festival from November 6 to 13 across the capital city.

“The Otjomuise Live Arts Festival (OLAF) is a project by the Goethe-Institut Namibia and National Theater of Namibia (NTN),” said the theater’s Public Relations Officer Desiree Mentor.

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, she said.

She explained that 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. It is set to take place on an annual basis, (and) the festival ultimately aims to contribute toward a city that enables dynamic and accessible live artistic forms for cohesion, collective reflections, and enlightenment,” she said.

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,” Shilongoh said.