Once an actor, always one

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK FORMER prominent Namibian actor, Pijoo Nganate, has just completed an anthology of poems, which he hopes to have published in the New Year. The veteran stage actor will be remembered for his powerful role portrayals and student performances in the early 80s in Afrikaans plays such as Slot Spel (End Game) by Samuel Beckett and translated into Afrikaans by Aldo Beherens. “Over the years I have kept myself busy in politics as well as creativity in the Omaheke Region, particularly in the writing of drama and poetry, that were performed publicly by school children,” said Pijoo, who was last seen in a production on stage in 1983. “As students we twice travelled to perform in South Africa at the University of Potchefstroom and Zululand. Those were some of the happiest student days of my life, having met some interesting creative people,” the politically active artist recalled. In an Art/Life interview last Friday in the capital, Nganate reminisced about his highs and lows on the stage then. “I felt honoured to be cast in plays such as Raka and Slot Spel. Acting in those classics helped me develop my own oratory and public speaking skills, which I could use later in my public life as mayor of Gobabis and in other positions,” said Nganate, who works as a department head at Witvlei Primary School since five years ago. He started teaching right after completing a teacher’s diploma course at the then Akademie.”For 15 years I taught at Epako Secondary School at Gobabis before becoming mayor of the town in 1992 until 1997. Since 2004 I am serving as chairperson of the Witvlei village council and have also been elected as the president of the Village Council Forum of Namibia,” the man, who also serves as vice president of the Association of Local Authorities, said. Other public bodies he serves on include the Library and Information Council of Namibia as well as being a member involved in legal affairs in the Association of Local Authorities (ALAN) “So far I have written three youth theatre dramas that have over the years been successfully performed in the Omaheke Region. These works primarily dealt with social problems and life in general. One of my works last year won first price as the best production at Gobabis,” said Nganate, who is confident that his poems will be published once a publisher has been found.

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