COMMENT

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IT is very encouraging to know that the government is aware of the fact that its moral obligation to financially support the National Theatre of Namibia is not enough by way of deputy minister of Culture, Pohamba Shifeta. A big hand for recognising this long known fact among Namibian performing artists and playwrights, beginners and those more established ones. Art/Life appreciates and endorses government’s efforts to specifically continue to financially support the performing arts sector, but it should be doing so on a much broader basis that includes community theatre development as well. There are such established community groups that can operate on the same basis as the National Theatre of Namibia. These groups have over and over proved themselves worthy of being creative enough to compete with the best in the world in theatre, but have so far lacked the financial support of the government. Such selected groups should be offered the opportunity to also promote and create theatre on behalf of the government at a community level, one of the main intentions of the government, Art/Life believes. It is also encouraging to know that a Botswana expert has been in the country to assist the newly formed National Arts Council of Namibia. Art/Life would like to think that the advice given by Doreen Nteta, who also assisted to establish the South African National Arts Councils a few years ago, didn’t fall on deaf ears and will be put into practice to fairly benefit all stakeholders in the arts and culture fraternity. However, the government should seriously consider revising its policies of financing arts and culture development in the country, especially those artists representing the government of statutory bodies. The time to work for causes is long over. People need to be remunerated for what they are worth. Only then can the arts fraternity be properly activated and inspired on its long and bitter road to become a fully-fledged industry to the country’s advantage. These artists in most cases compromise their own positions and reputations to serve on such bodies to the benefit of the country. They make important, professional and quality inputs towards arts and culture development. Their work and contributions should not at all be underestimated. It can benefit the government itself in the long run.