Local Artists Feel Left Out

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK “Though the NBC has insurmountable problems, some good things are happening such as the two Mexican actresses being brought to Namibia this week.” With these words the acting director general of the national broadcaster, Stanley Simataa, welcomed “Paloma” and “Barbara” of the soapie “When you are Mine”, in the capital. The two Spanish-speaking actresses struggling to speak English have been to Namibia, Zambia and the Seychelles on personal public appearances for the past 10 days. The visit of the two stars has been generally interpreted by the local acting fraternity as a forerunner for the NBC to start creating its own Namibian soapie for local screening. “We could neither arrange nor fit in meetings with local actors due to the visitors’ hectic schedule,” said the Head of Television Programmes, Claudia Ikela, when asked by Art/Life about the NBC’s inconsideration and intellectual short-sightedness. Their schedule inter alia catered for a visit to Namibian orphans, an apparent preferred priority to the NBC. The actresses shared their acting experiences with Zambian actors during their visit to Lusaka. “We would have been glad to share our television performing skills before the cameras to Namibian actors if we had the time,” responded Spanish-speaking “Paloma” via an interpreter. It is general knowledge that Namibian actors are normally just picked by virtue of their stage acting skills and thrown in front of the camera in local productions by and for the NBC. No in-front-of-the-camera training is being offered to Namibian actors, a contributing factor to the poor quality productions usually dished out by the national broadcaster. Said the minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as guest speaker at a gala dinner event on Tuesday for the two stars in confirming the concerns of local performers’ views: “I hope the presence of these celebrities will inspire local actors and actresses in some way as they strive to survive in this industry that is still young in Namibia. “I wish we could twin and adopt you with the Namibian performing fraternity to engage in consultations and exchanges of ideas and advice to local actors on how they can also get to where you are in your acting careers.” After a delay of almost an hour, the visit of the two stars brought NBC-TV to a virtual standstill during their visit, with announcers, producers and administrative staff loitering and standing around to catch a glimpse of the television personalities. Chairperson of the NBC board Ponhele ya France was also noticed with a plate of food in his hand after the press briefing.