Big Yawn Arts Festival Scrapes Through

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By Frederick Philander KARIBIB The much talked-about Klippenberg Annual Arts and Craft Festival came and went last weekend at Karibib without any visible signs of actiive participation by the local impoverished community. No one seemed able and or prepared to talk to the press about the haphazard manner the festival, in its fourth year, had been organized. “I am just doing the artists a favour by informing the press about the festival,” said a woman who identified herself only as Bianca on Friday morning, the date and time the Klippenberg festival was supposed to have started according to feeds sent to the local press. “No the festival actually starts tomorrow. Today it’s only school choirs that will be singing at the private secondary school and tonight a band from Gobabis will be performing,” said Bianca in her hotel office. On Saturday morning the usual art suspects arrived and people were allowed to set up commercial stalls around the big tent serving as the main venue. Gate takings were N$20 per person, something the local community can hardly afford. Artists Joseph Madisia was later called to the podium to deliver an opening address, preceding a rather flimsy and mediocre programme of ill-conceived little stage production, traditional dancing and poetry. “We’ve seen all this for the umpteenth time. There is no real innovative creativity being presented. What a disappointment this festival is, having to see the same superfluous performances we got used to. Come on people you can do better,” remarked playwright Richard Swartz of Windhoek. “Where are the true artists? I only see the usual suspects and lackeys calling themselves artists around here,” observed musician and playwright, Kibbe Rispel, from Okahandja. A bus of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture brought some College of the Arts dancers and singers along for the ride and the supposed creative fun, which never rose to great heights. The Klippenberg festival is supposed to posthumously honour a Namibian visual artist and musician, Archie van der Ploeg, whose dream in life had been to have an annual festival of this kind in Karibib. At this rate of presentation the festival is in danger of folding and disappearing, unless some innovative person takes over the reins to make it a real national yearly event.