AIDS Festival Resounding Success

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A large number of artists from around the country and invited guests last Saturday evening attended the final leg of the so-called Healing Arts Festival at the Katutura Community Arts Centre. The programme consisted of poetry, dancing and music performances and was officially opened by the under secretary of Education, Alfred Ulakela. “The artists involved in the project had done their part in using their God-given skills and talents to take the AIDS message to all corners of this country. My ministry thanks you for being mindful of the fact that behavioural change is not an event, but a process,” said Alfred Ulakela. The event was financed by Global Fund with an alleged amount of more than N$700 000 from the beginning in preparation for the national event, but very few of the original participants ended up in the national festival. “We will call upon Namibian artists again and again as we battle to bring the AIDS pandemic under control. You will have to revisit places to ensure that the creative messages had gotten through,” Ulakena said, intimating that the programme needs to be annually produced. Seemingly the programme last Saturday night primarily consisted of certain selected music and performance groups at the College of the Arts’ National Extension programme. “It is my hope that you as artists have channeled your talents to the challenge and that in your small way have helped to create an understanding of the dangers posed by HIV/AIDS not only in Namibia, but in the world,” he said. There was also some confusion regarding the theme of the festival because a deliberate effort was apparently made not to call the festival an AIDS one, but onehealing the artistic differences among individual artists.