Politicians Urged to Assist Artists

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By Frederick Philander

WINDHOEK

A play performance is much more effective and powerful in bringing across the message than the many AIDS talks, workshops and seminars that are annually held in the country.

This was said on Wednesday by a member of the country’s supreme legislative body, Margareth Mensah-Williams, vice-chairperson of the National Council.

For the first time the majority of regional councillors in the House attended the educational AIDS-play, The Trumpet Player.

“This play strongly displays a number of life truths on the AIDS pandemic regarding living a healthy and full life by AIDS victims. It also brings to the fore the fact that AIDS is not a death sentence and that there does exist hope for people suffering at the hands of the disease,” said an obviously emotionally moved Mensah-Williams on behalf of her political colleagues after the 40-minutes performance at the National Council.

She further stated that Namibians must face the reality of the disease and stop denying that it does not exist.

“I wish to encourage my colleagues when drawing up regional budgets to seriously consider financially assisting all Namibian artists in their contributions in the fight against AIDS. After all, all regional councils have a workplace AIDS program that makes financial support to artists helping to fight the illness possible,” she said, encouraging MPs to take art more seriously.

The chief coordinator of the Bank Windhoek Festival, professor Aldo, Behrens at the same occasion expressed the view on the play as something more than just entertainment.

“The play is clearly a good creation on a very serious topic, AIDS, depicted through theatre in this very effective manner to the Namibian youth. This kind of presentation and product needs to be supported by all and sundry in every possible way because local artists exercise their crafts and skills under very difficult circumstances,” Behrens said.

In welcoming the audience to the special performance of The Trumpet Player, the chairman of the National Council, Asser Kapere, a former teacher, encouraged Namibians to change their sexual behaviour and customs.

“We all know about the AIDS pandemic, but we still don’t change our sexual ways, manners and habits. Namibians are too ignorant and headstrong with regard to the dangers of AIDS,” Kapere said.

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