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Namibia: Namibia Performing arts





Namibia Performing arts



Traditional dancing in Namibia is a participatory activity at community gatherings and events like weddings. Hence, a visitor is unlikely to witness any, unless invited by a Namibian. However, some public performances of traditional dancing are to be seen at the Caprivi Arts Festival (held between September and November in Katima Mulilo at the Caprivi Arts Centre) and at Lizauli Traditional Village.

In Bushmanland, in villages surrounding Tsumkwe, traditional Bushman dances are performed for tourists – usually for a fee. This is generally a relaxed, uncontrived affair.

Afkawandahe and the African Performing Arts Group as well perform traditional Namibian dances at the College for the Arts auditorium in Windhoek.

Performances of European dance, including ballet, take place at either the National Theatre of Namibia or at Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre.


Most of the Namibian peoples have a music-making tradition – singing, and playing drums, bows, thumb pianos and harps. The Namas as well have a tradition of religious singing in-part harmony. Oruuano, the Namibian Artists' Union, recently held the first Oruuano of Namibia Arts Festival at Soweto Market, in Katutura (Windhoek), involving Namibian artists and musicians. It is hoped that this festival will become a regular occurrence.

Pre-Independence colonial influences have resulted in a lot of Namibian musicians performing in the Western tradition. Concerts are regularly performed by Namibia National Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Choir, and touring foreign musicians in the major auditorium of the National Theatre of Namibia. This is as well the venue for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation's biennial Music Makers' Competition.

A lot of smaller-scale concerts take place at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre. Cantare Audire Choir is a classically trained chorus which performs regularly at Christus Kirche, Windhoek (ask at the church for concert details).

Jazz, reggae, mbaganga and pop bands perform at the 150-seater Warehouse Theatre and at the various bars, restaurants and clubs in Windhoek such as Club Thriller. Bands and rock groups with a larger following usually perform at the Independence Arena in Katutura, which has the capacity for 4,000 people, or alternatively at the Windhoek Country Club which can accommodate audiences of over 1,000 people. Out of Windhoek, the national tour circuit includes large venues in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Okahandja.


There are a lot of Namibian theatre companies including the Rossko Cultural Group, Dalma Productions and Caprivi Cultural Troupe. Several South African theatre companies as well tour Namibia. Apart from the National Theatre of Namibia and the Warehouse Theatre, there are small studio-theatres at the John Muafangejo Arts Centre and the Space Theatre at the University of Namibia's Centre for Visual and Performing Arts. Both host avant-garde and experimental theatre performances.

The best of Namibian theatre (and other arts and crafts) can be seen at the National Arts and Cultural Festival, which takes place each December in a different region each year. Between September and November there are smaller festivals held throughout the country to choose the regional entries.

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