Displaced as a mourning citizen

Contemporary arts has often taken a back seat in Namibia and while popular trends and commercial success is being celebrated, the deep rooted truths of societies and how we live is most times expressed by contemporary artists

One such event was held last week by a collective of artists titled ‘A mourning citizen’, which held a mourning ritual at the Alte Feste in Windhoek. 

The Damai Dance Ensemble led by Trixie Munyama, with the help of Nashilogweshipwe Mushaanja, Isabel Katjivivi, Hildegard Titus and other creatives painted a narrative that of a displacement and chaos created by the colonialists and left to us to deal with. 

According to them, the collective devised process began with asking ourselves, how we mourn. 

“We find our acts, rituals and archives of mourning in our cultures, communities and far between spaces of healing and traumatizing, cleansing and erasure, care and violence, praying and cursing, weeping and whipping, we are deeply concerned about how Namibian patriarchal nationalism has denied us the right to mourn,” Munyama said. 

It was evident that Namibians recognized how culture and memory has been captured and demobilized in the new dispensation. The narrative also touched on a concept that the so-called ministry of mourning and restorative justice is none existent, because therapy is expensive and is a taboo amogst black communities. 

The narrative also explores and acknowledges the unaccounted bones that litter the land and feel that the ancestors are not asleep. The collective believes that ancestors still haunt public sites while ghosts are dancing and singing the struggle. 

Furthermore they believe that they smell the blood shed on the roads while still holding the trauma of the body, the trauma of the unborn, the trauma of 1904-1908 genocide, the trauma of apartheid, Christianity, The Lubango dungeons, Katutura and neo-colonialism as well as the trauma of HIVAids and the trauma of gender-based violence. 

The show definitely explored the underlying trauma that still lingers in our independent nation.