“We speak from a place of pain, a place of unrest and yet we also speak with love, strength and hope of a better tomorrow.” Shomwatala Shivute and Nelago Shilongo

Shomwatala Shivute and Nelago Shilongoh,

ǃNamiǂNûs/Windhoek

Shomwatala Shivute and Nelago Shilongoh collaborated to create the ‘Ma Ndili’ photographic series in 2017. Bringing together a series of images confronting the continued presence of colonial era statues in Windhoek and the artists’ relationship with them. ‘Ma Ndili’ means ‘Where I am’ in Oshiwambo. Now in 2020 Shivute and Shilongoh re-visit this series drawing out and emphasising the patriarchal context in which they work:

“We speak from our own lived experiences as young black women. In a country whose police force brutally attacked unarmed peaceful protestors on 10 October 2020. In a country where monuments that celebrate men who slaughtered our Forefathers and Mothers are still standing proud on pedestals, overlooking the city. We speak from a place of pain, a place of unrest and yet we also speak with love, strength and hope of a better tomorrow. ‘Ma Ndili’ is a reflection on our positioning as young black women who grew up in Windhoek, Namibia, looking at the historical landscape of the city, with its many remnants from the colonial era. At this moment however, we are speaking from our position as women who share a collective struggle for survival in this country.” (Shomwatala Shivute and Nelago Shilongoh)

Shomwatala Shivute graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts in 2014 and a BA Honours in Curatorship in 2018. Shivute worked as a curator at the National Art Gallery of Namibia from 2015-2020 and is now the Curator and manager of the National Maritime Museum of Namibia.

Nelago Shilongoh holds an honours degree in Drama Studies and Visual Culture from the University of Namibia and is currently pursuing an Masters in Visual Culture. Shilongoh is a theatre maker and performer and received the award for the Best Staged Play in 2017 at the Namibian Film and Theatre Awards which she directed. Since February 2019, Shilongoh has been employed as the Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Namibia.

Untitled 1, (Ma Ndili)
2017 Digital photography Dimensions variable
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Untitled 1, (Ma Ndili)
Installation view 2017, reprinted 2020 Digital print on paper (wheat-paste) 841 x 1189mm
Untitled 1, (Ma Ndili)
Installation view 2017, reprinted 2020 Digital print on paper (wheat-paste) 841 x 1189mm
Untitled 2, (Ma Ndili)
2017 Digital photography Dimensions variable
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“I play a sonic repertoire of silence, noise, love and struggle songs from Southern Africa as a form of resisting the systemic erasure/exclusion/othering of knowledges present on the margins and in the cracks of colonial nationalist archives.” Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja

Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja,

Katutura/Windhoek

This soundscape, ‘Ondaanisa yo Pomudhime’ [Dance of the Rubber Tree], composed by Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja includes Namibian indigenous music, stories and poetry recordings (1950s) by Ernest and Ruth Dammann, currently housed at Basler Afrika Bibliographien. These sonic remnants are used to trace presence and transgression as embodied by African Cultural Workers as a struggle against erasure of their cultural work.

According to Mushaandja “I play a sonic repertoire of silence, noise, love and struggle songs from Southern Africa as a form of resisting the systemic  erasure/exclusion/othering of knowledges present on the margins and in the cracks of colonial nationalist archives. This collection of sonic works across time is meant to map African radical imaginations. Sound is considered for its critical usefulness as a praxis of borderlessness.” This relates to the title of the work as the rubber tree or ‘Omudhime’ is indigenously used in cleansing and memorial moments of border crossing.

Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja is a performer, educator and writer with practice and research interests in the role of embodied and spatial archives in movement formation. Mushaandja is also a PhD artist at the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town studying Queer Praxis in Oudano Archives. His recent performance Dance of the Rubber Tree is a cross-disciplinary critical queer intervention in museums, theatre and archives in Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Cameroon and Namibia. He is also involved in curative projects from time to time, such as the John Muafangejo Season (2016/2017), Operation Odalate Naiteke (2018/2020) and Owela Festival (2019).

Timeless/Trans-temporal Soundscape

Material originally recorded in 1953/4 Omaruru, Okahandja, Makunda, Okombahe and Eenhana.

Contributing Cultural Workers: Bernhard Kahiko, Elisabeth Kahiko, Kasuko Hiigo, Asnat Mutanga, Monika Komomungondo, Adelheid Mbuandjou, Augustineum Choir, Anton Keib, Emilie Gabese,  Isaschar Kuiseb, Adam //Horeib, Adolf /Nowaseb, Lena Fender. Editing and mixing by Loudima.Dreamer  @ DoorTwo Media.

What is our role and responsibility in changing the way our stories are told?Silke Berens and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja 

Windhoek Khomas

The facilitator training took place in Windhoek at the College of the Arts Theatre in Robert Mugabe Avenue. The facilitators included; Esmeralda Cloete, Fellipus Negodhi, Hildegard Titus, Kambezunda Ngavee, Keith Vries, Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, Nguundja Kandjii, Prince Kamaazengi Marenga, Silke Berens and Veronique Mensah.

“The overall goal for the facilitator training was to support the artists in generating authentic and individual approaches/ideas for their planning and facilitating of the community art interventions. By introducing the artists to some of the modalities of drama and art therapy through first-hand processes, a personal and individual engagement with the themes at hand was encouraged. Through a critically reflexive engagement with aspects of critical pedagogy, the facilitators relied on Paulo Freire’s methods and ideas of thinking about education of the oppressed. This foundation also served a lot as an ideological basis and principles for the workshop processes. 

The workshop methods included providing experiential and creative impulses towards reflection, in the form of expressive arts media such as arts and crafts materials, writing, performance and storytelling. An example of these types of methods- working with personal as well as collective narratives about Namibian history- was the Re-storying of an historic event and/or imagination of a futuristic scenario.

What is our role and responsibility in changing the way our stories are told? This question resonated deeply with all persons involved, and was a central theme running through the facilitator workshop and the entire FWDWS project.”

(Silke Berens and Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja)

Process: Facilitators Workshop, Windhoek

Work: Workshop, Windhoek

from where do we speak exhibition