Namibia: Open Call for Artists With Disabilities

The National Theatre of Namibia, in partnership with the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), is calling for artists with disabilities over the age of 18 to book a slot and show the world what they’ve got.

The call-out invites artists, particularly dancers, poets and actors, to audition for an upcoming project aimed at combatting stereotypes and harmful practices, enforcing the rights and dignity of people with disabilities (PWD), while promoting awareness of their capabilities and contributions.

“Performing and other arts have always been dominated by people without disabilities and those with disabilities are left out. We want to ensure that people with disabilities are included everywhere,” says NNAD national director Paul Nanyeni.

“The Namibian public needs to appreciate the abilities of people with disabilities. Disability does not mean inability! PWDs have talents. They are able to do different things and can think and reason too. They too have emotions and can express themselves through different means,” he says.

“Art has a major effect on driving messages to the community to support, to change their mindset, and to include PWDs in decision-making, planning and development.”

Though Namibia has some of the best data and policies in place for PWDs, Nanyeni says the country is lagging on full implementation.

“During this time of Covid-19, for example, there is little effort directed to people with disabilities. However, in reality, PWDs are two times at risk of Covid-19. Visually impaired people can touch contaminated surfaces or be close to people without knowing,” says Nanyeni.