New OYO dances on gender violence and child marriages
“We hope that by the end of this year, ten more Namibians understand the art of dance better than before and can use their skill to either assist us in future projects or launch their own initiative in their local community” stated Dr Philippe Talavera, the founder and director of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation when he announced the troupe’s schedule for this year.
Showcasing dances from their standing repertoire on Tuesday 14 February, the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation’s dance troupe performed “the Moirai” and “Ever Since Helen” followed by the announcement of their upcoming projects for 2017.
Ombetja Yehinga or OYO for short, uses an uncommon form of artistic expressioni to inform, educate and raise awareness of social ills when communicating to a diverse audience at once.
“OYO uses physical theatre, which is telling a story through movement and without words. Contemporary dance is often perceived as abstract. Physical theatre is not abstract. It really builds from story telling,” said Talavera.
OYO also announced their first training programme for ten understudies recruited from around Namibia who will learn through experience with the dance troupe in 2017. They have a very busy year ahead” he said adding that the understudies come from many different places, Keetmanshop, Koes, Tsumeb, Rundu, Windhoek and Rehoboth.
Working with characters, situations, spaces and time, the OYO dance troupe in 2016 performed with and for over 114 219 people.
Launched at the luncheon this week to about 70 people, “the Moirai” addresses the tragic issue of gender violence, while “Ever Since Helen” dissects relationships among young people, with the emphasis on jealousy.
“The programme for 2017 includes a campaign to promote the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture’s policy on the prevention and management of learner pregnancy. Three pieces have been developed under this theme and we aim to have more girls and boys aware of how a pregnancy could alter and affect their academic career. Boys should also be taken into account when addressing a social problem such as learner pregnancy” stated Talavera.
Three repertoires have been prepared on gender violence as well as the ‘Phantom of Namibia’ about orphans and vulnerable children and ‘Maria’ about child marriages.
It is OYO’s intention to take the dance troupe on a performing trip to Botswana and South Africa.
OYO was established in 2001 with the Kunene Regional Council when teachers approached Talavera on new ways of communicating information on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to learners. Conventional teaching was not effective and a new and creative way was needed. Five short films on the pandemic were born from adapted scripts submitted by learners. Based on the success, OYO was registered as a Welfare Organisation in 2002 and as a Trust in 2009.