This powerful visual was on display at the Orange Day gathering against gender violence last week at the Katutura Community Arts Centre. The artists Peter Mwahalukange and Frans Kapiya said the painting depicts the Namibian culture, especially the Owambo culture, where women are used as tools to enrich the men by working in the filed, cooking for the family and looking after the cattle. “If she does not work hard the man beats her and some are also beaten if they do not produce babies”. The arm in the painting is of a man holding a woman down and covering her mouth, silencing her. “This must stop, the bad heritage can also change because we are in a developing world, the culture can change so that we do not beat women and also so that we do not teach our children these bad habits,” explained the artists.
The College of the Arts and MISA Namibia partnered with the Directorate of Arts in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture to mobilise artists and the public to participate in arts activities in addressing Gender Violence. The collaborative effort culminated in a dramatic art exhibition starting last week Friday at the Katutura Community Arts Centre. The event included a display of artworks on canvas done by 22 artists, followed by statements made by fashion and graphic art students, as well as an open microphone stage for poetry, songs and plays and a peaceful public protest march.
People who wished to have their voices heard brought along pots and spoons to make a loud noise as an indication that society will no longer tolerate a culture of gender violence.
Orange Day will be observed on the 25th of every month and takes its title from the offical colour of the UN Secretary General’s Unite to End Violence Against Women campaign. The Orange Day Namibia campaign intends to involve stakeholders from all sectors and spheres of Namibian society and allows for all forms of expression to highlight the need for action on Gender Violence. It also aims to stimulate dialogue on the current challenges and how best to address these taking into account all the policies, laws and action plans developed to address this sore issue so far.