A selection of photos from two performances.
Performance at a Youth Centre for International Youth Day.
Performance at University of Namibia's stadium.
THE dastardly phenomenon of 'passion killing' hasgripped the Namibian imagination of late. This contemptible form of killing is undoubtedly an extreme version of gender-based violence.
It is often also referred to as intimate partner homicide, which is probably a better characteris.
A 'crime of passion' is usually acted out with impulsiveness and a lack of reasonable reflection, but 'passion killing' contains a clear element of being a planned and premeditated crime.
If anything, this violent crime seems to be not so much about passion as about patriarchy and power. So perhaps this type of homicide should rather be referred to as 'patriarchal killing' or 'power killing' in order for the nation to properly contextualise the discussion and the possible interventions. The country will not make any progress in countering this horrific crime if it is approached as a private or personal issue, instead of viewing it as a national problem and, indeed, a social crisis. Such violent crime is always a reflection of social instability.
'Passion' killing in Namibia seems to be based on the notion of male authority and male power, i.e. that somehow the needs of men are more important and that men should be in control. At the same time, the sexist argument states women should be treated as appendages of men and should be under the guardianship of men. Men are supposed to demonstrate their alleged power over women. So patriarchy seems to be at the root of these killings.
These are the pictures from one of the first dress rehearsals of the show.
The dancers from the OYO dance troupe created the show together with their international guest dancers from Britain and Canada under the artistic direction of Philippe Talavera.
The show told the story of a passion killing and was performed in August 2014 around Namibia in community performances, flashmobs, at a University festival, a youth centre and a prison.
"The violent/angry scene" (the scene I created) was performed to Beyonce's
Ring the Alarm.
Deadvlei is the most beautiful sight to see. The river that brought life to this area has long since dried up leaving the trees without any water. The sight of the dark lifeless trees against some of the world's tallest dunes and the patterned pale clay pan ground is simply stunning.
Life, however, still does exist there. Extremophiles such as Salsola shrubs and Nara melon still manage to grow in this area.
We all got up at 4.30am in order to climb Dune 45 and watch sunrise from the top of the dune. It was an lovely experience to sit at the top of the dune and look around at the beautiful desert landscape. I had been having problems with nose bleeding and my breathing wasn't great but I was so happy that I reached the top.
After taking some pictures at the top of the dune we climbed down and our breakfast was waiting....
By popular demand, I have gone meerkat crazy with my pictures taken at Solitaire, where they were literally running over my feet to get to the bread left by tourists.
Solitaire is a stop-over place for tourists venturing to the Namib desert. It consists of a petrol station, post office, bakery/cafe, tourist shop and mechanics. Apparently Ewan McGregor stopped there on his motorcycle on his journey from Scotland to South Africa.
Solitaire is a good place to see meerkats (my next post) as they are literally running over your feet and also 'old things' as the place is decorated with an eclectic mix of old objects.
I fell in love with this creature over the last few days and was lucky to have several close encounters both at our camp and in the desert. The above picture was taken in Sossusvlei in the southern part of the Namib Desert. As I was waiting for my group to return, the oryx walked towards us and kindly posed for some photos.
Below is the oryx that I found walking around our camping area yesterday evening. I took several photos and then walked on but later, when I returned to the same spot, it was dark. I looked around and as I walked passed a tree I found the oryx sitting next to the tree just a few footsteps away! It was a lovely 20 minutes or so as we looked at each other and neither of us with any intention of moving.
Philippe asked me to create an angry scene for the new show 'Ever since Helen' which is on the subject of passion killing.
Passion killings are a regular occurrence in Namibia and even since I have been in Namibia there have been a few examples in the press. It is thought that this is down to both the patriarchal society and the massive wealth inequality.
"Namibia should face the sad reality that the country is known as having the highest level of income inequality in the world and that this undoubtedly must spill over into everyday relationships. As social inequality increases, so does competition for social status, so does relationship inequality and so can violent crimes. Homicides and assaults are very closely associated with income inequality. So social inequality is another crucial reality to consider in debating 'passion' killings.
Research indicates that thirty-one percent of Namibian women in urban areas report physical violence from a partner at some point in their lives. Now just imagine how much higher that percentage must be in the rural areas of the country. Incidentally, the people of Botswana have been struggling with this very same phenomenon for several years as well. So there are probably no quick-fix solutions to the multifaceted and endemic violence."
Passion Killings or Patriarchy? by SHAUN WHITTAKER in The Namibian (read the full article here).
This scene is the point in the story where one of the character's anger drives him to the point of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Philippe suggested I listen to Beyonce's song Ring the Alarm.
When I listened to the song I drew a picture of a huddle of people with their arms in the position of the person in The Scream painting with their hands over their ears and their mouths open. I then looked up the word anger on google image and put together a count of 8 based on angry gestures such as folded arms, a fist, a swiping arm, arms to the ears, etc. It was a interesting scene to choreograph - here are some pictures!