Having concluded this past weekend, we take a closer look at the legends honoured at the Namibia Film and Theatre Awards and their speeches.
While it may have gone down as a night of glim and glamour to many the 5th Namibian Theatre and Film Awards celebrated industry legends that have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of film and theatre. Banana Ueshitile Shekupe, Hans “Struppie” Reinhardt and the late N!xau ≠Toma were named as lifetime achievers.
Banana Ueshitile Shekupe
Banana Shekupe, one of the founding members of the Ndilimani Cultural Band, started his music career in 1977 during exile before joining the National Theatre of Namibia in 1990 as an actor, choreographer and musician. This is when he made his first collaboration with the NTN on the Namibian dance drama “Circle around the moon”.
His first credit was his portrayal of well-known Namibian Artists John Muafangejo in the play “Forcible Love”. The thespian also starred in a 7-part series for a German based film company Studio 38 in a major role.
Receiving his award, Shekupe reminisced about his career which led him to the College of the Arts where he lectured and has established an African Performing Arts study centre.
Having done his part during the liberation struggle days Shekupe says that Namibia is still not known. “Namibian artists haven’t done enough to preach the gospel about our country. We can also get people to our country for investments and tourism,” he stated. Despite having retired from the industry Shekupe says that he would still like to further his career in film.
Hans “Struppie” Reinhardt
He is known for being a dedicated theatre man who loved his work in the many facets of the profession. Growing up in Bavaria with professional musicians; family members who played instruments and taught music, his love for theatre started. Struppie immigrated to the then South West Afrika at 25.
He was a founding member of the German Theatre Group, sang in the choir and performed with M. Ernst Scherer who was a musician and conductor.
He built sets and was also involved with lighting in the first small Theatre of the Arts Association. Being a stage manager, lighting operator, painter Struppie also invented and built a movable stage managers desk, a movable trolley for extension cables and another for lighting gels.
His dedication to theatre was appreciated at the University of Namibia, then the academy, where he also shared his knowledge about theatre.
Having retired in 1981, a decrepit Struppie said that he enjoyed his in theatre. “This brought very good remembrance to that time,” he mentioned.
Honoured for having introduced Namibia to the rest of the world and having sensitized creatives to guard against the exploitation of their local talents, N!xau ≠Toma received the Lifetime Achievement award posthumously.
Thanks to his role ‘Xixo’ the Kalahari Bushman who discovers a Coca-Cola bottle in the 1980 film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” and its sequels, N!xau ≠Toma became known to the world making him Namibia’s most famous actor. While he received only a few hundred dollars for his work in the original film, he negotiated over half a million for his appearance to the sequel of The Gods Must Be Crazy. His film acting career ended in 1994 having acted in Crazy Safari, Crazy Hong Kong and The Gods Must Be Funny in China.
≠Toma passed on at an estimated age of 59 in 2003.
Receiving the award, ≠Toma’s daughter expressed gratitude over her father’s recognition. “It is because of my father that I am in Windhoek. This award is an indication that there are still a lot of people who remember my father. Therefore I say thank you to everyone who honours my father,” she said.