Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Windhoek Life

There's a real advantage to being based in Windhoek. Although at times living in the capital can really get you down - security issues, electric fences, traffic - there's also a lot of advantages, which means we don't just stay in every night.

The landlord's dog loves Alex

Alex and I are making the most of our social time, or what's left of it since we're leaving in 11 weeks or so, by using the facilities available in Windhoek. For example, the Goethe Centre. We've done a few German lessons at the Goethe Centre here, and have enjoyed using the library for books.  There's also social events, like the Christmas party we went to, and the recent Eurovision party - the hoots and guffaws at the Turkish group's dancing filled the whole street. "Do people in Europe really dress like that?" one neighbour asked us when the Danish group was strumming away.  "Mostly not," we replied, noting the enormous shoulder pads and military outfits, "but sometimes" we added, on second reflection. 

The Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in Windhoek regularly organises great events, screenings, music sessions and art exhibitions.  Recently we attended a cabaret show from Paris, Mondial Cabaret, organised by the FNCC, at the Playhouse Theatre in Windhoek. Having travelled through 16 countries in Africa already, this two-man show was slick and very, very funny. The young Russian boy next to us, sat on his mother's lap, hooted loudly with delight at each act, sometimes so paralysed with raucous laughter that he writhed himself accidentally onto the floor, much to his mother's embarrassment and amusement.  "Oy, oy oy!"  he crowed, as the duo tap-danced, hooted and sang for an hour and a half. We had an fantastic evening.  If you ever get a chance to see these guys, I'd definitely recommend it. 

The Playhouse Theatre is also host to 'Spoken Word', a regular poetry event where young poets get up on stage and show their stuff.  Occasionally of dubious quality, and occasionally genius, Spoken Word is always interesting and insightful.  One week, a man in a wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down, read a poem he'd written about the car accident that had deprived him of mobility.  When he spoke about being a good father to his son and showing what real strength is, the room became very, very quiet. He had a standing ovation at the end.
Spoken Word

There's also the occasional concert in Windhoek.  Recently, the Afro Pop Jazz festival was held in the grounds of a school and featured many Namibian and international artists, such as Big Ben, Shishani, and the fantastic Zahara from South Africa.  Zahara has been making waves here recently with her blend of soulful music and fantastic guitar playing, mixing country with traditional melodies. The night out was really fantastic, especially for guitar lovers.  And I'd definitely recommend getting your hands on some Zahara and Shishani!

Shishani playing


And, of course, there are great nights out and comfortable afternoons in with friends old and new.  

With Natalia and Wendy at Que Tapas in Merua Mall - great wine and fantastic food with two lovely ladies

Colleague Charmaine and gorgeous little Gee

Coffee with Alex at the Heinitzburg Castle

And, of course, the fabulous African sunsets.  You can't beat it!

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