Tsumeb is the largest town in the Oshikoto region in northern Namibia and makes for a worthwhile stopover en route to your accommodation in Windhoek from Etosha National Park. This old mining town is the unexpected location of the Tsumeb Arts Performance Centre, established by the Namibian Art Performance Centres association (NAPCA) to foster young artists and promote cultural growth in the region.
Similar Arts Performance Centres are also found at Omagalanga and Oshikulu. These centres encourage members of the surrounding disadvantaged communities to take part in artistic pursuits such as painting, design and music.
Here, children are able to learn a variety of instruments and skills, surrounded by colourful murals and immaculate gardens which create the perfect backdrop for artistic growth and expression. Local community members are employed as teachers at the centre and their dedication is paramount to the success of this operation.
Without the tireless effort of these teachers and the generous donations from the public, which keep this centre functioning, these children would have no outlet for their creative ambitions and Namibia would be a poorer place without fostering this budding talent.
Dramatic plays and African dances are performed on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, to showcase their talents and give the centre much needed public exposure.
The classrooms take the form of colourful rondavels, each dedicated to a group of instruments, and it is here that the children of Tsumeb are fortunate to learn and practice art forms that would otherwise be unheard of to them. Apart from musical ability, these lessons also create a sense of purpose for these children and open up avenues for employment and skills development.
The workshop is an important part of the centre where locals are taught how to build and repair the various instruments that are used in the school. These craftsmen have become so skilled at this highly specialised work that musical instruments are sent to Tsumeb for repairs from all over Namibia.