Afro-Future festival in a nutshell

Bringing together science, beauty and art

25 November 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Concepts of arts, science, beauty, and self-expression found deeper meaning at the Theatre School in Windhoek on Saturday, as especially the youth visited the Afro-Future festival organised by Zodidi Gaseb and Luke Kamenye.
Discussions on afro-futurism, colourism and hair took centre stage as various panels engaged the audience on the different elements that make these topics uncomfortable but nonetheless imperative subjects to discuss.
Nikolai Tjongarero and Alina Muziwemba engaged a packed auditorium on the future of African science, aesthetics and hair-care, which they said are not afforded the necessary respect and prominence they deserve within mainstream media.
Tjongarero gave an example of a 15-year-old, Berhane Wheeler, who created an app that displays the chemical reactions of catalysts such as hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water. “Not all schools in Namibia have science laboratories, a Namibian child recently went viral on social media for an app he created that will help children in lesser funded schools to have access to a science laboratory in the form of a tablet,” Tjongarero said. “That is afro-futurism, where science and technology meet in order to solve societal challenges.”
Discourse on colourism were headlined by Beatrice Schultz and Agnes of Akoma. They engaged the audience on acceptance of the individual and how women of colour experience discrimination and favouritism based on the different shades of their skin tone.
Schulz said, as a child growing up, her mother would buy her bleaching creams with the best of intentions in order to afford her a better life. “As a child, I was referred to as Kiwi shoe polish because of the darkness of my skin,” Agnes said. “Growing up my perception of self was greatly influenced by how others saw me and how I saw myself. These are the discriminatory practices within black society which we should aim to confront and do away with.”
The festival saw a number of exhibitors showcasing different products and services that are aimed at embracing the beauty and aesthetics of African men and women, the panel discussions were an integral part of the festival.
African hair is the central theme upon which the festival was founded seven year ago by Zodidi and Maliza Mukungu, who discussed various hair care techniques in the third panel discussion at the event. – Nampa

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