Students enjoying the fruit of their labour

Limba Mupetami
Visual and performing art students from the University of Namibia’s recently again received bursaries from Standard Bank to help them in pursuing their studies.

Many former students who were recipients of the bursary programme have gone on to become upstanding, successful members of their communities.

One such student is senior arts education officer in the Directorate of Arts and Fashion Design, Marcellinus Swartbooi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in both Khoekhoegowab Studies and Fashion Studies.

“I received the bursary for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014. In a society in which the arts are regarded with disdain and viewed as merely a leisurely activity, it is encouraging to know that the bank recognises the value of their craft and has not hesitated in investing in it.

“There is a niche for arts in Namibia because it has the potential to add to our GDP and play and influential role in our economy. It is comforting to know that one can make a living through your own talents, and in view of this, the awarding of the art bursaries is vital to art education and art development in this country,” he said.

Lynette Diergaardt, a former bursary holder and full time lecturer in Arts Education at the University’s Khomasdal campus in Windhoek as well as practicing fine and applied artist, was equally grateful for the bank’s support.

Diergaardt said that without the bursary she would not have been able to pay for her both her tuition and her school supplies, so knowing she could rely on Standard Bank’s support put her at ease.

“Standard Bank’s support of the arts gives me hope that the value of the art fields in Namibian society and the country’s economic well-being is taken seriously. This is what most artists in this country strive for: That our field be respected and we be given the chance to help develop entrepreneurial skills and therefore job creation,” she said.

Similarly Loini Iizyenda, a part-time lecturer at the University of Namibia, a freelance designer and artist, said she was also grateful to have received the bursary which aided her immensely.

“Being a bursary recipient made it possible for me to execute my artistic ideas with no extra financial burden. Students often need to buy extra material apart from what the department offers. Quality fabrics and haberdasheries, tools, fabric paint, etc. are important to create unique and excellent products. These materials are usually costly for students,” she said.

Iizyenda, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in textile studies and fashion studies, received her bursary in 2010. Like many fellow recipients, the prospect of receiving the bursary encouraged her to study hard because it is awarded to promising students with a good academic track record.

“It is encouraging to know that there is a company like Standard Bank that appreciates creative individuals and is willing to financially support them. It inspired me to continue positively to pursue my design career after graduation. With the good grades I achieved for my final year projects, I was also able to gain a master of arts in sustainability in fashion from Esmod Berlin University of Arts for Fashion in Germany,” she said.

Due to the costly nature of art supplies especially for students who have no means of additional financial income, Iizyenda stressed that this negatively impacted students’ creative process. Therefore she encourages all students to apply for the bursary as it will help them in creating their best work.