The annual Windhoek Annual Cultural Festival (WACF) took place from the 26-30th June at the Sam Nujoma Stadium and attracted nearly 20,000 attendees.
The festival spotlights young and upcoming entrepreneurs, artists and musicians in order to promote Namibian talent through cultural, empowerment, social creativity and innovation. The 2019 festival sparked huge interest.
When contacted for feedback, the director of the festival, Sylvester Shapwa, was gushing with pride about the success of WACF 2019. “This year’s festival surpassed all our expectations in terms of turnout, activities and interest. We did not expect the level of interest we got. We had people calling from all over the country asking about tickets and activities!”
According to the Shapwa, the festival attracted a whopping 19,900 attendees; 2,500 on Wednesday, 2,700 on Thursday, 4,700 on Friday, and 10,000 on Saturday. This successful outcome was a huge difference from the “just over a 1,000” per day, which the organising team hoped to attract.
Those attending crossed over into different communities. Attendees consisted of a cross cutting section of people from various backgrounds, regions, foreign visitors, and importantly, potential investors who all came out to enjoy the festival regardless of the cold winter weather. Shapwa added he was amazed to see how people enjoyed the festival and the positive feedback received. “People could have stayed at home because of the cold weather, but they came out to support the festival instead! He further humorously added, “Luckily, we had bonfires to help with the cold.”
According to Shapwa, this year’s highlights consisted of a talent competition, battle of the choirs, battle of the DJs, battle of the cultural groups (with 15 different groups competing), musical performances by King Tee Dee (formally known as The Dogg), and Kaboy Kamakili.
Shapwa could not supress his enthusiasm when speaking about the activities which took place during the festival. “There are so many talented people in Namibia and they need more platforms to showcase their gifts. I felt inspired and there was such a beautiful atmosphere around.” He added, “although we were lucky enough and happy to have musical performances by big artists like King Tee Dee, that is not our focus. Our focus is to give platforms to up and coming artists and talents.”
Moreover, Shapwa also mentioned that for the first time this year they opened a call for exhibitors to display their goods at the festival. The festival received a total of 400 applications for stalls, and were able to accommodate 101 exhibitors consisting of: cultural goods, food stalls, corporates and SMEs.
The organizers’ hope is to sustain this momentum for all participants within the festival. “We want to keep working and growing with our participants and future participants.”
For next year’s festival the WACF hopes to keep growing with current and new participants, and provide more cultural activities to relate to Namibians and promote cultural diversity. ”We want to get bigger and better,” Shapwa said.