2021, a year in which local film flourished

• By Rosalia David

THIS was year two of the pandemic, and with political and social strife surrounding vaccines and vaccine access still dominating the headlines, the entertainment industry however provided us with some bright spots in the dark and before stepping into 2022, here’s a look at a few of the most powerful moments from 2021 that defined our year.

Compared to previous years, there was surely a strange grace in our film culture with local films such as Kapana, Hairareb and Land of the Brave gaining international recognition.

Kapana, produced by Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust, is an LGBTQ+-themed film that follows a love story between an insurance broker and a kapana vendor, and aimed at raising awareness on social issues like HIV-AIDS.

The film this year won the Kim Renders Memorial Award for outstanding performance in Canada, and was also a runner-up for the best narrative award at the Pride Film Festival in Australia.

It was also a runner-up in the Out on Film USA Awards.

Kapana also won the award for the best narrative feature at the DC Black Film Festival in the United States.

Land of the Brave is a film which traces the journey of tough female cop, Meisie Willemse hiding a dodgy past which haunts her as she takes on one of the biggest cases of her career. A serial killer is on the loose and as Willemse gets closer to catching the killer, a ruthless reporter exposes the deep, dark secrets from her past which threaten to destroy the investigation and ultimately her life.

This year, the film got an opportunity to show on Showmax and won the Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Uganda Film Festival and the Best Narrative Feature Award at the 2020 Silicon Valley African Film Festival.

Local film, Hairareb also won two Dikalo Awards at the Festival International du Film Pan Africain de Cannes.

The Oscars which are regarded as the most prestigious and significant awards in the film entertainment industry worldwide further approved the Namibia International Feature Film Awards Selection Committee.

In the fashion industry, Katutura Fashion Week celebrated and awarded the unrecognised, known but uncelebrated, or renowned but not awarded models and fashion designers with more than 10 participants walking away with different accolades.

The sixth edition of the MTC Windhoek Fashion Week this year told a strong story of explosive growth in the fashion industry, exclusive home-grown designer brands as well as the emergence of ‘Made in Namibia’ as a force.

In September, MTC hosted a successful online gospel show which saw a line-up of 17 gospel singers pulling off a thrilling performance with an aim of instilling back hope amongst the nation during the pandemic.

Despite all the doom and gloom the entertainment industry had to endure at the beginning of the year due to Covid-19 regulations some moments further defined pop cultural moments of 2021

International model and social activist from Walvis Bay Chelsi Shikongo beat 14 other contestants from across the country and scooped the prestigious Miss Namibia crown during a glitzy ceremony held virtually.

She also scooped the Miss Photogenic and Top Model titles.

In addition, Shikongo was among the top five contestants that received the most public votes at the Miss Universe pageant hosted in Israel recently.

Fashion designer Reinhard Mahalie got featured on the cover of Forbes Africa Magazine.

Mahalie became the first openly queer Namibian star to make it onto the coveted Forbes Africa under 30 list in 2021.

Meanwhile, musically, local musician Desmond Katamila, formerly known as Lil D, is reaping the rewards of his hard work and dedication bagging an international record deal with a Paris-based record label and music distributor, Believe Digital.

Multi-award-winning Namibian artist, Naftalie Shigwedha Amukwelele (popularly known as D-Naff), recently added to his list of achievements when he won at the 2021 Maranatha Awards in the United States.