Permanent Exhibition On Namibia's Underground Pop Culture Still Closed

17 Jan 2023


There is a new permanent exhibition on underground pop culture during Apartheid in Namibia called "Stolen Moments" at the Independence Museum in Windhoek. 
Photo: Screenshot from the video clip about the exhibition project on the YouTube channel of the German Federal Foreign Office


Although it officially opened in early December, the new exhibition "Stolen Moments" at the Independence Museum in Windhoek is not yet open to visitors. Some elements are still being worked on, co-curator Olivia Nakale told News. Unfortunately, the final work could not be completed before the summer break. However, the exhibition should be accessible from February.

"Stolen Moments - Namibian Music History Untold" is a permanent multimedia exhibition on underground pop culture in Namibia from the 1950s to the late 1980s. There are 13 listening stations where you can play songs.

A sound installation consisting of interviews with musicians and contemporary witnesses offers the visitors further access to that time. Photos, record covers and music memorabilia give a visual impression. There is also a 120-minute video projection on dance styles of the time.


National treasure hunt for Namibia's pop music

According to the press release, the exhibition shows, " what back then remained almost unheard by a large part of the population due to censorship and segregation. This is the story of those who, despite the propagated oppression, formed bands, resisted this cultural imposition, followed global trends, experimented with traditional sounds, played every weekend in backdoor ballrooms and danced their way through decades of extreme racial injustice."

Research for the exhibition project began in 2010 as a national treasure hunt for Namibia's popular music. Lead curator Aino Moongo gives a good overview in a video clip on the German Foreign Office's YouTube channel. There is also an interesting Facebook page about the project.


Team project of many Namibian and German institutions.

The exhibition is the result of a truly concerted effort. The National Museum of Namibia, the Kirchliche Arbeitsstelle Südliches Afrika (KASA) of the Werkstatt Ökonomie in Heidelberg and the University of Bayreuth were significantly involved. The three curators of the National Museum, Aina Moongo, Olivia Nakale and Lydia Nghilundilua were supported by the Iwalewahaus of the University of Bayreuth for Contemporary African Culture.

Involved locally were the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation NBC, the National Archives of Namibia and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. The TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Carl Schlettwein Foundation and the Mopane Foundation helped with the financing.

The exhibition was finally funded and brought to Namibia by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Embassy in Windhoek and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Sven-Eric Stender

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