Philander’s satirical drama confronts corruption

Clementine Tjameya

Frederick Philander is an iconic, talented playwright, social historian, actor and director. He uses his gift to express his love of Namibia and its people. Last month, we published an article announcing that Philander had finished his latest satirical political courtroom drama, I am NOT corrupt. He is now preparing it for a full stage presentation.

Without giving spoilers, this play is based on a true Namibian court case that recently captured national headlines. Rehearsals for the play started last week and are continuing throughout the months of March and April. The Windhoek Observer had the privilege to be invited to the first rehearsal of this dramatic presentation. After the run-through, we had the opportunity to meet with Philander (writer and director) and the talented cast.

The actors in the cast stated that they are excited to take part in this Philander gem. They find the drama educational and informative, as well as humorous at times. Mostly, they are struck by its spot-on commentary about current events. The play contains biting dialogue that paints a picture of the subject matter, sometimes in an amusing way.

The drama succinctly portrays Philander’s view about corruption in Namibia. One of the actors said, “This is a powerful play, but at the same time it’s a fun play. There are a lot of entertaining moments in different scenes. It gives me an idea of the corrupt dealings going on in the country in a satirical way. I love the fact that we can play more than one character.”

Another actor commented that the key takeaway from this play is that Namibia cannot allow things to continue the way they have been for the past 30 years. He believes that it is about time that Namibians, particularly the youth, take a stand and embrace real change.

Frederick Philander, the writer and director of this contemporary piece stressed that the play is based on reality. He hopes that the play will serve as an eye-opener to Namibians about the corrosive effect of corruption on the country’s ability to grow and thrive. Namibia has natural resources and great potential to provide for all its people. But selfish and greedy individuals working under the table for their own interests are stealing those bounties. Because of corruption, a few thrive off the backs of the many who have almost nothing.

“This play speaks truth to these untruths that the Namibian society has been bombarded with for the last 30 years. The time has come that people should wake up to the reality of what we are really facing. If you look at the other corruption case which is the fishrot scandal, you will see that so much money has been stolen.

“People in high political standing are responsible for that. They are doing society a dis-favour. Children are still taught under trees in the North. How many people have lost their jobs because of our politicians’ selfish reasoning? This has to stop now, and this is what this play is talking about.”

The cast includes Zelna Claasen, Walter Kahivere, Mervin Claasen, Romulus Pieters, Paul Hamanand and Ute-Yah Smith.

Frederick (Freddie) Philander is a prolific writer, journalist, lecturer and general art enthusiast. He has been described as one of Namibia’s literary giants.

Philander was born in 1949 in South Africa but works and lives in Namibia. He produces vivid stories about South Africa and Namibia. He weaves his personal experiences and observations into the stories, which deal with socio-economic and political issues.

His works include: The Curse: A Four-act play on the Namibian Struggle (1990), The Namibian Stage Chronicles (2010), Prejudice: a collection of African suspense stories (2012) and 4 Original African Screenplays: For the Youth (2013).

The final presentation of I am NOT corrupt will open at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) from 5-9 May at 7 pm each evening. Call 0817172406 for ticket information.

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