Performing artists call for recognition

Performing Arts is not a sport many people pay attention to so those who have talent usually go unnoticed. A group of seven girls from Namibia brought back several medals from Los Angeles (LA). Swakopmund’s Leanne Magson came back with a gold in spokes modelling.

Leanne and Latoya Stephanus met with Namib Times to share their experiences. The girls participated last year in the Namibian Championship of Performing Arts and qualified to go to Los Angeles for the World Championship of Performing Arts competition in California. They departed on 6 July from the Hosea Kutako International Airport. They had to compete with over 7000 competitors and still managed to return with three gold medals.
Leanne’s mother Ennie Magson said it was very hard to raise money for the girls because each one had to pay more than N$100 000 to go to LA but in the end her daughter managed to go. “Sixty children from Namibia actually qualified for the World Championships but only seven could raise money for the trip. We had to pay for everything, we tried to get sponsorship from the government, but they didn’t help. Namibia has talent but do not see performing arts as a sport and do not recognize dancers”, Magson stated.
During the interview with Namib Times, Leanne said she did not regret going to Los Angeles. “I am grateful for all the people who sponsored me including my mom, grandmother and dad. The trip opened my eyes and I now feel I can take on anything without being scared”. Latoya said she is privileged to have been part of the group that went to LA. According to the girls, the trip was a very good experience because they learned a lot from the other performers. Leanne and Latoya both performed in the age group 13-15 and they danced and modeled. The seven girls, 5 from Windhoek, one from Swakopmund and another from Walvis Bay had to travel with the South African team and had Lomine Brynard as their director.
Naledi Kunene (19) from Windhoek came back with a gold and bronze medal, Anrie Brynard (11) got a gold medal and Leanne Magson (13) also got a gold medal for being the best in her age category. According to Leanne, although the competition was tough, and they were high on their nerves the organisers made the environment very relaxing. “There was a fun part to the trip too, we went to Disney land as a treat and also went to Universal Studios, got to see a lot of characters and it was a fun experience”, said Leanne.
Ennie Magson further said the country should start recognising performing artists like other countries. “I was surprised when I heard that all the 100 girls who came from Philippines received full trip sponsorship from their government and those girls did so well and were working hard because they are encouraged and supported by their government”.

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