In recognising artistic excellence for the past 13 consecutive years, Standard Bank has been sponsoring the University of Namibia’s visual and preforming arts students with bursaries to aid them with their studies.
The annual sponsorship, which amounts to N$120 000 annually, allows for the students to explore their artistic talent freely without being hindered with the worry of the costs for their material and research.
Many of the former students who were recipients of the bursary programme have gone on to become upstanding, successful members of their communities. Many of these former students have also become successful entrepreneurs who give back to their communities by providing employment.
One such student is Senior Arts Education Officer in the Directorate of Arts and Fashion Designer, Marcellinus Swartbooi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in both Khoekhoegowab Studies and Fashion Studies.
“I received the Standard Bank bursary for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014.The receipt of these bursaries motivated me to maintain a high standard of quality in my studies and helped with endurance and perseverance, discipline, and work ethics throughout my four-year course, Swartbooi said of his bursary.
Swartbooi added that in a society in which the arts are regarded with condescension and viewed as merely a leisurely activity, it is encouraging to know that a reputable financial institution like Standard Bank recognizes the value of their craft and has not wavered in investing in it.
“There is a niche for arts in Namibia, this is because art has the potential to add to the GDP of the country and play and influential role in our economy. It is comforting to know that one can make a living through your own craft/talents, and in view of this, the awarding of the Standard Bank Art Bursaries, is vital in art education and art development of this country,” he stressed.
Lynette Diergaardt, a former bursary holder, full time lecturer in Arts Education at University’s Khomasdal Campus in Windhoek and practicing fine and applied artist, was equally as grateful for the Bank’s support of the arts.
Diergaardt explained that without the bursary she would not have been able to pay for her both her tuition and her school supplies, so knowing she could rely on Standard Bank’s support put her at ease.
“Standard Bank’s support of the arts gives me hope that the value of the art fields in Namibian society and economic well-being is taken seriously. This is what most of the artists in this country strive for- that our field be respected and we be given the chance to help with entrepreneurial skills and therefore job creation,” she said.
Similarly, Loini Iizyenda, a part-time lecturer at the University of Namibia, a freelance designer and artist, said she was also grateful to have received the bursary which aided her immensely.
“Being a standard bank bursary recipient made it possible for me to execute my artistic ideas with no extra financial burden.
Students often need to buy extra material apart from what the department offers. Quality fabrics and haberdasheries, tools, fabric paint etc. are important in order to create unique and excellent products. These materials are usually costly for students,” she explained.
Iizyenda, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Textile Studies and Fashion Studies, received her bursary in 2010. Like many of her fellow recipients, the prospect of receiving the bursary encouraged her to study hard because it is awarded to promising students with a good academic track record.
“It is encouraging to know that there is a company like Standard Bank that appreciates creative individuals and is willing to financially support them. It inspired me to continue positively to pursue my design career after graduation. With the good grades that I achieved for my final year projects thanks to Standard Bank, I was also able to gain a Master of Arts in Sustainability in Fashion from Esmod Berlin University of Arts for fashion in Germany,” she noted.
Due to the costly nature of art supplies, especially for students who have no means of additional financial income, Iizyenda stressed that this negatively impacted student’s creative process. In that light, she encouraged all students to apply for the bursary as it would aid them in creating their best work.
“Therefore I would like to thank Standard Bank for its continuous and generous support to the UNAM Visual and Performing Art department, its students and their vision. In Namibia, the art and design industry is misunderstood and not appreciated. Yet it has the potential to contribute highly to the economic empowerment of the community. With Standard Bank’s support, the UNAM Arts department and its students have been able to operate effectively with the funds and continue to grow the industry,” she concluded.