Vickson Hangula is one of the Namibian filmmakers who pioneered the scriptwriting, directing and production of Namibia’s own stories for television and big screen, but has been absent from the film scene for over four years.
New Era Weekend went in search of Namibia’s version of Spike Lee. And we found him. At a pre-arranged rendezvous point somewhere in Windhoek, we had coffee and discussed his disappearance from the scene – pun intended – and our yearning for his work.
“I had decided to concentrate most of my energy in getting things to improve at the Namibia Film Commission, basically setting the scene right when it comes to better funding for the industry, creating training opportunities, as well as strategising how the industry can be decentralised,” says Hangula, who is a commissioner for the Namibia Film Commission.
A scriptwriter, director, and sometimes actor, Hangula remains a rare breed, working through one hurdle after another, always ready to rise again. He speaks of releasing a comeback film that is currently in the works: ‘Fish Out Of Water’ – a drama set in Lüderitz.
For Hangula the life of a filmmaker is not only about rewards. He sees filmmaking as a gift from God. “Whether I’m working on a film or not, the life of a filmmaker is the only thing I know, so it is never about rewards for me,” he said.
Although a filmmaker’s life in Africa might not be as rewarding and glamorous as Nollywood or Hollywood, Hangula believes his rewards come from God and that He always provides for him, more so than he provides for the fishes in the seas and the birds in the trees.
“If it is about material reward, let me just say that the Lord is good for He always provides for me. I am convinced that I will taste the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I will live the Nollywood, Bollywood, Hollywood lifestyle, whatever that lifestyle is,” he laughs.
Hangula has produced award-winning films ever since directing his first film, ‘In Difficult Times’, under the then NBC’s Namibia Oral Tradition Project when he won the Young Directors’ Choice award in 1997.
He is also the winner of the M-Net All Africa Film Awards in 2000 in the category Best Film Shot on Video and the first Golden Pen Winner in Namibia, having won the Golden Pen Playwrights’ Awards for the controversial hit satirical play: ‘The Show Isn’t Over Until…’
Other films by Hangula are ‘Okapana: People Soul food’, ‘The Worrier’, ‘On the Rope’s End’, ‘Picture This’, ‘The Night Fire’ and ‘And you call this freedom?’