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Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja | Research Trip

Switzerland | Performing Arts

September 2021 — Performing Arts

Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja

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In 2019 Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja was an artist in residence in Basel, Switzerland where he spent three months conducting intensive research at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien, the Namibian Resource Centre and Southern African Library in Switzerland, focusing on acoustic and visual archives from and about Namibia. The research framed two public events: a roundtable discussion focusing on a so-called ethnographic collection from Namibia, and an elaborate multimedia performance of Ondaanisa yo pOmudhime (Dance of the Rubber Tree). 

For his research trip in September 2021, Mushaandja will build on from this residency and develop research and material for a new related project titled ZILIN – a sonic experimentation with the rich heritage of Africana music that originates from different parts of the continent and its diaspora. A conceptual project-in-the-making, ZILIN is deeply interested in African archival music and sonic collections across place and time. The project will unpack African musical heritage housed at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien sonic archives and comprise a collection of indigenous songs reimagined and reinterpreted through contemporary practices such as AfroBeat.

Mushaandja explains his focus for the trip as well as how the two projects connect and intercept: “My previous residency focused on my performance project which was about archival contestations, museums and erasure. It looked at different archival collections such as colonial photography, cultural artefacts and sound. For the new residency, I wish to focus entirely on sound archives and dig more deeply into these. This means spending more time in the Dammann collection and looking for specific material to build onto the performance. I foresee myself doing extensive writing on the work when in Basel. So, after performing in Zurich, I will be spending time writing a book chapter (which I have already started) that will not only unpack the performance as it happened in Makhanda and Zurich, but also reflect on how the sound collections at the International Library of African Music (Makhanda, South Africa], the Basler Africa Bibliographien (Basel, Switzerland), and IwalewaHaus, (Bayreuth, Germany) come together in this new performance project. Writing this paper will provide ideas on how to expand the performance and other write-ups.”

This research trip follows Mushaandja’s performance at this year’s Theater Spektakel, where he will be presenting a version of Ondaanisa yo pOmudhime (Dance of the Rubber Tree) as a collective listening and concert together with his band Tschuku Tschuku.

Tschuku Tschuku sound rehearsal in Makhanda for the National Arts Festival, 2021.


Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja is a Namibian performer, educator, and writer with practice-research interests in archives and public culture (performance, visuality and spatiality); critical pedagogy; queer praxis and movement formation. His recent PhD performance project Ondaanisa yo pOmudhime (Dance of the Rubber Tree) at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies is a queer intervention practiced through Oudano, an African concept of performance. This work has been performed widely at festivals, museums, theatres and archives in Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Cameroon and Namibia. Mushaandja is also involved in curative projects from time to time, such as the John Muafangejo Season (2016/2017), Operation Odalate Naiteke (2018/2020) and Owela Festival (2019).