Balmore Coach House celebrates Namibian link ahead of Commonwealth Games

Sports fans in East Dunbartonshire are being urged to get to the art of the action and back Namibia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Balmore Coach House, Rhondda Geekie visiting The Balmore Trust to see Namibian art. John Riches, Rhondda Geekie and Jen Binnie - exhibitions assistant. Prints in the background Photo by Emma Mitchell 20/1/14

Locals are being asked to roar on the African country at the Glasgow Games as part of the ‘Support a Second Team’ campaign - a programme of events to engage the cultures of the Commonwealth and develop further links.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Baton will arrive in Namibia on Tuesday, January 28 and exciting plans are being hatched to celebrate the links between East Dunbartonshire and Namibia.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Balmore Trust is planning to display art produced by talented Namibians in the run-up to the Games, which take place from July 23 to August 3.

It has a strong relationship with Namibia and is keen people rally behind the country at the Commonwealth Games.

Namibia has less than half the population of Scotland, but covers more than 10 times the area.

Its main exports are diamonds and uranium, but it also has a rich cultural history.

Acclaimed artist John Muafangejo hailed from Namibia and Balmore Trust chairman John Riches has a number of his works - as well as prints by other

artists from the country.

Mr Riches is currently in discussions to show some of the artworks in Milngavie, Kirkintilloch and perhaps a local school.

He said: “The Balmore Trust has a long relationship with Namibia dating back to the early 1980s when Bishop James Kauluma, the General Secretary of

the Namibian Council of Churches at the time - the same role as Desmond Tutu in South Africa - stayed in Balmore on his visit to publicise the

war in the north of Namibia.

“Subsequently we had an exhibition of Namibian arts and crafts which toured four centres in Scotland and northern England.

“I think an exhibition of prints would be an excellent way to celebrate the rich cultural history of Namibia, as well as encouraging people to get behind one of East Dunbartonshire’s ‘second teams’.”

As part of the ‘Support a Second Team’ campaign, East Dunbartonshire will also be backing Jamaica and Norfolk Island.

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie visited the Balmore Coach House to find out more about the links.

She said: “I hope an exhibition can be arranged to showcase the talented artists from Namibia and their works. It would fit in perfectly with the build-up to the 2014 Games as Namibia is one of our ‘second teams’.

“You can really sense the excitement building in East Dunbartonshire as we get closer and closer to the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s going to be a terrific celebration of sport and also a great opportunity for local young people to learn about different places and cultures.

“I look forward to cheering on Namibia - as well as Scotland and our other ‘second teams’, Norfolk Island and Jamaica - when the Games begin.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay is due to arrive in Jamaica on April 5. The partnership with Namibia ties in with the Africa in Motion film festival, which will tell sport stories from around the African Commonwealth.

The programme will include over 15 films, panel discussions and educational workshops. Screenings will take place at cinemas, schools and universities in Scotland this year.