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Edutainment mix: edutainment mix

The globe is celebrating Christmas, which remains a very much loved festivity when the the birth of Jesus Christ is commemorated. It is a time when we get to listen to Christmas carols, and some artists have actually composed Christmas song.

During the festivities people enjoy the tantalising goodies and also exchange gifts. The season of Christmas is associated with charity, spreading joy and also spending time with family and friends.

The arts sector also thrives during the Christmas and New Year festivities, as they have an impact on drama, dance shows, songs and carols, while some artists also thrive on handmade Christmas tree decorations and Christmas cards. It is of essence to highlight that this level of artistry is influenced by the history of Christmas.

As an artist I am fascinated by iconography which dominates the Christmas season as it is a religiously influenced festival. With a strong Christian background; I have had the privilege of working with kids in the past years by curating the Christmas play and also decorating the nativity scene at our church.

 The nativity scene, for example, is something that depicts the image of Jesus lying on a manger surrounded by the different characters in his birth story; such as Mary, Joseph, the Magi (three wise men) and the shepherds, which help in the reminiscence of the Christmas time.

The arts sector remains a powerful way in which we can enjoy the festive celebrations, through songs, shows, and films depicting the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit. The colourful nature of Christmas brings about a spirit of positivity and conjures festivity.

The manifestation of Christmas is that of peace, love and harmony which is a central message that artists in a great many cases resonate witch in their different artworks. The very image of Christ manifesting as a child on earth is the portrayal of innocence which every child embodies and also the peace and joy that comes with having a newly born baby.

“Peace on earth” is a phrase we see everywhere around Christmas time. For many of us, we have to wonder where that peace is as the world we are living in currently is in a state of disarray. Whether we are trying to find peace in the chaos of our own lives or we are trying to wrap our heads around hope for political peace, “peace on earth” certainly seems elusive.

“Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled,” is a line in a Christmas carol that gives a picture of Jesus as God’s gift of peace to us. “Shalom” is a Hebrew word that signifies “peace” or “more than well.” Jesus was the perfect example of “Shalom” lived out. He demonstrated the kind of peace we all long for. Being the Son of God, Jesus was at complete peace and unity with God. Hence, we should be engraved in the deeper message of the promotion of peace as we celebrate Christmas. This means peace from within oneself also extending to the household, the wider community and the nation as a whole.  Christmas time therefore gives artists an opportune time to come up with artworks that preach world peace.

Christmas is a time for giving. This often extends beyond friends and family to charity donations. Many charities run specific Christmas appeals and there is evidence that people give more at Christmas, compared to during the rest of the year. A critical thought is the case of Ingutsheni Hospital that houses patients with mental health disorders which has run out of food. That is a call for everyone to lend a helping hand and give what they can to help the patients and the staff at the institution. This is also something that can stretch to those housed in institutions such as children’s homes, old age homes and prisons where people under institutional care need the extra company, care and compassion.

Artists can also be of help by going to these places and offering entertainment which can have a therapeutic effect. Artists by virtue of their influence can also play a role in the different fund raising initiatives that can help in the raising of funds to help the marginalised groups within the community.

Food and drink are likely to be especially prominent at Christmas, a time of overindulgence. This tradition to “eat, drink and be merry” could lead to feelings of over excitement which can also lead to accidents or death. Caution should be put across to the need for those travelling especially drivers, to be aware so as to reduce the precedence of accidents. There is the challenge with regard to the increase of drunk driving which remains the aggravator of road traffic accidents especially during the Christmas period.

Artists have an important role as edutainers to inform the public on the importance of safety on the roads and also the need to avoid drinking and driving. This also has to be coupled with drug awareness which is a factor affecting especially the youth as it is in the time of Christmas that many indulge in drug induced behavior which in a great many times also pre-exposes the girl child to the vulnerability of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The excitement of Christmas can also lead to immorality, vandalism and violence which in a great many cases contributes to the disruption of the social order. It thus becomes imperative for artists to use their influence to call for good conduct and understanding of the true meaning of Christmas among the citizens.

Well, I also feel I have to address the “January disease” because Christmas is that time when we tend to overspend leaving many in debt and crisis. We are now living in a highly consumerised society which has seen the culture of art being swallowed by consumeristic tendency.

We should remember that Christmas is no longer a Christian holiday anymore as people are now encouraged to splash their money on presents, food and decorations so as to ensure that people have the best Christmas. Adverts have been influential with their “Xmass” specials; while art influences the consumerism with the picturesque adverts enticing the customer.

I would advise moderation in being lavish as the economic crisis is also calling us to be wise and save and really be goal oriented than waste money on a feast that occurs once a year for a few hours. The January disease is thus something self-inflicted because of unnecessary euphoria which leads to over spending.  

I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season filled with joy and excitement and awareness of the importance of peace, love and harmony.

Raymond Millagre Langa is a musician, poet, orator, writer and founder of Indebo Edutainment Trust.  On Facebook, Instagram follow Raymond @Millagre Ray L.  Email indeboedutainmenttrust@gmail.com and millagrepapaito@gmail.com

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