By Victor Angula |
The sprint sensation duo of Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi has made it to the front cover of the MTC Connect Magazine, as the top story for October – December 2021 edition, Volume 7.
And this is the only magazine cover the two stars have so far graced, at least in Namibia.
With a whole population of about 2,6 million, and a huge country stretching more than 824,000 square kilometres Namibia does not have a commercial magazine – or any magazine at all with a national appeal. So that gracing the front cover of the MTC Connect Magazine is all that the two world stars could achieve.
By the standards of the world, being featured on the front cover of a commercial magazine is a dream of many athletes, actors, models, and artists since this signifies the excellence and celebrity status they have achieved in their professional career.
Namibia over the last 20 years has had several magazines which came on the scene only to die within the period of their infancies. Some notable names are such as Shambuka magazine which had in the late 2000s targeted the youth segment;
Prime Focus magazine in the early 2010s targeted the mature readers of social and economic issues;
Insight magazine in the late 2000s to late 2010s targeted the politically and economically conscious readers;
Sportscene magazine in the early 2010s to late 2010s targeted sports enthusiasts;
Gems magazine in the mid-2010s targeted the middle to upper class who rode the decade’s social mobility wave of economic growth;
Simply You Magazine in the late 2010s targeted the fashion enthusiasts.
“All of them died, even the ones which had quite a significantly strong source of funding behind them like the Prime Focus and Insight Namibia. It’s because of the printing costs which are forever increasing, while the reluctance of corporate advertisers persists,” said Mr Dennis Jesaya Hatutale.
Hatutale is the publisher of Otweya magazine, which ironically is a magazine that has been around since the late 1990s and it continues publishing sporadically – or at least once in a year.
Based in the Ongha settlement of Ohangwena Region, somewhere between Oshikango and Ondangwa, Otweya has been publishing articles both in English and Oshikwanyama, targeting the Oshiwambo segment which has been moving with the modern culture but without losing a hold on its tradition.
When contacted for comment, NAMDIA’s public relations officer Ms Beverley Coussement said that while magazines are nice to have in a country they are not really one of the items on the priority list of companies’ marketing budgets.
“Especially with the current situation of Covid-19 corporate companies are looking at putting money in corporate social investments which have immediate impact, like putting food on the table for people in our communities.
“It’s well and great to say I want to start a fashion or sport magazine, but what is the interest from the Namibian people regarding that,” Coussement said, emphasizing that Namibia’s small population is a factor to the failure of the magazine industry.
Namibia has almost one hundred state-owned enterprises and hundreds other big private corporate companies; yet for a country not to afford a magazine, it may come across as an embarrassment.
“From the corporate perspective, yes there might have been a lack of support which we understand, we could have done better, but we can also not support each and every magazine that comes out.
“Corporates also focus on what works better with their brand, how that partnership can create value for both the magazine and the brand,” Coussement maintained.
Meanwhile, even Miss Namibia Chelsi Shikongo will in all likelihood not be featured in any magazine during her reign, unless in a foreign country if she get to get closer to the Miss Universe crown.
In the photo: The front cover of the latest MTC Connect magazine, featuring Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi.