By Victor Angula |
There was a time when the Namibian music industry got off the ground and became another sector of the Namibian economy.
Music companies were being set up on a monthly basis just as young artists were coming on the scene on a daily basis.
Companies like GMP, Mshasho, Ogopa Butterfly, Yaziza, Welwitschia, Omalaeti, etc., were signing up young artists on a weekly basis, as much as releasing albums on a quarterly basis.
And music awards were not only being dished out to the hot acts by Sanlam/NBC Music Awards (then Namibia Annual Music Awards) but also across the borders by Channel O TV and others.
With the beef between Gazza and The Dogg that lasted as long as the beef between Swapo and RDP, the musical scene kept getting hotter and hotter by the day, for more than a decade, keeping youngsters off the streets and bars as they focused on producing music in studios and on the stages across the country but mostly in Windhoek, Oshakati and Walvis Bay.
In Windhoek’s Katutura Central the Oviritje music gave birth to what came to be known as “Herero Mall”, a bustling inner-city economic hub. While Tate Buti singlehandedly (through his music) created Evelyn Street – a line-up of bars, barbershops/salons and car washes.
But then it started getting cooler and cooler with the economic depression of Namibia which kicked in, although one might believe that it all started with the KORA Awards issue whose dust is yet to settle.
And then Mobile Telecommunications (MTC) announced an end to its association with the music industry. And Covid-19 set in with its hammers and nails on the coffin of what used to be a thriving music industry of Namibia.
A few days ago Manxebe graduated with a teaching qualification from one of the local institutions of high learning. This comes less than a year when Dama Monique graduated with a nursing qualification.
It is because one cannot make a living out of the music industry. Which begs the question why?
The answer is because the writing is on the wall. The end of the road for Namibian music is near.
In the photo: Namibian artist Pandu “Manxebe” Vaino who has studied to become a teacher.