Back to consciousness

18 April 2019 | Columns

What's up music fans? Firstly, shout-out to you guys for keeping the culture alive; your support for Namibian arts and entertainment in recent years is impressive. I was having a conversation with one of the biggest new artists in Namibia last week and that dialogue really left me thinking. I won't mention his name but he was telling me how happy he is of how Namibia's music and entertainment industry keeps growing and there is room for new talent to flourish, in his words: “It is no longer just The Dogg and Gazza anymore, we are all eating.”

I think it is great that music in Namibia is doing well financially for a number of artists. It is great that they are able to afford these lavish lifestyles. But here is the ugly truth: the living conditions of the average Namibian person has not changed. Not one bit! It is still informal settlements and villages everywhere, and a lack of infrastructure in many parts of Namibia, despite what they try to make us believe. This is where our modern-day Namibian music is supposed to play its part as the voice of the oppressed, instead of always making music for the dance floors and the good turnout.

It is time Namibian music gets back to reality, which for most of us hardship and hustle. In Namibia and abroad, there are conversations everywhere emanating from this; music needs to be behind these causes. Social injustices are all around us: low wages, a struggling economy, innocent women being slain at the hands of men who are supposed to be their protectors, and corruption; it is disturbing. I do not want to turn my column into a political forum, but I believe that music should be a reflection of life and at the moment the reality is that the real consumer is not being represented enough in the music we hear. Big ups to every artist who dares to oppose the system when it fails to protect and deliver, but we need more artists who will make music that addresses the social injustices that Namibia as a country is swimming in.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't the kind of person who thinks about legacy. I am not really a great planner; I let creativity be my compass. But I am not the kind of guy who can just live in the moment either. At least once a day I see or hear something, usually completely normal, which catapults my thoughts into thinking about the impact our generation will leave. It sucks that music with substance does not sell well and because of this, there is an imbalance in the content of Namibian music that we hear. Artists are driven by the will to have a hit rather than impacting lives and making music that will shift the culture. Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that ignored their problems and did not use various art forms to address social issues they were faced with?

I trust you enjoy this edition and happy Easter holiday.

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