Luis Munana - Namibia's pride and joy

Real recognise Zuriel

05 July 2019 | Art and Entertainment

When you are well-travelled, talked about in Forbes magazine, have perfected the art of storytelling through television shows, and have a base of international fans, where would you position yourself as a creative? The answer is simple. You have the world in the palm of your hand. The globe is your canvas.

On his reaction when he learned that he was part of Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 class of 2019, Munana expressed that it was unbelievable and he was a bit taken aback. “I thought someone was pranking me, it was really unexpected. I could not believe it,” he said.

The Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 is the most anticipated list of the game-changers on the continent. “This year, we bring you 120 of Africa's brightest achievers. For the first time, four categories featuring 30 in each; business, technology, creatives and sport,” read a caption from Forbes Africa's official Instagram page.

For Munana, the acknowledgement comes with pressure. However, he maintains that it is not bad pressure but the good kind - the type of pressure that motivates him to continue working harder. He added that being on the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list comes with expectations and projections that one needs to accomplish by a certain, stipulated time.

“Those expectations have now been placed on me. I now have to start working harder. It feels like I am going to start a new chapter of my life. It is like I had a fire burning and someone added fuel to that fire; I have more reason to challenge myself now” added Munana.

He attributes all of his business ventures in the entertainment arena for propelling him into this position. He however singled out his current project - Waka Waka Moo television series - as the main project that earned him recognition from Forbes.

“They did state that it is a collection or a combination of all the projects I have done but the one that stood out is the current project which is Waka Waka Moo the TV show, as well as the road show in various languages.

“That is the one thing that really propelled me into this position because not only is it aired in Namibia but also in other African countries, Europe and the United States,” shared Munana.

He mentioned that it took a lot of hard work, sacrifices, using personal funds, a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of convincing to get to this point. Munana upholds that it is not something that just happened overnight, stating that it is something that has been happening over a period of years, and eventually earned him a spot on the coveted list. His aspirations and dreams now are to one day see a Waka Waka Moo movie on the same level as the Lion King, Minions and so forth. “I would like to have that global reach in terms of the audience the Waka Waka Moo content reaches,” said Munana.

Munana's secret to longevity in the entertainment scene has been staying true to himself and reminding himself to not strive to fit in but rather run his own race at his own pace. “I am in control of my brand as I do not do things because someone wants me to do them, but I do what makes me happy.

“I stay in my own lane and run my own race without having to compete with anyone because there is only one Luis Munana and having this mentality helps me keep focused on things that matters and grow me as a person,” he shared.

Speaking on his Waka Waka Moo initiative, Munana admitted that creating content for Waka Waka Moo has not been easy as he comes from an accounting, fashion and entertainment background which has nothing to do with animation and kids. He admitted that it was quite a challenge because the project compelled him to learn new skills, do intensive research and adapt to a new creative environment. “It was new for me. It was like learning how to drive a car or ride a bike. It strengthened my humility because I had to ask people to do certain things for me that I cannot do, a lot of begging, and a lot of corrections,” said Munana. Waka Waka Moo is an animation show, which is intended for children from the ages of four to 12 and features Namibia's media personalities.

The show is aimed at preserving the Namibian story by making it fun and exciting.

Hinting on his next project, Munana said he does not want to give away too much information at this point but shared that his followers will finally know what he means when he uses the #Zuriel on his social media posts.

“People have been seeing the hashtag on all my posts on social media and they have been wondering what the hashtag means. So my next project will be #Zuriel.

“I do not want to say what it is now but I believe I created an impression in people's minds that there is this thing called #Zuriel so that is going to be my next project,” he shared.

Summing up the conversation with tjil, the model and all-round creative said the legacy he would like to leave behind involves changing people's lives and creating something that will live forever. He said he wants to die knowing that he changed at least one person's life and he changed perceptions of people.

“For me, it is about creating something that wasn't there before.

“Ideally, I would say my mission is complete if there is something that someone can look at and say that is there because of Luis Munana. That will make me happy and I believe I have done that now so on to the next project,” he said.

MICHAEL KAYUNDE