Jackson Kaujeua: A legend gets recognised

01 July 2014 | Art and Entertainment

South Africa had Miriam Makeba, Zimbabwe has Oliver Mtkudzi and Namibia had Jackson Kaujeua. Jackson, who was a composer and singer, was a legend whose music carried the spirit of the nation before and after independence. He enjoyed longevity like no other artist. That’s why Namibia went into deep mourning when Jackson passed away on May 27, 2010, at the age of 57. Four years after his death, Jackson will be honoured with a street name in Windhoek. Last week, the City of Windhoek approved a recommendation to name a street after the celebrated musician. The City of Windhoek has decided to rename Storch Street in Windhoek West after Jackson. That particular suburb has names that pay tribute to music legends such as the composer of the Namibian national anthem, Axali Doeseb, and classical composers Mozart and Puccini. Jackson the legend Jackson was born Jackson Muningandu Kaujeua, at !Huns, a village near Keetmanshoop in the //Karas Region. Later, he gave up theological studies at the Otjimbingwe mission school after having discovered the songs of gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson, whose human rights-related lyrics inspired him. In 1973, he started studying music at the Dorkay Art & Music College for Talented Non-Whites in South Africa. However, he was soon expelled from the country for anti-apartheid activism, and went into exile in 1974. After a short time in Botswana, Swapo helped him to move to the UK, where he soon became the lead singer of the group Black Diamond. International success followed with songs such as ‘Winds of Change’. Having lived as a teacher in an Angolan refugee camp from 1979 to the early ‘80s and later in Sweden, he returned to Namibia before independence in 1990, where he celebrated great success with his music, especially with the hit song ‘!Gnubu!Nubus’. In the late 1990s, he was still one of the best-known Namibian musicians. Nascam Chief Executive Officer John Max has hailed the decision to honour Jackson and described him as a torchbearer of Namibian music. “Jackson is a pioneer of local music. The street naming is an indication that we value those who dedicated their lives to the arts,” he said. Max said Jackson created hits that gave Namibian music an identity. He said he applied to the city council to rename the street after Jackson because the singer was one of the first members of Nascam and continues to inspire many local musicians. Singer Esme paid tribute to Jackson last month when she perform his song ‘!Gnubu!Nubus’ at the World Music Day celebrations. She told tjil that honouring Jackson with a street name is a victory not just for Jackson but for the many musicians he inspired. “I personally admire how he could attract all tribes and different groups in their language. He truly was a legend and we should do all we can to ensure that his legacy lives on and that he next generations will know about this great man,” she said. WINDHOEK GORDON JOSEPH

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