Mbuku fills big shoes

After producing two albums, but failing to generate income, local entertainer Mbuku, whose real name is Sebron Niinyandu, decided to wear oversized shoes to attract fans, and hopefully earn his survival.

07 June 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Social media went abuzz last month when Namibian Sun uploaded a video of a local artist Mbuku performing his Harambee song at a Swapo rally at Ondangwa.

With his half bald/half rasta head and oversized shoes, many on social media described him as a comic musician who just knows how to entertain his fans.

The video was uploaded on Namibian Sun's Facebook page on 11 May and it went viral, attracting over 124 000 views, with roughly 3 000 people liking the video while over 1 600 shared it.

In an interview with tjil, Mbuku said his appearance, dress code and music are all about his survival.

“I produced two top-quality albums but they all failed to generate a living for me. I have also tried many things to market myself but I am not being booked for shows so that I can generate some income. I therefore decided to refresh my identity with a half bald/half rasta head, wear oversized shoes and sing about Harambee so that I can get recognised,” said Mbuku.

“Life is tough and one has to be creative in order to attract people's attention. Things are now getting better because here and there you are invited to perform at small gatherings. For bigger events such as the expos and the trade fairs, I am yet to make it there.”

Mbuku said his foot size is eight, but he ordered himself a size 17 from Germany.

He said life has never been easy for him and has always been about a hard struggle to survive after his father's death in the 1990s.

He was born in and grew up at a village near Elim in the Omusati Region, adding that since childhood, he has been dropping school just to try and eke out a living for his survival, but his guardian made sure he returned to school. However, he could not complete matric.

“I started singing in 1998 when I was a small boy and going to school. I used to make my own music which I used to perform at weddings, pension pay points and other social gatherings in the surrounding areas. People used to give me as little as a dollar for singing. Later my father passed on and surviving was tough for me and that is when I decided to take singing seriously,” said Mbuku.

“Every afternoon I was in the oshanas looking for 'eengeshu', during the rainy season I am catching frogs and when there are gatherings, I am singing. All of this was to generate some income just for my survival.”

Mbuku said that his aunt decided to take him back to school until he passed his grade 10 at Ashipala Secondary School at Elim.

Then she decided to take him to stay with her in Windhoek and get him placed at A. Shipena Secondary School to continue with grade 11, but he dropped out.

He said after dropping out of school he went back to the north and started helping those want to build houses. Later he was he started working as a builder at the Ndilimani Stone Carving.

He said that around 2005 the desire of singing started growing when he started hearing General Mandala Epafu started singing omutyatyahoko, and he was so inspired and wanted to sing so badly, but people advised him to be a dancer.

“In 2011 I met the late Jomolizo and I was inspired by him. Jomolizo also asked me to be his dancer until in 2014 when I asked him to help me become a singer also. He introduced me to Bexleng and I produced my first album, Okulyakandje (my survival),” he said.

“The reaction from the public was good and my boss Ndilimani also assisted me with the album's production. I produced three albums, but due to this and that things could not go well,” said Mbuku.

Mbuku said that he decided to go to Opuwo to learn ovaHimba and the oviritje genre, with the support of Steve Shivolo of Man United Bar in Opuwo.

“I am currently working on my third album, Harambee which I am busy promoting. Often I am doing free performances just to market and promote the song.”

Mbuku said that if he gets assistance he would like to launch a school campaign to give motivational talks to learners. He said that poverty is real and learners need to take the opportunity and their studies seriously to avoid falling into poverty.

ILENI NADNJATO

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