NAMAs 2019 judges announced

Meet the music authorities, from different parts of the world, who are doing the judging at this year's NAMAs.

14 June 2019 | Art and Entertainment

The biggest night in Namibian music entertainment, the Namibian Annual Music Awards 2019, also known as #NAMA2019, is gaining significant traction ahead of this year's next out-of-this-world spectacular showcase of the best in Namibian music entertainment.

#NAMA2019 is building again on its past successes and stepping it up on all fronts, including the stellar line-up of judges confirmed to assess and score all of this year's entries.

The outcome of these collective scores will determine who will make it onto the list of acclaimed nominees contesting for this year's highly acclaimed trophy as the best in Namibian music within each of the categories.

The esteemed judging panel for this year is once again made up of a very credible and highly acclaimed Namibian panel of judges together with music, entertainment and media executives from South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Jamaica and the USA.

Che Ulenga (Namibia)

Che Ulenga joined Katutura Community Radio in April 2006 with the station's youth show and since has grown to be one of the nation's most sought-after radio personalities. She took the world of radio by storm, acting as a strong voice on Namibia's most prominent radio stations' breakfast shows and as a master of ceremonies (MC) at a string of Namibia's most sophisticated events, both entertainment- and corporate-based.

Since then she has continued gracing the stages of many other showcases by prominent and established Namibian artists, including being the host at events for major African artists, such as Jimmy Kane Roux, Dama do Bling, Black Motion, Busiswa, Trompies, Cassper Nyovest and Paul G. She has also hosted special celebrations such as the 80th birthday celebration of the Founding Father. Chè has hosted international acts Eve, P-Square and Boyz II Men at the annual Windhoek Draught Live Concert including American RnB crooner - Trey Songz - at the MTC Namibia 25th year independence celebrations, and the annual Windhoek Jazz Festival in 2015. She was a nominee of the NAMAs in the Best Radio DJ category (2017) and the Namibian representative at the 9th Advance Media Training Course hosted by the Egyptian Media Training Centre in Cairo, Egypt in October 2017. With qualifications in public relations and marketing from the University of Cape Town, she continues to host corporate, entertainment and private functions. Since 2012, Che daily welcomes the sunrise on 99FM's breakfast show The Ignition from 06:00 to 09:00 and then takes Namibian music to greater heights with 99FM's The Tribe on Fridays from 19:00 to 20:00. This was an initiative created by her to give impetus to Namibian music locally and beyond.

Axali Doeseb (Namibia)

Axali Doeseb is Namibia's first post-independence black conductor of the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra and author of the Namibian National Anthem. The NAMAs recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award has made his mark in contemporary Namibian music industry and to this day he still continues to play a great role in nurturing and advising, and composing music for Namibian society.

Sean Watson (South Africa)

Sean Watson is the managing director of Sony Music Entertainment Pan Africa. Watson is one of the most highly acclaimed music entertainment industry moguls on the African continent and the man behind the global success and careers of a myriad of the biggest names in African music including megastars Wizkid, Davido, Alikiba, Kwesta, Joyous Celebration, Zonke, AKA, Shekhinah, to name a select few. Watson was also the former managing director of CCP Records, director at EMI and former CEO of the South African Music Awards. All of the global Sony Music Group imprints falls under Watson across the African continent including RCA Records, Arista, Columbia, Provident, Sony Masterworks, Legacy Recordings, Century Media, Red Distribution and BMG.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South Africa)

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is an internationally recognised South African singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher. Dubbed the Princess of Africa, Chaka Chaka has been at the forefront of South African popular music for 27 years and has been popular in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.

Songs like I'm Burning Up, Thank You Mr DJ, Motherland and the ever-popular Umqombothi ensured Chaka Chaka's stardom.

The song Umqombothi was featured in the opening scene of the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda. She has performed for Queen Elizabeth II, US president Bill Clinton, South African president Thabo Mbeki and a host of other world leaders. Chaka Chaka is a champion for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and malaria, the United Nations MDG Envoy for Africa, and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

Alma Ulamba (Namibia)

Alma Ulamba comes from a musical family where her foundation started as piano student many years ago. Artistically inclined, she followed that urge by joining the art industry.

Her experience in the industry is versatile since she has been in the corridors of arts as a chairperson of the National Arts Council, and currently she is the head of the National Theatre of Namibia.

As a seasoned judge, she has been with the NAMAs since its inception but took a break for three years. She is back to rock the boat like never before.

Jasmine Dotiwala (United Kingdom)

Jasmine Dotiwala, who studied at Roehampton University in the United Kingdom where she completed a BA Honours degree, is an award-winning trailblazer and key influencer who has gained international acclaim over a career most would just dream about. Dotiwala has worked with talent, moguls and celebrities across the board from breaking new, young talent, to working on groundbreaking and edgy TV programming featuring A-List celebrities including the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, Usher and Mariah Carey. She has interviewed a multitude of rising stars such as Goldie, Mark Morrison, Jean-Claude van Damme and even went record shopping with R&B singer Aaliyah and Jodeci.

Morgan Heritage (USA/Jamaica)

Morgan Heritage, formed in 1994, made its first appearance at Reggae Sun Splash in Jamaica. Morgan Heritage has worked with many reggae bands and DJs, including Capleton, Junior Kelly, Luciano, Gentleman and Beres Hammond. The group's 2015 album Strictly Roots won the Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category in 2016. The band later released the album Avrakedabra, which was nominated for another Grammy in 2018.

Lischen Khachas (Namibia)

Lischen Khachas has been dubbed Namibia's top female DJ. She is a holder of a diploma in sound engineering and music production. Khachas is also a radio personality, an MC, and has been a part of the Namibian music industry for more than 12 years as a DJ, and also behind the scenes. She has worked for Radio Energy 100FM where she started off her career as a commercial DJ in 2010 and also worked for Fresh FM and has vast experience in the broadcast and media industry.

Khachas has also assisted and worked alongside a Grammy Award-winning sound engineer and producer Allen Sanderson in 2013 during the recording of one of Namibia's top rock bands Penilane. Khachas has also released two house singles as a DJ of which one made it to International African Top 10 Charts.

Sammy Forson (Ghana)

Sammy Forson is a Ghanaian award-winning broadcaster with Joy 99.7FM and has over 14 years on air experience, business manager for BET and MTV VGMA award-winning Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie and CEO of both Aspire Music/Entertainment and Evolve by Sammy Forson.

Somoina Kimojino (Kenya)

Managing director at the number-one radio network in Kenya, 98.4 Capital FM and managing director of one of the biggest music, media, entertainment broadcasters and networks in East Africa, Capital Group Ltd East Africa, Kimojino knows the business. Kimojino, for the last 14 years has been at the helm of radio in Kenya as programmes director for Capital FM. She has successfully managed a number of talents and kept the brand innovative and alive as one of the leading stations in the region.

A music enthusiast with a keen eye for talent she has built a great team of noteworthy shows and presenters.

She pioneered and brought the concert culture back to Kenya which has seen the likes of Joe, Johnny Gill, Erykah Badu, Papa Wemba, Freshly Ground, Baaba Maal just to name a few, through Tusker Lite Experience, The Lounge Unplugged and is now the curator of one of Kenya's largest festivals The Koroga Festival. She also launched a talent management company at the end of last year to focus on nurturing upcoming talent.

Sammy Thuo (Kenya)

Thuo has been in the marketing, digital, advertising, and media industries for over 21 years and is the director and co-founder of Saracen OMD - one of East Africa's largest independent media specialist agencies providing world-class media planning and buying services to leading local and international clients across the sub-region. OMD, the global media advertising company of Omnicom in 2003 is arguably the world's largest marketing communications network, with offices in over 80 countries.


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