30 October 2020 | Art and Entertainment
Although the blues singer Riaan Smit exchanged his motherland for South Africa at the age of 15, he found himself in Namibia again in 2020 and "could not be happier" with this move.
He started performing in bands at the age of 12 and after wandering between groups for a few years, he formed his own band called Crimson House.
Initially, the pandemic brought his career to a standstill. "
At the time of the outbreak, I was living in the Caribbean with the prospect of numerous concerts and a fully booked tour of the USA. It was scary at first.
"Either way, I had to get creative with how I do things as an artist. I started helping other artists with their development. It reminded me to never become too comfortable and complacent,” he said.
"I am very excited to perform at the tourism expo, as it will really help me to establish myself as a Namibian artist. “Although I was born here and have visited the country regularly over the years, many fans see me as a South African artist. I identify as a proud Namibian and hope that as a local artist at the expo I can establish my status as a Namibian singer,” he said.
Smit added he has experienced how tourists travel from every corner of the globe to hear a specific artist in their own city.
“Music is a big part of culture and can transcend cultural experiences; it is a language that transcends all boundaries and is spoken everywhere.
"Namibians are incredible people with so much to offer - from our art, our music, our food and our great atmosphere. Entertainment and tourism must be linked as closely as possible to make the most of the Namibian experience, he said.
Apart from the landscapes, wildlife and freedom, it is the people who make the country special, Smit said.
"I hope we can learn from this pandemic that we have to support each other locally. The tourism industry has relied so much on international travel worldwide. I am often sad when I see that any place becomes inaccessible to its own people.
“I hope we will see a shift towards more local support, and once tourism returns fully, we must not forget that the world can close again at any time. We need to take care of each other; that is how we will survive this pandemic.”