By Fellemon Handuukeme Ndongo
Say you’re going on a trip for a month, driving up and down our beautiful country. What’s the first thing you pack? Music is the first thing that pops to my mind. There is nothing like great music to keep you company on the long roads of Namibia. But how many of us can say that on the many trips we embark on, the music we take with us is local and legal? And when I talk about legal I mean music that is not pirated from our friends or neighbors (think of that wonderful Afrikaans phrase “ het jy nie lekker music daar nie?” translated as “don’t you have nice music?”)
How did you come to have the music you claim to love so much if you don’t own an original copy of it? When last did you actually spend money on your favorite local artist?
I know of people who barely listen to local music and instead indulge in the ever popular music from South Africa (i.e. House music), of the new Nigerian sounds or else music generated by Americans and Europeans. I cannot deny that there are those who crave foreign music. After all it’s almost the only thing we hear on our local radio stations.
This is part of why Namibians don’t actually recognize or support their Namibian musicians. We love to spin a dollar in the Jukebox or perhaps attend a live performance but when it comes to actually purchasing local music we prefer to fill up our smart phones and laptops with stolen music.
Sending each other music, especially locally produced music, as if it was produced for charity, is unfair to the artists. Local artists can speak to us and tell us their stories, which are often our own stories, in their songs. Let’s stop taking the easy way out. Save up and buy that Album, CD or DVD.
The habit of buying originals increases cultural exchange between friends from other countries who always seem to be interested in our music. When they leave we simply load songs on memory sticks or discs forgetting that these same people can actually afford to purchase an original copy. I’m personally guilty of this, and I understand that the convenience of this approach may work for you. But try to do your fellow artist a favour so that they can keep on producing “lekker” music.
Thus far I own only 8 Original CDs produced by the Namibian artists, some of which I got for free simply because I’m a fan and friend. These artists work tirelessly in their studios to create the sounds we love to listen to.
Oshakati Service in Katutura, Wanahenda, is one of the places that sells locally produced music. Drop by and get yourself a copy. Let’s lead by example!