Boli: Domestic workers have better structures than Nam artists

What have you been up to lately?
I have been reinventing myself. Been part of the journey in which we (my crew and I) have had more than ten award shows. Artists are now able to gain recognition and get monetary rewards for their work. My part in all this has been to lobby for local television and radio stations to play local music. We started by doing crappy music videos, now local directors make N$15 000 to N$30 000 for making each decent video.
Your fans get to see a rather wacky and comical, easy-going guy. Are you like that at home as well?
No, home is a different jurisdiction. I’m generally a quite, conservative person. I don’t get all up in children’s faces, because I want to impose my influence upon them. I rather want them to discover themselves in their own way.
Who do you balance that aspect with? I mean, don’t all children need guidance?
I learnt something from their grandfather. He would only tell you off when it was necessary. Most of the time, he would let you learn lessons on your own; that way, you wouldn’t do the mistake again.
What do you make of the local entertainment industry?
We have come a long way. We had to get out of the shadow of South Africa, not just from colonisation but musically as well. But there is still a lot of work to be done. We have to understand the synergy between the creator and the consumer; that’s the music industry. However, we have to realise that many factors are involved with industry issues, such as manufacturing, commerce, production and trade.
Could you clarify that point?
There are artists in Namibia who keep piles of boxes of their unsold CDs from South Africa. We have to realise it is not enough to just have swagger and be good at free-styling. There is the business side to music for which everyone is responsible. For example, it’s only in Namibia where artists have to apply to be nominated for awards. We must be formal. Look at the Maszanga/Araffath issue, for example; it was a simple case of understanding copyright laws. There’s a lot of ignorance about such things. Hence, we still have a long way to go. Domestic workers even have better structures than artists in Namibia.
Who are some of your favourite local artists?
Exit and Qonja. I don’t speak much Oshiwambo but in terms of lyrical content, the two are brilliant. I also love Big Ben and Elemotho who does well internationally. And of course, I’m a Damara Dikding fan because he is the only local producer who has invented his own sound. Everyone else takes existing sounds and then try to reproduce them.
Who were some of your influences while growing up?
My grandfather and many pan-African voices like Thomas Sankara, as well as Peter Tosh. Although I’m not vehemently religious, I would have to say God has always been my biggest influence. People may say what they want but I would rather believe in an illusion that doesn’t exist than in a man who will only disappoint me.
If you could travel back to any historical moment, where would you go?
Back to the mid-90s when local music was still upcoming and we were still trying to find ourselves; trying to break off the influences of the South African sound. I miss those innocent times. Doing shows like Afro Connection; amazing.
What’s the most beautiful city you’ve ever been to?
Ipswich in England. I’m a lover of poetry and the city depicts many of those poetic scenes. For example, there’s an image of a man in a coat, standing in an alley, taking a puff of his cigarette. Compared to London, it’s a small, clean city but is bigger than Windhoek.
What is your favourite movie?
I love conspiracy theory stuff, you know, Illuminati kind of documentaries. I also like anything emotional, intriguing, with spies - James Bond kind of stuff. Awesome.
And your worst?
Steven Seagal movies! Ag! He only has [maybe] three good movies. Otherwise, most of his stuff are dull and predictable. I mean, I have seen the guy get injured only once.
What was your nickname growing up?
Boli. I once acted in a play about single parents in which I was the main actor. It was called ‘Boli and His Happy Family’. From then on, my peers started calling me Boli and it stuck. Even when I’m at the bank and I give my real name, the cashier would be very surprised it is not Boli.
What’s the most embarrassing moment?
In primary school, I once wrote a girl I liked a nice love letter and then asked my ‘chommie’ who was in the same class as she, to pass it on to her but the guy instead submitted it to the teacher. The next morning, during devotion, the teacher read it to the whole class. It was the first time I really came into the public eye and even though it was embarrassing, it propelled me to become an entertainer, because it made people laugh and I did what no other guy could do then.
Do you have any phobias?
Flying and driving. I don’t drive. Even this morning, I had to take a cab, yet I own two cars. I hate being in control in motion and I get quite nervous days before I have to fly.
Which book are you currently reading?
‘I write what I like’ by Steve Biko and ‘Conversations with God’ by Neale Donald Walsch.
What’s next for Boli?
I’m excited about what’s happening at NBC. For a long time, we have told stories from a Government’s point of view but not often from the people’s points of view. Therefore, with the new Digital Terrestrial Television (DDT), there’s potential to do some amazing things. I want to be a key player in it all. People will be able to own television networks and I have plans for a 24-hour music channel in 2015.
In the meantime, check out my shows ‘Night Rider’ on Saturdays at 9pm to 12pm and ‘Frisky Pyjamas’ from 6am to 9am.