Compared to other local music genre artists, a large number of Oviritje artists do not have proper educational backgrounds.
Oviritje music is predominantly Herero and it is fast growing as a local music genre. The allure of popularity and benefits that come with it has led a lot of Ovaherero youngsters into dropping out of school to pursue what, in most cases, is a wild goose chase.
The Villager understands some top Oviritje artists do not even have a Grade 10 certificate.
Top Oviritje artists like Diop, Mutjangatjike and Rax, to mention but a few, have all not gone past Grade 10 and are known to have very poor command in English.
Ongoro Nomundu’s Vekupahera Eto’o Makono (19), for example, joined the popular group at just nine years old.
Like Diop, Eto’o whose solo artist status was cemented by his song ‘Onderera yovaherero’, dropped out of Grade 10 and has been pursuing a music career since.
“Compared to being in school, it felt great doing music because it was my form of liberation from everyday worries,” says Eto’o.
Formerly with the Oviritje group, Upambians, Mutjangatjike has been reigning as one of the top Oviritje solo artists in the past few years. He admits to not having had interest in education.
“Music has always been part of me. Thus, most of my attention was fixed on my music, not school,” says Mutjangatjike.
Wild Dogs’ former member, Rax, says he left school in Grade 6 because his grandparents who raised him could no longer afford to pay his school fees.
Says Rax; “God gave me a musical talent, which I am good at. Fortunately for me, I am not only stuck on music, I do other things to earn an income like working as a boiler maker.”
Ondarata manager and businessman, Eliphas Kahorere, says many Oviritje artists do not take education seriously.
“This is because some of these artists allow fame to get the better of them while others, after failing Grade 10, simply drop out of school altogether,” says Kahorere.
Sharing the same sentiments is NBC radio Otjiherero service’s Max-T Tjiundje. Since he has been on the forefront of promoting Oviritje music for so long, Max-T attributes this state of affairs to the fact that many grew up in rural areas.
“People sing a lot at village level and being popular was their main focus growing up, not getting an education. One either had to be popular in sports or music,” says Max-T.
He adds, many Oviritje musical careers have been short-lived due to lack of education. But even in music, education is considered important as it propels artists to greater things in their careers.
“Since many cannot speak proper English, Oviritje artists will never be seen on TV for interviews or heard on other commercial radio stations because they cannot express themselves. Most of them concentrate more on having fun than improving their education,” quips Max-T.
But not all Oviritje artists are uneducated. The likes of Vatuko Kuami, Karabo and former Bullet lead singer, Kanjai Kakoto, have high school certificates while very few have gone beyond Grade 12.