Namibian artists catch a lot of flack for spending their earnings on booze, cars and all the expected luxuries associated with the lifestyles of stars, however many local artists have been taking to the trends of international stars by giving back to their communities in big and small ways.
Although many have questioned whether these are publicity stunts by artists hell bound on scooping the recently introduced award at the country’s flagship social event, the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), which is awarded for social responsibility.
Artists and groups such as Paradox have been giving back to schools, funding children from less fortunate backgrounds and paying for their school uniforms and all needed stationary.
“Last year we picked a family from Okahandja Park informal settlement and gave them food. This is something we do all the time” said Paradox’s Cassidy. Another artist who has given generously to a disadvantaged family is songstress Adora. Last year Adora had a community outreach program that saw the proceeds benefiting a disabled woman who was raising her orphaned grandchildren in Eveline Street after her daughter’s death.
“I’m not just involved in one project. Very often I perform for free at concerts that benefit the community. I also do school outreach in the towns were I’m touring. I go to these schools and just talk to the kids and encourage them” said Adora.
Another artist giving back is Gazza, who was given a certificate for his efforts and works with the SOS children’s village. “When I give back I don’t do it for publicity, so I never involve the media. Most of what I’ve done, I do when I’m working. When I’m in a town and I see something I feel I can do something about, then I do it” said Gazza.
Gazza went on to add that once or twice a month he buys food or blankets and gives them to those in need.
The northern regions of Namibia have Kwaito artist Blacksheep and gospel artist Dnaff looking out for their disadvantaged with their respective projects.
Blacksheep last year held a charity event titled “Christmas in October” that was aimed at feeding children in the Ongwediva area. Having solely come up with the idea the artist expected a turnout of just under 150 children but instead had a turnout of 200 plus.
“The event was held at the Multi-Purpose Centre and what we did was I had a few artists come out give a performance for the kids. We also cooked for them and gave out presents” said Blacksheep.
Despite a lack of corporate funding the artist was able to make it a success and looks forward to make this event a yearly one.
Dnaff on the other hand has been helping the community for years having been nominated as most socially responsible artist at the NAMA awards a couple of times.
The artist has given a helping hand, not just to the John Doe on the street but also to upcoming artist who he has helped pay for studio time and video production. One artist to benefit from this was NAMA award nominated Christmas.
“What we usually do is we look in the media for stories of people suffering and we go to them and see what it is we can do for them. This year we will also be going to the Omusati Region, where I am from, to go look for people in need so we can also help them” said Dnaff.
He also went on to add that he has been able to pay school fees for a student that is currently in his third year at the Namibian University of Science and Technology. He also paid plane tickets for parents who came to see their kids at their graduations.
“Artists who don’t give back to their communities are very few and that is just a form of selfishness and greed” said Dnaff.
Most renowned for his philanthropic works is former DRC settlement resident Kalux. Having made a name for himself in the music industry, Kalux has stepped up and gives back to his community with an annual show featuring the who’s who of the industry joining him on stage to give a free performance to fans in his home town of Otjiwarongo.
“What we do is give out food and clothing. I also do outreaches at schools were I go talk to children and I encourage them to study. So far I have done this in places such as Usakos, Karibib and of cause my home town, Otjiwarongo” said Kalux.
Although artists are stepping up and looking out to their communities more can be done not just by artists but by the corporate community that sponsors them. (The claims of the artists could not be independently verified by The Villager)