It has been a long road towards recovery for the Ndilimani star, Benjamin Kriyan, known famously as Benny. This, after suffering third degree burns in his shack in Goreangab, Katutura, last June.
Coming from what he believes was meant to end his life, the confident voice and dance moves of Benny evoked emotion in local prominent politicians, including President Pohamba himself. Having risen to fame with songs from and about the struggle for independence, his own was left in shambles on the fateful night his shack went ablaze.
Lying on his hospital bed in the intensive care unit (ICU) where The Villager caught up with him after recovering from a coma, his voice quivered with shock, fear and uncertainty.
“The first time I looked at myself in the mirror, after finally unwrapping my face, I felt shame and shock. I wondered how people would look at me; how they would treat me,” revealed Benny.
When The Villager sat down with him, he would not even allow a photograph of him to be taken in that state.
“I was on the brink of committing suicide. It felt like my only option,” Benny reminisced on what he termed as the darkest chapter of his life.
It was his 57-year-old mother dearest who brought him back from the verge of utter darkness, he submitted. Once depended on her boy as her breadwinner, roles were switched; the Universe was reversing his stages of growth.
“My mother was my rock. She urged me to understand that there are people out there who are paralysed, yet there I lay, alive, moving. I appreciate life more now, for I can still sing and write my own songs.”
But he cannot dwell over that part of his past for too long; “I’m currently working on new music. In fact, I have just come from a recording session with the band. God protected my voice and I have to show appreciation and continue with my purpose.”
His frail eyes lit up behind his lowered dark glasses as he spoke about music.
Benny, who spends most of his time at the house the Ndilimani band built for him at their Brak Water compound, started working on Ndilimani music early this month. Additionally, he is working on his own solo album, which is a project he had started even before the fateful night of 24 June, 2013.
“The title is ‘Hope’, because I survived something that was meant to kill me. I hope to continue doing what I love - music - for so long. I lost many of my possessions in the fire but with my new lease of life, I hope to get most of them back.”
As much as the layer of flesh beneath his skin was severely damaged, making it impossible for him to do something as natural as forming a fist, Benny is relentless.
“My biggest challenge to progress is, the money I now get goes towards my medical bills, leaving me with no savings. The doctor who operated on me promised to return to Namibia from South Africa, together with his Russian doctor friend, to perform a skin transplant as soon as I have the money.”
The skin on Benny’s flesh was barely hanging onto his bones when this journalist visited him.
“After surgery, a lady called Fenny Nanyeni who owns the Three Sisters Mall in Ondangwa paid for a special Phospholipid body lotion for the burns on my skin.”
Asked whether or not he is stage-ready come March 20th, the independence celebrations enthusiast said; “This will be Hifikepunye Pohamba’s last Independence Day as the President, so it will be quite special. We’re working extra hard on new music that will rock the nation that day. As soon as they call us to the stage, I will definitely be the first one there.”
Those who wish to help Benny can do so by calling him on 0816369294.