If you have been a follower of Namibian music over the past 20 years and don’t get excited about the sheer brilliance this country has produced, then you haven’t been listening to music. Walvis Bay, the Namibian coastal town played host to the 7th Namibian Annual Music Awards over the past weekend. This year the NAMAs was a blend of the old and the new leaving one with memoirs of a night filled with highlights and lowlights to accompany the star-studded event!
Beyond a doubt, Gazza is the crème of the crop of this year’s NAMAs. Not only did he bag a total of four awards which includes Best Album of the Year, Best Collaboration and Male Artist of the Year but he was also given special recognition for his contribution to the Namibian music industry. And if you skipped the math in reference to the price monies, Gazza collected N$ 210 000 in two days. So music does pay.
Off to a flying start too was ‘new kid on the block’ Monique English, who walked away with one of the most coveted awards of the night. Her ‘Since 1994’ hit ensured that she snatched the Female Artist of The Year. Her biography records one album, two singles, numerous curtain raisers for big artists and if age counts, she is just 22. She also became N$100 000 richer on the last night of the awards. We hope she doesn’t pull a Linda or Ann Singer on the art form.
Young T also beat some fierce competitors to take home the Best Song of the Year and Best Kwaito awards. Although this was his first ever award ceremony, Young T was nowhere to be seen at the NAMAs. The artist has in the past criticised the awards for not recognizing his talent. We hope he continues doing good music.
Other winners worth mentioning were Oteya, walking away with the Best Soukous/Kwasa and Best Music Video awards adding to her collection of accolades while Jaleel was named the Best Newcomer. Sally Boss Madam was given kudos as Best Single and Best Radio song for her ‘Natural’ smash hit. Many say this was a long time coming considering the artist being recognized outside the country last year.
Maranatha proved to be a crest of the wave by scooping both awards in the categories where she was nominated. The Namibian Dessert Queen did not manage to secure a seat at the table succumbing to loss in all categories in which she was nominated. We hope she lives to fight another day and doesn’t follow in the footsteps of history’s bitter losers.
Adora brought back memories of Exit when she failed to scoop a single award from her seven nominations. Nevertheless she was consoled with the Most Disciplined Artist award and gave a splendid acceptance speech. The old newcomer, dressed in a very youthful dress delivered a stunning performance though. And oh yes, Sunny Boy is still doing music but it just was not his night.
Jericho also made a huge comeback when he won the Best Hip/Hop award leaving the audience with questions. “I messed up a lot of times but I am back and I am going to be a good example to the young ones,” he said during his acceptance speech.
Having been ahead of the nominees pack, Bradley Anthony was close but no cigar for scooping only two awards from his eight nominations. Meanwhile, the dices were loaded for Diop this year as he finally walked away with the Best Oviritje after six years of being nominated. Good things come to those who wait perhaps.
On another note Elemotho was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the Namibian music industry; something different as this award was previously awarded to the late musicians. The legendary elder delivered a stunning performance, proving why he is in a league of his own.
This year saw a lot of fresh talent scooping awards at the NAMAs. Only a year old in the journalism industry June Shimuoshili clinched the Best Entertainment Journalist of the Year award while Lukas Nambala who haven’t been in the industry for long walked away with the Best Radio DJ award, elbowing established names like DJ Maldini, Che Ulenga, Nashawn and Jan de Waal. Sam-E Lee Jones also walked away with the Best Producer kudos to his work on Gazza’s Pumumu album.
The South African queen who never ceases to sizzle, Bonang Matheba alongside the captain like dressed Mappz Kapofi and Uejaa Kazondunge worked their magic on stage and proved that they were the presenting trio that the NAMAs have been waiting for. Joe Mulisa and El-Shaddai Aluteni also brought a one-two star punch to the Industry Awards Night on Friday.
The performances on the night were brilliant with Sally who managed to get the crowd hype during her opening performance of ‘Natural.’ Lady May got the crowd hyped as she performed in an all-black costume while Adora proved she still had it with her performance of ‘Chocolate’. Praise and worship songstresses Maranatha and Rebecca Malope shared the stage to deliver a heartfelt performance bringing a gospel sensation to the show. This was another living testimony of just how Namibian artists can stand the same waves on the stage with past and present celebrated artists.
And if anyone felt disappointed, Michael Pulse who scooped the Best RnB award came to the stage to sooth their blues away.
And then Mr GMP Otaikalela hit the stage ! Fuelled with fire and flames ! With a starter of Suzy Eises’ saxophone performance, Gazza brought the house down when he gave an extravagant performance on his ‘Swagger’ song bringing out his moon walk talent, displaying his love for Michael Jackson’s moves. The ‘Pumumu’ hit maker could do no wrong performing alongside South Africa’s Saudi and Emtee to deliver a slice of sheer entertainment dynamite which left the audience yearning for more.
With flashback performances having become a part of the NAMAs following the performances by Gazza and The Dogg as well as Gal Level over the past two years, this year was no exception with Raphael and Pele taking on stage to perform to their greatest hits. This flashback unfortunately seemed not to have amazed the audience as they expected. Some say it sounded more like the days of Afro Connection.
The 7th annual NAMAs added a fashion component that saw starlets prancing down the carpet in pretty frocks by the likes of Ruberto Scholtz, Eneas Ngiponoka, Melissa Poulton to mention but a few. It seemed that the hottest attention-grabbing accessory this year was the visible killer pair of heels. The cold in the coastal town was surely not reason enough to spoil the fun everybody brought their A-game to the event.
From the number of blue carpet outfit faux pas to the award presenters clearly reading from the teleprompter and the industry awards stage set up, the night certainly had its fair share of cringe worthy moments.
At certain points presenters made their way to the stage with no sound on the microphones. Some award presenters seemed not to be well prepared due to the constant stumbling and stammering as they presented.
Audience also lashed the organisers with their disappointment on the Industry Awards night’s stage set up saying that it didn’t give enough space to the performers and compared it to a high school beauty pageant stage. Most people expressed that the Friday night was a rehearsal, rather.
Like the time The Dogg called on the public to vote for Swapo during his acceptance speech, the most hilarious moment of the night belongs to Gazza who couldn’t help but remember his grandfather who passed away because he was beaten too many times during the liberation struggle. For him that is where the NAMAs started. T-Boss and Staika who scooped the Best Damara Punch award also left the crowd giggling as they compared their win to a PhD. They said they didn’t need a degree or a Masters.
The post reactions on the NAMAs fashion rage saw the social media come up with a “who wore it best?” moment. What might be nightmare played out when it appeared that the dress worn by Bonang was the same dress worn by Tjuna, Nangweezy and Pombili at previous events. The dress was apparently made by the not-so-exclusive designer Ruberto Scholtz. The following day, it is alleged that the designed delinked himself from ever producing the beautiful dress.
The 2017 Namibian Annual Music awards weren’t bad, there were only a few sloppy blunders which makes it safe for a show that is not yet a decade into existence. Considering that the NAMAs aired live on Trace this year it is surely on the right track to becoming one of Africa’s grand music awards ceremonies. As we wait on the next NAMAs let’s hope for the best!