Every year, in January, hundreds of Namibian youngsters make their way to Windhoek in an attempt to realise their dreams whether educational or vocational.
In a story riddled with reminders about the Biblical prodigal son, when one speaks with Isai Sipunga, you would never guess that the articulate and ambitious young man has such a dramatic story to tell.
When at the age of 16, Isai hit the long road to Windhoek he had no idea where he would end up or how his life would turn out.
All he knew was that he had to make it.
After a misunderstanding with his father back home in Tsumeb, the young man went AWOL before sneaking off to the capital city to ‘make a way’. Unlike the prodigal son though, he didn’t ask his father for his inheritance.
The rude awakening beckoned, as he found out that the city is not all it is made up to be.
Real struggles await any young person arriving in the city with the ‘bright lights’, especially when you have no relatives and no place to live and nothing to eat.
“I slept in a store-front one night and I thought, ‘this is not for me’ and that motivated me to do something about my situation,” Sipunga says.
“I had not done very well in my last few years at school, because my concentration was on the streets and making music. Fortunately, I was very talented and had made something of a name for myself in my hometown,” he tells us.
“I managed to enrol in a short course at COTA (College of The Arts) and began to study there, which also afforded me the chance to live in the student accommodation they had. It was not glamorous, but I had a place to lay my head and even though I slept with an empty stomach sometimes, I kept my spirits up and stayed motivated, knowing that there is something that I am working towards.”
Despite the way he left home, Isai worked on mending his relationship with his parents, and they would visit him in Windhoek and “give me a few dollars here and there for food and so on. But I was determined to prove that I had not made the wrong decision in leaving, and that as a man I was able to look after myself.”
After his first year of study, Sipunga got an internship at the national broadcaster and even though he was earning a fairly modest stipend, he felt he was ‘balling’. “You couldn’t tell me nothing, I was the man in these Windhoek streets,” he recalls.
Looking back, Sipunga realises and appreciates how those moments shaped and moulded him.
“I appreciate that I had to go through all that to get through all that. I did it all, good things; bad things; exciting things and sad things, but I have learned from all of it. I have learned that visualising what you want to achieve in life and working hard at manifesting those visualisations. It works; just like prayer, if you will it you can dream it, if you dream it, it will be yours.”
Sipunga currently works as a producer for a local television station and clearly he is excelling at what he is doing. This was recently confirmed when he won the Videography Journalism Award at last year’s Journalism awards.
“For weeks before I won that award, I visualised winning it, and I feel like I brought it to life. It was a great achievement and one I would like to build on, as I continue making my way through this life and achieving every goal, I set for myself.”
The ultimate goal? “I am going to blow the minds of people in this country and all over the world one of these days, man. 48Beerz is my stage name and I want to do music man. My main goal is to promote my music and rock the world.”
With lyrics like “I’m not a regular Joe; all these people know the old me is gone and dead like yesterday,” Sipunga’s newly released single – and music video, once it is done – is sure to make some waves in the music scene.
Listen to 48Beerz’ single “Rock you” on donluafrica, soundcloud or on YouTube.