Shihepo dances his way out of povertyBy: SELMA SHIPANGA
IN a country of more than two million people where everyone is trying to carve out a living for themselves, 20-year-old Benjamin Shihepo has found a niche within the dancing industry to get paid.
The young adult brought Katutura’s Eveline Street to a standstill yesterday with his captivating kwasa-kwasa dance moves which he expertly executes, dressed in a costume consisting of spectacle frames without lenses, a black hat and some pillows stuffed into his trousers and jacket.
“I failed Grade 10 and came to Windhoek from a village called Eloolo in the Oshikoto Region about seven months ago. I’ve been dancing since 2009 and decided to make this my business. I generate sufficient income from my dancing which enables me to care for myself and two other people with whom I stay in a shack in the Ongulumbashe informal settlement. I pay for everything in our house because the other two people I stay with don’t work,” he said.
In order to stand out, Shihepo, who goes by the stage name ‘Tala Nawa Waakatye Vati’ which is translated in English as ‘look carefully so that you don’t go say apparently’, has a unique dancing outfit.
“I stuff my dancing pants with pillows to give me more rounder and bigger hips and also to help enhance my dancing. I also stuff my jacket with pillows to make my chest a bit bigger. The reason is really just to enhance my dancing moves to ensure I give my customers a performance that is worthy of their money,” he said.
Asked how much he makes from his dancing per month, Shihepo said just last weekend alone, he made N$1 700 from dancing for people at events.
When The Namibian caught up with Shihepo briefly yesterday, he was dancing in front of a group more than 50 people who had gathered to watch him dance at Okave Bar, among them schoolchildren.
“We have to do what we can to make a living for ourselves. I encourage other young people out there to stand up and do something for themselves,” he said.
Namibia’s unemployment rate is reported at more than 50%.
To book Shihepo for a dancing performance, contact him on 081 762 9618.