Artists await payment from ‘Sounds of Nam’ initiative

TOUR DAYS … Sound of Nam host Kgosi Makaza (left) and DJ Dreas at one of the Sound of Nam shows that took place last year. Photo: Contributed

The ‘Sounds of Nam’ initiative, launched with the intention of shining a spotlight on Namibian musical talent, is now facing allegations of unpaid contributors and the potential misuse of funds.

Despite an impressive backing of over N$1,1 million from the Sound Connect Fund (SCF), several musicians and service providers involved with the project have not received compensation for their work since November, casting doubt on the project’s management and financial integrity.

Ndemufayo Kaxuxwena, who took over the project’s leadership, offered insight into the initiative’s goals and current predicaments.

“’Sounds of Nam’ was conceived to celebrate and promote the diverse musical talent found within Namibia. It has provided opportunities for a total of 90 artists and service providers, enriching the cultural landscape of Namibia,” Kaxuxwena says.

He highlights the project’s significance in the broader Southern African Development Community region.

Addressing the payment delays, Kaxuxwena acknowledges the issue, expressing regret for the inconvenience caused.

“Yes, some artists have not been paid yet and that’s unfortunate. We sincerely apologise to them and everyone affected by the delayed funds,” he says.

He attributes the delay to the strict monitoring and evaluation processes mandated by the SCF, a challenge Kaxuxwena says is being addressed with urgency.

“This is a donor-funded project and our funders are very serious about capacitating the institutions that they fund. The remaining funds are payable to Free Your Mind, subject to proper monitoring and evaluation reports being submitted, reviewed and approved. We have learned that it’s a very serious process that requires experienced attention, hence the transformation from one project manager to another. We can assure the service providers and artists that their funds will be paid accordingly. Ultimately, Free Your Mind is an arts institution and we are here for the long run. It is important to have the artists and service providers paid,” he says.

However, allegations of financial mismanagement have also surfaced, bringing the stewardship of the project’s substantial funds into question.

Kaxuxwena has firmly denied these allegations, inviting scrutiny of their financial reports and emphasising the project’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

SCF team member and executive director of the Music In Africa website, Eddie Hatitye, weighed in on the funding process and the challenges it entails.

“The funding guidelines of the SCF are publicly available on our website. There are no ill intentions on the part of the organisation in question,” Hatitye says.

He also highlights the common practice of requiring grantees to advance a portion of the funds, acknowledging the difficulties it poses for many organisations.

“I am aware that the organisation in question has been working on solutions… They are very close to unlocking the resources they need to complete their project,” Hatitye says.

Despite these assurances, the affected artists and service providers’ frustrations grow, as they await the compensation promised for their contributions to ‘Sounds of Nam’.

The delay has not only put financial strain on those involved, it has also sparked a broader conversation about the challenges of managing donor-funded projects and ensuring fair treatment for creatives.

As ‘Sounds of Nam’ grapples with these financial and operational challenges, the project’s leadership vows to learn from this experience and implement best practices moving forward.

“Life is hard and business is hard. One thing I can confirm is that this is something that will never happen again. I can tell you that the SCF has helped Free Your Mind manage its resources better. Be it human, financial, or assets. We have truly learned a lot from the project and look forward to implementing best practices,” says Kaxuxwena.

The project’s ability to resolve these issues and restore trust among its contributors will be crucial in determining its future impact on Namibia’s cultural scene and its role in promoting Namibian talent within the SADC region. –

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News