Big Ben backs motion to put local content first

Big Ben. File photo

Performing artist Venaune Ben Kandukira, widely known as ‘Big Ben’, strongly supports a motion for an urgent debate on the overwhelming presence of foreign music on local radio stations.

This motion was recently tabled in the National Assembly by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lawmaker Inna Hengari.

The motion proposes that local television and radio stations broadcast 80% local content, rather than filling local platforms with foreign content.

Hengari says the move is aimed at growing the local entertainment industry.

Big Ben expressed his appreciation of lawmakers accepting the motion without opposition.

“This demonstrates that whoever sits in that house represents all Namibians and the various aspects of Namibian life and economic activity.

“This is not just Inna Hengari’s motion, it addresses a broader Namibian issue. My appreciation goes to all the politicians in that august house.”

Big Ben says increased airplay of Namibian music would greatly benefit both artists and the industry, highlighting that more radio exposure leads to greater recognition, expanded fan bases and potential revenue growth for artists.

“The industry as a whole can flourish with a thriving local scene, attracting investment, fostering collaboration and strengthening Namibia’s cultural identity.

“Radio stations with formats based on international charts like the American Top 40 can still play local music while maintaining their core,” he says.

Big Ben says playing local music does not negatively affect advertising.

Instead, it makes local content more appealing to a wider audience.

“Namibia’s vibrant music scene deserves a prominent place on radio. This strengthens the national identity and supporting local music keeps money circulating within Namibia’s creative ecosystem,” he says.

He says millions of dollars stay put instead of flowing out.

A thriving creative scene fosters a spillover effect, creating opportunities in related industries, like graphic design, videography and merchandise production, Big Ben says.

Lawyer Kadhila Amoomo last week took to social media, saying: “We are proud of Inna Hengari. A beacon of hope. As the Swapo party goes to its electoral college this year, my hope is that the majority will be young people like Inna to emerge from there. A young ruling party and a young opposition.”

Hengari says her job is to promote and protect Namibian interests at all times.

“How many of our artists are constantly sidelined for gigs, because organisers have to spend hundreds of thousands to fly in foreign artists? How many of our talented artists, whether in music, art, or film, actually get the platforms they deserve to showcase local talent and tell local stories? Pay Namibian artists what is due to them,” she says.

As a lawmaker, she has gone a step further to make recommendations on how to improve existing laws and regulations, she says. –

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