Lawmaker encourages more local music on Namibian radio

Inna Hengari

Namibian parliamentarian Inna Hengari has declared her plans to table a motion advocating a shift in the current music landscape on Namibian radio stations, which is saturated with foreign music.

Emphasising the need to prioritise local content, the lawmaker stressed the importance of promoting Namibian artists and preserving the country’s cultural identity.

“Last week, we officially signalled our intent to initiate a parliamentary debate aimed at redressing the prevalent issue of an overwhelming influx of foreign music saturating Namibian airwaves,” Hengari said.

Namibia currently faces a significant economic and cultural challenge, with over 80% of music played on local radio stations originating from foreign sources.

This trend not only leads to a substantial outflow of royaltie, but also hampers the growth and sustainability of the local creative industry.

By prioritising foreign content, opportunities for job creation within Namibia are restricted, exacerbating financial marginalisation among local artists.

“This highlights the pressing necessity for decisive action to bolster the visibility and prominence of local content, drawing inspiration from the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) successful localisation efforts,” Hengari said.

She said she would present the motion for debate in parliament tomorrow, urging its adoption and referral to the relevant parliamentary standing committee.

“The ramifications of this trend extend beyond mere financial losses, impeding the growth and sustainability of our vibrant local creative industry.

“By prioritising foreign content, we restrict opportunities for job creation within our own borders,” Hengari said.

The initiative has received both support and constructive feedback from various stakeholders.

Radio Energy FM DJ Dazzle has acknowledged the progress made in playing local music, with Energy FM currently maintaining an 80% ratio of local music broadcast.

However, he emphasises the importance of maintaining a balance between local and international content to cater to a diverse audience.

“Although we are currently at the 80% ratio of playing local music at Energy FM, which is fair enough, I think for the other 20%, it’s always acceptable for each and every station to have that mixture of international and African songs as well,” Dazzle says.

Musician Big Ben commends Hengari’s efforts.

“Kudos to Inna Hengari for championing the push for more local content on Namibian airwaves. Your commitment to our culture and artists is commendable and long overdue.

“Let’s keep the momentum going for a vibrant and diverse music scene in Namibia!” he says.

Activist George Kambala says: “This is beautiful and highly commendable. My hope is that this bill doesn’t only address the issue of local music getting more airtime, but reforms the entire creative industry.

“Yes, we can and yes, we stand ready to assist. Danko Felende.” –

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