Local creators call for support amid financial struggles, lack of recognition

For years, Namibian creators have yearned for support and recognition after pouring their hearts and souls into their craft. However, their hopes have been overshadowed by institutions that invest heavily in international artists. Despite these challenges, Namibian artists continue to give their all in the pursuit of creative excellence.

Award nominee artist MSunday Ndjukuma takes us through the process of creating a song, highlighting the financial burdens and support for collaborative fields.

“When I compose a song, I go to a music producer and pay him/her for the beat, recording, mix and mastering of the song,” he says.

This is just the beginning, as he still needs to pay for new clothes to promote the project, as well as a photographer to capture the images to accompany his music.

“I take that photo to the graphic designer, pay him to add info on that photo. Then I take that art cover to the videographer. I pay him to attach the audio on it,” he says.

When shooting a music video, Ndjukuma pays the videographer and a team which includes a make-up artist, scriptwriter and directors.

“If I’m paying more than five different businesses to release one song, that shows that we as citizens can create employment in the country by supporting local, by growing each other.”

Ndjukuma also points out the lack of support from the government and private sector for artists and local creators.

“We need at least three different awards shows in Namibia, but even those who benefit more from the industry don’t want to come on board. Especially companies that sell alcohol are supposed to invest and grow the creative industry, as music and alcohol are connected. You will never find a club or bar without music.”

He urges Namibians to learn from countries that prioritise the support of local talent and industries, emphasising that a country can only grow if its citizens support each other.

Art director, production designer and fashion stylist Nahenda Matheus says local content creators create a sense of belonging.

“It is always good to see content by Namibians for Namibians. This creates a sense of belonging and the young generation can be inspired because a local creator has done something that they can also do.”

Matheus also urges for support beyond financial means.

“Sometimes you don’t need money to support individuals. Let’s please share, like and just popularise our local content instead of copying and sort of looking at the Western world.”

She says the main issue that most creators have in Namibia is a lack of financial funding and support from local institutions, which leads to most ideas dying in conversations.

“We don’t have a lot of opportunities for funding, whether it’s corporate, private institutions or the government. It’s such a struggle for you to have a good idea, whether it’s a performance show or an individual campaign, but you don’t have funds for it. It’s hard to get companies on board because companies do not understand the effects of digital marketing and online influence,” she says.

Matheus also criticises the practice of some big brands expecting free work from creators and emphasises the need for diversity in collaborations.

“There’s a lack of diversifying local creators because of favouritism. Brands tend to work only with a few selected artists all the time. You cannot bring in the same person for more than three campaigns, at least diversify and find new people. We have a lot of creatives in the country instead of recycling the same people over and over again.”

She stresses the need for easier systems and opportunities for creators, including fair taxation policies for fashion creators importing goods.

Matheus says there’s a need for institutions to engage in dialogue with creators to mutually benefit each other and create a conducive environment for creativity to flourish in Namibia.

Multimedia production manager Mathilde Shivute says by supporting creatives, individuals help nurture a thriving arts culture.

“This support provides local creatives with recognition, encouragement and financial backing, enabling us to continue pursuing our passions and producing new and innovative work. When individuals support local creatives, they are helping to boost the local economy. This support can lead to increased opportunities for collaboration, job creation and the growth of cultural tourism.”

Shivute says Namibia has a rich artistic heritage and the visual arts sector could use more promotion and investment to support emerging and established artists.

She says establishing more art galleries, artist residencies and public art projects can help showcase local talent and provide artists with opportunities for growth and recognition.

“By investing in film studios, training programmes and film festivals, we can attract more international productions to the country and support local film-makers in telling Namibian stories on a global stage. Providing more support for music education, recording studios, live performance venues and music festivals can help nurture the next generation of musical talent and promote Namibian music both locally and internationally,” says Shivute. – unWrap.online

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