Van Wyk calls for support for musicians

Namibian musicians have welcomed a call to support, establish infrastructure and develop a framework for the music industry by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament, Jan Van Wyk.

Van Wyk in the National Assembly on Wednesday said the country boasts an abundance of entertainers without a standardised structure or system and the industry therefore remains under-developed, with no distribution infrastructure or support.

“Creative art is one of the biggest industries in the world and a fundamental part of it is music. The Namibian music industry remains underdeveloped, with no major record label or distribution infrastructure. We need to develop a culture of supporting Namibian music,” he said.

Echoing his sentiment, musician Lilani Kisting, known on stage as ‘Adora’, said government support towards the music industry is negligible, stressing that Namibian musicians are suffering as a result of lack of recognition, support and appreciation.

“When a message has to get out there to different communities, we are the first people they call whether it is politically affiliated or a particular campaign message, so that alone is evidence that we deserve more support and recognition from the government because creativity is power in the community and has influence in the society,” she noted.

Van Wyk suggested that infrastructure such as music recording studios be developed at every regional youth office under the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture, and said the government and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture should establish music schools for the youth.

He equally called for the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) to strengthen measures to hold those bypassing requirements and rules on handling music, noting that currently there are complaints from artists that they do not get royalties deservingly.

“It is high time that musicians are paid for their creativity and hard work,” he noted.

Equally, musician Phillipus Joseph, well known as D-Kandjafa, said the biggest challenge Namibian musicians face is piracy as the country does not have laws or policies that can address the issue.

“When we deal with the issue of piracy ourselves it is challenging. Sometimes people want to beat us up for our own art… Even if you go to the police there is nobody to help as the police apparently do not deal with piracy,” he noted.

Joseph further stressed that there is no real institution that addresses artists’ challenges, including the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam), which he said does not uphold musicians’ interests.

“We are not happy as musicians and we are really suffering. There is no guarantee in the music industry, we are all taking risks and left alone to suffer as musicians,” he noted.

Source: NAMPA