PDM calls for increased support of local musicians

Stefanus Nashama

A Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament, Jan van Wyk, has this week tabled a motion calling for more support of Namibian musicians and the development of infrastructure and resources for the Namibian Music Industry.

“The Namibian music industry remains under-developed with no major record labels or distribution infrastructure,” Van Wyk noted.

According to him, Namibia is blessed with an abundance of entertainers from every art form imaginable, including music but the government seems not to be committed to supporting the local music industry.

He is of the view that Namibian Music can still contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) although there is no standardised structure and system to measure the impact of the music.

“Our music still holds influence and has the potential to be a force that can be reckoned with arts, education and funding, however, it has been at the mercy of the public and private institutions. Although there are programs set up to drive the industry forward and create a sustainable creative economy, the progress is minimal,” he motivated.

In his motivation, Van Wyk highlighted that although Namibian music has a rich history and a wealth of talented artists, it faces many challenges preventing artists from reaching their full potential.

To this, he said music requires more support for the development of the industry.

He pointed out that a lack of focus on producing economically viable Namibian music products and the absence of effective marketing and distribution structures hamper the development of the local music industry.

Lack of exposure and recognition is another major challenge facing the Namibian music industry, Van Wyk added.

He emphasised that despite the country’s rich musical heritage, many Namibian musicians struggle to gain recognition and exposure on the international stage.

This, he said limits their ability to make a living from their music and to achieve the same level of success as their international counterparts.

“Many musicians in the country depend on Live Show performances for income and some depend on sponsorships and endorsement deals in which only a few certain musicians are selected for the role.

“Music shows and festivals held and organised by certain Municipalities and Town Councils in Namibia are biased in booking musicians and only book the musicians they prefer. This is discriminatory and deprives musicians of much-needed income and exposure,” he stressed.

He called for the discriminatory practice to stop as a matter of urgency.

The Parliamentarian claimed artists have not received awards including cash prizes to date since the end of the Namibian Annual Music Awards in 2020.

“This is problematic in so many ways. We need more than one award show in Namibia for our musicians,” he commented.

He urged the government, Ministries of Sport Youth and National Service, and Education, Arts and Culture to provide more support for the Music Industry, especially for upcoming musicians.

This includes musical instruments, incentives, and studios.

He urged Parliament to consider the motion for the support and establishment of infrastructure and resources for the Namibian Music Industry.

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