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Industry Loop - Elephant in the room

2022-09-30  NSK

Industry Loop - Elephant in the room

Let’s address the elephant in the room. What is the elephant in the room, you ask? Well, renowned entertainer DJ Lisch recently made it clear that she is unhappy with the lack of diversity that was cast for the Burna Boy #LoveDamini concert. 

I’ve written about event organisers in Namibia for years on this platform. There are a couple of unresolved issues when it comes to event organisers in this country. The fact that event organisers tend to book the same people week in, week out. The fact that event organisers make it a point to treat South Africans 100 times better than Namibian acts. The fact that event organisers sometimes blatantly refuse to make provision for simple things like parking, security and hygiene amenities. I can list these all day.

The question now is, does DJ Lisch have a point? The lack of diversity has been a thorny issue for years in the entertainment industry. Mainstream concerts tend to book Afro-pop, amapiano and hip-hop acts more than Oviritje, Ma-/gaisa and other genres. You will hardly see, for instance, Kalux, Adora, Dixon, T-Bozz and Staika, Big Ben and Tswazis perform weekend in, weekend out at big concerts, unless it’s MTC-funded or self-initiated.

It’s a fact that the line-ups week in, week out do not really reflect Namibia’s diversity. Perhaps the question should be: Do event organisers care? Do event organisers give a rats a** about nation-building or about the nation’s identity? I think not. Do they have to care? In a perfect world, we would want them to care, right?

But the truth is, they don’t have to. Event organisers at the end of the day want to break even. To break even, you need a crowd. So, the question becomes: Who are the crowd pullers? If the crowd pullers are Gazza, King Tee Dee, KP Illest, Top Cheri, Lioness, best believe that’s what you are going to get every weekend. So, we still haven’t answered the original question: Does DJ Lisch have a point?

To a certain extent, yes. The South African and Nigerian entertainment industries are not where they are today by chance. These industries are at the heights they are because every single custodian of that industry made a conscious choice to push their own. South Africa, in particular, has earmarked their diversity as a marketing campaign that trickles down to even the smallest of events.

Today, Namibian event organisers import all sorts of South Africans - from comedians and musicians (different genres) to actors, etc. to come and entertain us. Where DJ Lisch’s wish for a diverse setup at shows falls short is people themselves; revellers do not care for it. We are a sleeping nation.

As such, the demand to have diversity in our line-ups will stay with people within the industry, and not necessarily consumers. That’s the sad bit. But in principle, I stand with DJ Lisch.

Until the next Loop, we say #GMTM

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2022-09-30  NSK

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