22 entertainment Friday, 18 August 2017 | NEW ERA MUSIC Soul Brothers headed for Erari Windhoek It looks as though for many Namibian music lovers, especially fans of the South African Mbaqanga group, Soul Brothers, Christmas will come early this year – as early as next month in fact. Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro brings you the story. Organisers have confirmed the group as the main act at the entertainment highlights of this year’s edition of the annual Okakarara Trade Fair on September 9 – the last day of the trade fair. Last year Dan Tshanda, from South Africa, led a pack of other entertainers from South Africa including Splash, Dalom Kids, Matshikos, Montana and Mpho Majika. They featured alongside local artists like The Dogg, Uatungua Matundu and Rax Rakutuka Kandjoze. The show was a bonus for trade fair goers for only the price of N, which was the entrance fee to the fair. However, the show received stiff competition from South African Disco queen, Patricia Majalisa, who in a parallel show in the town headlined an equally star-studded show. Her show featured the likes of Nikie Nikie, Ludwe, Mpendulo Peacock, Neo Maphaka, Tafula and Slindile with local artists such as Ben Mutjangatjike Muundjua, Sally a.k.a. Boss Madam, Wildogs and One Blood also performing at the Okakarara Sports Field. However, the chairperson of the Okakarara Trade Fair Society board, Elia Kandjii, has confirmed Soul Brothers as the main act on the closing night of the fair at what unlike last year, seems the only music show in town this year on the closing weekend of the trade fair. Soul Brothers will headline performances by local groups in different genres such as oviritje, disco and gospel, but the organisers still have to confirm the line-up, as contracts with these groups have not been finalised yet. Soul Brothers announced in June this year that they would embark on a road show in South Africa this December. At the time, it was not certain whether Namibia – where the group enjoys massive support – would be part of the road show. However, it now looks as though for Namibians this comes with the show at the Okakarara Trade Fair. Soul Brothers also announced the beefing up of the group with new members who will keep on the long legacy of the group alive. This includes all its founder members but one, with Moses “Black Moses” Ngwenya the only surviving founding member. “It’s been bothering me that if I die, who will continue with the group,” the South African Sunday Sun newspaper quoted Ngwenya as saying. “My wish and that of the other late founding members had always been that we’d love to see this group’s legacy live on,” he said. The group has roped in youngsters who have brought vibrancy to the group as new permanent members. Thokozani Hadebe has been the lead vocalist since the death of lead singer, David Masondo, in 2015. The other new members include Bongani Phiyose and Nkosinathi Ngwenya as backing vocalists, S’boniso Zuma as lead guitarist and Lehlohonolo Mofokeng as trumpeter. As stalwarts of South Africa’s music scene, Soul Brothers have recorded over 30 albums since their formation in 1974. Initially formed in KwaZulu-Natal, the group has remained the slickest and most successful exponents of the mbaqanga sound, which dominated South African urban music for over three decades. While their costume, choreography and some harmonies bear resemblance to the American Soul music that inspired them, the group created an original sound and style, which captivated South African audiences. They were especially popular amongst migrant labourers, who under Apartheid, were forced to leave their rural homes to seek work in the cities. The Soul Brothers themselves trod this path to Joburg, and this shared frame of reference endeared the group to the massive working class audience of South African cities. They built the band around the rhythm section comprising bassist Zenzele “Zakes” Mchunu, drummer David Masondo, and guitarist Tuza Mthethwa, who first played together in the “Groovy Music stalwart… Moses Ngwenya, one of the co-founders of Soul Brothers and now the only surviving founding member, chatting to a fan during the group’s tour to the country in 2008. Boys in KwaZulu-Natal, and later as part of the “Young Brothers”. Keyboard player Moses Ngwenya joined them in Joburg to create the Soul Brothers, and David Masondo made the move from drums to lead vocals. The combination of Masondo’s quavering soprano voice and Ngwenya’s percussive Hammond organ playing gave the Soul Brothers a unique and instantly recognisable sound. They typically augmented this core rhythm section with a brass section, guitars, and multiple vocal harmonies. Car crashes saw the deaths of three band members in 1979, and then later also the death of bassist and founder member Zakes Mchunu in 1984. Despite these setbacks, Masondo and Ngwenya continued, performing with an expanded group that included not only musicians, but also dedicated dancers. Just like at last year’s closing day show, show attendants can buy a day’s pass that will also allow them entrance to the music show later in the day for N while VIP tickets go for N0. ARTS Donna Collins Swakopmund It takes a certain skill and artistic temperament to miniaturise what would normally be a massive tree, and transform it into a decorative mini replica that can become a beautiful ornament and live for decades. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, Bonsai is a blend of ancient art and horticultural knowledge that originated in the spiritual temples of China and Japan to create miniature landscapes. The annual Bonsai exhibition held at the Swakopmund Municipal Nursery was proof of this specialised art culture, where over 30 jaw-dropping creations standing over a few centimetres high, were displayed by the Namib Bonsai Kai (club), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this November. Hendrik Koekemoer, one of the cofounders of the club and chairperson, also held a Bonsai demonstration to draw more public interest in this age old oriental art form. Working nimbly with a young plant, he magically transformed a scraggly example into a perfect ‘Bonsai’ exhibit by pruning the roots, leaves and branches. He also styled it into the desired shape before planting it in a small pot. “It doesn’t stop at this,” Koekemoer said and explained that Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants, but instead a living art form. “It takes the Bonsai Enthusiasts… Bonsai enthusiast Hendrik Koekemoer (chairperson. Namib Bonsai Kai) with his assistant Asser Itamara at the annual Bonsai exhibition. Photos: Donna Collins enthusiast a considerable amount of time and care to maintain their masterpiece, and keep it in shape. “Many people are familiar with Bonsai creations, but they don’t know that it is something they can do at home, which is why we hold these public demonstrations and exhibitions,” Koekemoer, who fascination with Bonsai started around 25 years ago, added. Since then he has produced a private collection of around 200 ‘Bonsai’ trees, and attends ‘Bonsai’ conventions in South Africa, plus has visited Japanese villages that still hold dear their spiritual connection to the Bonsai art form. But Bonsai has come a long way since they decorated the temples, and the legacy lives on around the world, even here in Swakopmund. The weeklong exhibition had an impressive array of some of the finest specimens on view, ranging from a baobab tree, wild fig, white stinkwood and a variety of acacias’ to mention some. The smallest measured about 8 centimetres high, all of which were the creations from some of the 30 active members. Over the years people have advanced many styles to classify Bonsai trees, closely resembling circumstances in nature, and open to personal interpretation. Bonsai literally means ‘Tree in a Pot’, and an essential part of Bonsai is to plant them in a decorative pot, since many of these miniature beauties are displayed in people’s homes or outdoor areas for all to admire. “The Bonsai can be much more than just ‘miniature’ Japanese trees, and the difference between them and normal trees in nature is the artistic shapes, especially for decorative value. “Bonsai can challenge the enthusiasts gardening skills, artistic aesthetics and design capabilities, but once you start you are hooked,” Koekemoer said.
Friday, 18 August 2017 | NEW ERA entertainment 23 ARTS Theatre turns into a nuthouse Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek The National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) will present The Nut House play, written and directed by the 26-yearold playwright, Lloyd Wanini, under the mentorship of awardwinning director, David Ndjavera. The NTN will stage the play for two days, tonight and tomorrow night, at the NTN’s Backstage starting from seven O’clock in the evening. The Nut House is a story about a nurse, Butch, who on his first day at work is stuck in a room with six criminally insane women The nurse begins to see and experience what they (the insane women) see as they tell him the stories of how they ended up in the room. Wanini who has studied Media and MUSIC Drama at the University of Namibia (Unam) says the audience can expect intensity and much emotion during the two nights of the event. “The play will keep guests on the edge,” he promises. T h e r e a r e t e n talented actors in the play and only three of them will play the roles of supporting actors. The six insane women (Thoko, Gina, Hinata, Veripura, Bathsheba and Priscilla) and the nurse (Butch) are all main characters. “I usually don’t like having main characters in my plays because each character brings a different dynamic to the table,” Wanini says. He adds that the play is a social commentary o n h o w s o c i e t y perceives the mentally ill through the eyes of mentally ill people. During the play, actor Veripura tells the story of how social pressure and rape pushed her Freeda debuts at Coke Studio …a first for Namibia Vibrant… Freeda has set the bar high for Namibia after becoming the first Namibian to make it to Coke Studio Africa. Staff Reporter Windhoek Nutters… The local cast of the play, The Nut House, staging at the National Theatre of Namibia’s (NTN) Backstage tonight and tomorrow night. into a mental breakdown convince Butch to repent. writers, actors and and into committing Hinata is a shy young producers. unspeakable acts. woman with multiple NTN public relations A n e m o t i o n a l l y personalities who tries to officer, Desiree Mentor, unstable Gina is haunted stay in control of her body says the project normally by past of physical abuse. and mind. appoints a mentor who Then there is Thoko, “For those longing assists and guides the doing her best to seduce for an adventure, this director or writer with Butch. Priscilla mostly intensely entertaining script development, sits behind a grave talking production is surely one directing and staging of to her ancestors, at the not to be missed,” Wanini his/her play. same time tormenting says. Tickets for play those who don’t believe The play falls under the are available at all in her gods, with her NTN Theatre Zone Project Computicket outlets at supernatural powers. that provides development N (adults), N for Bathsheba is a religious opportunities for new pensioners and students fanatic who tries to and upcoming directors, with a valid student card. Sassy afro pop singer Freeda is the first Namibian musician to grace the stage at Africa’s biggest music show, Coke Studio Africa. Freeda will feature alongside Kiff No Beat from Ivory Coast and Wawa Salegy from Madagascar. Coke Studio Africa is Coca Cola’s flagship African music show, but it is a non-competitive music show. It brings together diverse African music talent to present world-class showcases, while giving upcoming artists the opportunity to work with some of the best African and international music and production talent. The show brings together artists from different genres, eras and regions to create a modern and authentic African sound through music fusion. For the second year in a row, Coke Studio Africa will give fast rising and up and coming artists a chance to feature on the show’s Big Break segment, where they have the opportunity to collaborate with industry greats. Other Big Break artists on this year’s show dubbed ‘Coke Studio Africa – 2017’ include The Band BeCa from Kenya, Ozane from Togo and Mashayabhuqe from South Africa. Back for a fifth edition this year, it includes more African countries and super stars representing different regions. Coke Studio also announced the merger of Coke Studio Africa and Coke Studio South Africa. Coke Studio Africa is set to premiere in more than 30 countries across Africa starting next month. With a career spanning over 15 years, afro pop singer Freeda has developed into a vibrant solo artist whose performances and melodically cultured voice has won the hearts of many fans. Speaking on her Coke Studio debut during the recording of the show, Freeda said the platform would give her mileage as an African musician. “My experience at Coke Studio Africa has so far been one of the best experiences in my music career. It was very enriching,” she said. As far as her Coke Studio collaborations, Freeda said working with talented artists such as Kiff No Beat and Wawa Salegy was fun and educative. CULTURE Launch of ‘My Namibia’ song competition Windhoek The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) launched the ‘My Namibia’ song competition last Thursday. MICT as the custodian of the Nationhood and National Pride campaign, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, has organised the competition to boost national identity, pride and nation building. The competition is open to all Namibians. Entrants should compose and produce a song in English with the theme ‘My Namibia, My Country, My Pride’. The song will have the title ‘My Namibia’. Written lyrics must accompany the recorded song (original work). Entrants can submit songs from the day of the launch (Thursday) until 11 September. Phase 2, the vetting process, takes place from September 12 to 19. From September 20 to October 4, the judging and selection of the five top songs will take place, followed by voting by the public. The winner of the competition will receive an award of N,000 and royalties. – Nampa