Paheja Siririka and Aletta Shikololo
The Namibian entertainment industry just like any other has artists who misuse drugs and alcohol. Some feel it is a coping mechanism, while others feel it is cool to smoke and drink alcohol.
Entertainment Now! has spoken to few artists who have either gone through the ordeal and are now recovering such as rappers Exile, Shikololo, Jericho and others. Many are however, not ready to disclose such realities as they are still trying to navigate through the stormy weather in the world of narcotics.
Entertainment Now! approached artists, managers/promoters to try and find out why they would resort to such behaviours, to the brink of ruining their careers and perhaps find out if there are steps that need to be taken to revive this almost dilapidating and close to non-existing sector in the country.
Music manager and promoter, AB Amushila, also known AB Pro said alcohol and drug abuse is a problem in Namibia due to the fact that younger people have access to drugs.
“One of the biggest frustrations for artists is being talented and not being able to fit in anywhere within the industry or to make a proper living from their crafts in the country, because of the failure to develop the industry. When the focus is forever about building certain individuals rather than the sector as a whole, it creates a domino effect,” he said.
He said that one would find artists who are full of ideas in the entertainment industry and end up getting depressed because their hard work is not recognized this becomes a headache that drives artists into corners.
“This is the same way people turn to alcohol abuse when they are going through a divorce or things in life are not going right.”
AB Pro said an element of rehabilitation needs to be into the industry. “We also need to normalise going to see psychologists or social workers to deal with these problems. When we have people or artists going through this, we need to find or establish means of support to get through all these issues.”
He said he has been in the industry long enough to not turn his back on an artist who is going through such ordeals and sees support as the best way to assist.
Talking to Entertainment Now! founder of Topclass Namibia, a multi-media and marketing firm, Changa Mugwala said the problem with the spotlight is that it comes with a lot of pressure and not everyone can handle the fame and burden that comes with it, that is the reason why many musicians and entertainers turn to drugs and alcohol.
Mugwala who has managed a couple of artists further added that drug use in the entertainment industry has become a norm and it has ruined great talents in the country.
He advise entertainers to always seek for necessary assistance, saying sometimes it could be mental health problems or an addiction.
Rapper singer-songwriter Jericho Gawanab better known as Jericho has walked through the most difficult paths most artists endure when living the life of an entertainer. Jericho witnessed many things growing up in the dusty streets of Damara Location in Katutura. When he reached his superstar status, stress, depression crept heavily on him, and to make matters worse, he lost his father in the same space. The environment which he grew up in also did not help as the location has shebeens in every street with drugs being sold at every second house, he related once in an interview with this publication.
Many artists go through different ordeals, which leads them to substance abuse. It is advisory that creatives should not suffer in isolation but rather seek professional help or confide in somebody they trust for guidance.