WINDHOEK – Local reggae artist, Jatumeni Negumbo, known by his stage name Ten Dreadz, wants a revolution of reggae music in the country for it to be relevant.
Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the 1960s and it spread to other countries across the world, including Namibia, where it is growing at a snail’s pace.
Ten Dreadz, who has been in the music industry for two decades, told Entertainment Now! that “Reggae music is not really taken seriously in Namibia because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to many Namibians, just like rock music but that does not mean it is irrelevant.”
He added, “I did not choose to do reggae music, reggae was born in me and it chose me. Since then I never looked back, it has always been easier for me to compose reggae songs compared to other genres that I am also involved in.”
Despite reggae’s alleged irrelevance in the country, there are local reggae artists that are pioneers in the industry and they are doing well with the reggae genre, such as Namibian reggae legend, Ras Sheehama.
Ten Dreadz believes that the irrelevance of reggae in the country is not only caused by music lovers, but it has also started with reggae artists themselves.
“Some reggae artists in the country do not really focus on the business side of the music, they take music as a hobby instead of taking it seriously and promote the genre. We are too laid back and too cocky when it comes to flexibility. We are not open to opportunities as well,” said Ten Dreadz.
He also said reggae was supposed to be the number one music genre in the world because it teaches people about the reality of life and it gives good messages to the nations, compared to other genres.
The ‘Omusimboti’ hitmaker also expressed concern about the culture of Rastafarian musicians that do reggae music.
“Many reggae musicians do not appear on time at their events and most of them do not look presentable, so much that fans complain of their untidiness. So, this also contributes to why people do not take our music seriously. Unity is also lacking among us, which is dividing us a lot,” he said, adding that he, however, appreciates reggae musicians for their live music and when they strive to learn musical instruments and share creativity.
Ten Dreadz is a man of many talents, apart from being a singer, he is also a designer, guitarist, and teacher. Despite obtaining an Honours degree in Professional Design and a Master’s degree in Arts in International Contemporary Art and Design Practice at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia, he described his journey to where he is as a bumpy ride.
“I grew up in a village in the northern part of Namibia and that is where I completed high school. I was more of an instrument player and a dancer. I realised my passion for music when I used to play drums made out of tins and made my own guitar. Every time I did my house chores, such as castrating animals or ploughing, I would always practice my music skills,” Ten Dreadz explained.
He added that art is his passion, that is why every qualification that he has obtained is in someway linked to the arts.
Even though Ten Dreadz does not have any accolade as a reggae artist, he was nominated twice in the reggae and Kizomba categories in the first Namibian Music Awards (NAMAS). He was also nominated with his first album in the Sanlam/Namibian Broadcasting Corporation Music Awards and also nominated in Canada alongside Setson and the Mighty Dreadz and Ras Sheehama in a reggae compilation that was titled “Reggae against Landmine”.
He said, “Achievements for him have to do with overall career opportunity and the structure that I have been, to become what I am today.”
He urged Namibians to take the genre seriously and support local music.
Ten Dreadz is ready to take over the music industry with his reggae music and he is currently working on a music project, which will be out by September.