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Entertainment industry a ticking time bomb… silence engulfing mental health

2021-10-01  Paheja Siririka

Entertainment industry a ticking time bomb… silence engulfing mental health
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Namibia’s suicide statistics are continuing to prove there are serious mental health issues, although Covid-19 compounded the crisis; there are other perpetrators like unresolved family conflicts, divorce rates, trauma or adverse childhood effects.

Brand strategist Alvaro Mukoroli said the current generation is being seen as weak because they are expressive when it comes to their emotions; one thing not being addressed enough is the rivalry, which has been seen as a platform for speaking badly about the industry colleagues in the name of getting gigs.

“From outside, we see people who are succeeding because of their character but when they are out of character, there is a lot of pain and anger because of selective groups and clicks that have been created,” stated Mukoroli.

He expressed this during a live discussion on NBC’s Tupopyeni this week with Selma Usiku, alongside radio personality Azeal Matsoarelle and psychotherapist Ceasaria Matiti, focussing on mental health in the entertainment industry.

He added when an ordinary Namibian looks at such tit for tat type of behaviour among artists, they look at it as competition and not necessarily rivalry – and this is something that has been normalised.

Matiti said these are important issues worth addressing that are mostly silenced, which makes it more difficult, especially with those who have been living with mental health disorders.

 “These are unheard, unspoken ordeals; it’s the silence that sort of engulfs the word mental health. We are silencing these conversations and are seen as uncomfortable conversations because they will bring to the fore; the uncomfortable feelings and emotions which we are not ready to deal with,” shared Matiti. 

She added there is a preconceived notion that when men, whose numbers of fatalities succeed women, are less likely to express their feelings due to various factors and wonder if culture and other aspects contribute to that.

Matsoarelle said men express themselves less due to their upbringing that forced them to be less emotional.

“Having been trained to suppress negativity or hurt as a man is normal in our societies and has been normalised – and now, we are to normalise men to speak up. The Y generation will have much better self-awareness – but from my generation and before that, it didn’t matter what you were feeling inside; you had to be a man,” shared Matsoarelle.

He stated that with open discussions being held on various public platforms, these are important steps – small but significant.



“Stick within your reality sometimes. If you live in Okahandja Park and you want to shoot a music video, shoot it with your phone; it’s artistic. As an artist, you should be ready to be judged, ridiculed and insulted. And if you are a true artist, you won’t care what people say; as long as you put your art out there,” said Matsoarelle.

He said the local entertainment artists are inspired by the lifestyle of industry colleagues beyond borders and somewhat try to portray or mimic what encouraged them to be true to themselves.“The human being will set in; there are those few minutes before you go to bed, where you are completely on your own – and that’s where your real self is – and if you can’t be true to that artist, nobody will believe you. Back up your art with your reality,” expressed Matsoarelle.


I am not ok

Mukoroli said one of the ways of healing is expressing feelings and acknowledging that one is not okay; words which are not commonly used, especially in the entertainment industry.

“It is about time that we start saying it, and it is a conversation that I have with journalists when they ask if those in the industry are doing okay,” said Mukoroli, adding that without the best support system in the industry, it will resort to measures such as taking one’s life.

“Artists need to understand who they are; I hear the person on stage and there is off stage. Any artist, musician, painter, author, there is self-distance, the split personality to give themselves another version so that they can perform so people only see the second persona,” Matiti 

2021-10-01  Paheja Siririka

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