This Shoprite saga got me thinking. How do South African multinational brands impact the Namibian arts and entertainment sector, if at all? If there’s an impact…is it positive or negative? Could we expand our probe from just the arts and entertainment sector to the overall Namibian way of life?
I’ve noticed that most food and clothing South African multinationals operating in Namibia have their own radio stations broadcasting exclusively in their shops around the country. Why am I even highlighting this, right? Nothing wrong with that, right? Not when it’s at the expense our people and the Namibian way of life. Allow me to take you through my findings. There is nothing wrong with companies having their own radio stations. It’s actually pretty innovative and smart. You use the platform to advocate for the brand and its services by adding a human voice.
The problem is 99.9% of these radio stations are based in South Africa. And 99.9% of the content on these radio stations are based on the South African market and content . Imagine a Namibian working in a shop with a radio station aligned to the brand. We are talking 7am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday…month after month, year after year. Humour me here…don’t you think that this will be to the overall detriment of the Namibian way of life? Do you not think that this Namibian worker who consumes this South African content will psychologically be more inclined to buy a Nasty C album as opposed to a KP Illest album? Don’t you see that this Namibian worker who consumes this South African content will psychologically be more inclined to follow Boity as opposed to Robyn Naakambo?
This is not even about arts or entertainment. This Namibian worker will be forced to observe Human Rights Day in South Africa as opposed to our independence. Instead of observing Family Day, our workers will call it Day of Goodwill. We already have a portion of the Namibian society calling it “Boxing day”. Because on these days, that’s what South Africans celebrate and observe and so the content will be that on those specific days. Not a single shred of the Namibian identity. How on earth can we allow this? How can we sit back and allow the Namibian mind to be re-colonised like this?
How about we look at setting up Namibian versions of these radio stations? That will still be aligned to the main brand but will talk directly to Namibians. Instead of talking about specials in a shop in Gauteng, the radio presenter will highlight specials in Usakos! This will create NAMIBIAN jobs at a time where job losses are the order of the day in every sector. This will give the brand a Namibian touch and thus patriotism. I beg the powers that be to look into this. Visit any food and clothing South African multinational operating in Namibia. Listen carefully to what’s on and you will see what I am talking about.
Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”!
NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email email@example.com