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Kaujeua: Gone but not forgotten

2020-05-29  Paheja Siririka

Kaujeua: Gone but not forgotten

African American singer Ray Charles once said “Music is powerful. As people listen to it, they can be affected. They respond.” that’s what happened in the country this week. 27 May 2010 will be a bitter day in the lives of music lovers and enthusiasts as it reminds them of the untimely passing of a Namibian music legendary icon, Jackson Muningandu Kaujeua.

The icon was known for hits like ‘Wind of Change’, ‘!Nubu!Gubus’, ‘Kalahari’ and ‘Shilongo Shetu’.
 Kaujeua was a cultural icon of the liberation struggle who reserved the flame of freedom burning through music which was listened by the young and old. “First time I got to see Jackson Kaujeua was in the early ‘90s when I was a backing vocalist for my brother’s Reggae band at the Warehouse Theatre. I was star struck! I couldn’t take my eyes off him, I followed him around, he was well dressed, such a gentleman, and he smelled good, ” reminisced Erna Chimu, Namibia’s leading songbird and astute songwriter.
 Chimu said Kaujeua had a signature look, the belt, the shoes, the chain, the blazer the hat and rings. That celebrity look,” she recalled.

She said: “Ou Jack as we used to call him, was a fearless, bold, musician, a true advocate for the community, the voice of the people. He would come to my brothers and they would share sessions, and next, you’ll hear he sang about it.

“You could hear his music almost at every house like the ‘Tombo’, ‘Kaondeka’, ‘!Nubu !Gubus’, ‘Winds of change’ etc, and so many more but my favourite would be ‘Aiye Kako’, is such a beautiful song, swing jazz, ” she evoked.
 Namibian reggae musician, Ras Sheehama said the late Kaujeua was a musical perfectionist, and total good vibrations to be around him and one of his favourite song by the musical legend would be ‘’Southern Africa’’.

A song called ‘’Southern Africa’’ won’t be the same again. He was talking about the total liberation of southern African countries, which was our cause while fighting for freedom and independence, ” reflected Sheehama.

Renowned rap artist, Felix Johaness, better known as Shikololo said he got to find out about the existence of Kaujeua when he was in exile. “It was in Kwanzal Sul, way back in the days when we heard of Jackson Kaujeua. He was an inspirational being who loved music and used that to push for the liberation of the country. All through music” narrated Shikololo.

He said the late Kaujeua’s ability to sing in vernacular was an awe moment for him. “Tell me, anyone, who can sing like Jackson Kaujeua, he used languages to the core of humanity and send messages of love and peace. He sang in Khoe-Khoegowab, Otjiherero, Oshiwambo, English and that was amazing and soothing to the ears and those other freedom songs,” said Shikololo.

With all the technology and things made easy, artists who have been in the industry longer are highlighting the importance of artists to find their niches. 

“If you don’t you’ll fall around from this to that, and there’s nothing more confusing than an artist that doesn’t know what type of act he/she is. Believe in yourself, to tell your story the best way you can,” mentioned Chimu.

She said there are many great acts all over the world but they (artists) must be unique. “Find something that will set you apart, that makes you different, the world has enough Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Mariah Careys, these people can’t sing another language, what can you do to that makes you different, that can set you apart,” she concluded. 

Ras Sheema said determination and strong mindset can take the younger artist far. “Knowing what you are doing, and making good music that leaves a mark in the lives of the people. The legacy will always be in the music,” he advised.

Kaujeua died two months before celebrating his 57th birthday.
 He was indeed a music legend and a freedom fighter. May his soul rest in peace.

2020-05-29  Paheja Siririka

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