WINDHOEK - The death yesterday of Timotheus Duwe, known in musical circles as simply Phura, has been described by insiders of the local entertainment industry as a huge loss.
Phura was generally referred to as ‘King of Ma/gaisa’, as the Damara Punch genre is called in the Khoekhoegowab vernacular.
Phura rose to fame in 2004 after winning NBC’s Fame Factory show competition, following his release of the first ever Ma/gaisa album the previous year.
The 39-year-old died yesterday morning in the Swakopmund state hospital after a long illness.
Damara Punch artist and “Bobo” hit-maker Stanley Hamaseb, famously known as Ou Stakes, said he learned with shock and sadness the news of his childhood friend’s death.
“Namibia has really lost a talented singer who wanted to be recognised for establishing Ma/gaisa genre live,” Hamaseb said.
Also expressing shock of the singer’s passing was Dragan Antonio of Antonio’s Art and Deal Done Records. Phura’s death is a big loss to the music industry, remarked Antonio.
He described the late singer as the first musician that took Ma/gaisa music seriously and turned it into a well-known genre.
“Phura was a legend that contributed so much to the industry. Although he was not that visible in the music scene in recent years the King of Ma/gaisa will always be remembered,” said Antonio who at one stage worked with Phura.
Stella !Naruses, a close friend of Phura and maker of hit song “Kapepo”, remarked: “As far as I know, Phura was the first artiste to experiment with Ma/gaisa and subsequently released an album.”
She described him as a “friendly, shy and loving person”.
Phura made his breakthrough in the music industry in 2003 after meeting his longtime producer Steven !Naruseb of Welwitschia Music Production. !Naruseb recorded Phura’s first album ‘Tsubates go’.
In 2005, the deceased artiste released his second album ‘Tihana tsa xue’ (Is it like that?), which saw him win a second award at the Sanlam Music Awards in the ‘Kwiku & Sokous’ category. A legend in his own right, Phura has eight albums under his belt. His latest single entitled “Ada keg u re” (let us care for each other) was released earlier this year.