Uncertainty surrounds the future of the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) after the withdrawal of MTC from the annual event last year.
The mobile telecommunications giant, which joined the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in 2011 to co-sponsor the highly-anticipated awards in the country, withdrew their support after the 2020 NAMAs.
The awards are usually the highlight on the music industry calendar, bringing together the finest from across the industry with celebrity supporters and influencers to celebrate the power of music.
Chief commercial officer at NBC, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, told VIBEZ! the music awards have fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving the company uncertain on whether or not to host the event.
“At this moment, it is still uncertain due to the Covid-19 situation in the country and the sponsorship is also affected by the current economic situation as well,” said Karuaihe-Upi, adding that sponsors are also quite cautious about getting into partnership with NBC.
As if the pandemic has already not caused a massive toll on the music artists, Karuaihe-Upi confirmed that the cancellation of the awards will have an adverse financial impact on the artists and the music industry in general.
“Due to the Covid-19 situation, many artists don’t get gigs anymore and you can imagine what struggle it is for them in Namibia,” she said.
Speaking to VIBEZ!, award-winning hip-hop artist D-jay said it is unfortunate the year is almost over and less progress has been made to ensure the continuity of the awards.
“Lockdown has caused the live music industry to shut down. Gigs are cancelled, tours and festivals are called off and pubs, clubs and venues are forced to close, and our last hope was the awards. Many artists have been working tirelessly to take part in this year’s music awards and, unfortunately, there might be no awards and the year is almost over,” said the ‘Champion’ hitmaker.
D-jay, whose real name is Diogene Ochs, warned that if the awards are to be cancelled, it could lead to the collapse of the music industry.
“There won’t be any competition in the industry anymore. Sadly, artists will not be honoured for their hard work and the underground artists will not get the recognition they deserve,” he added.
The uncertainty not only affects artists but the thousands of people working alongside them.
Music promoter Fidel Nambundunga said, “It’s a long uphill road, with no support from anyone but our own kind, in terms of corporate help, or even efforts to understand what’s going on in our industry.”