• July 5th, 2020

Politainment in the spotlight

 Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK- David Schultz once wrote that the world of politics, campaigns, and elections is confusing and asked how citizens like you and I make sense out of why candidates do what they do or why some are successful and others not?

Entertainment Now! did some research to find out how the entertainment industry has helped Namibian political parties over the years, as some have been using local artists to spread awareness about their manifestos and to attract larger crowds to their rallies.

Of  late, notable political groups have used politainment to their advantage and that includes the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), which this past week used Oviritje artists such as Meisie and Penaani as well as Wild Dogs Music Band to entertain their supporters in Havana informal settlement.

A former musician and now secretary-general of Nudo, Joseph Kaundenge, is somewhat of a politainer, who makes extensive use of entertainment media, particularly during campaign. Kauandenge said having artists as part of rallies does help parties. “It has helped a lot over the years”. The secretary-general said the younger generation gets bored too easily and quickly at rallies but if there are artists, the atmosphere tends to be different. “When there are only speeches being read, no one will entirely focus so entertainment is very important,” he stated.

Kauandenge also pointed out that they want to expose and promote local artists as well. “We decided to have a different artist every time we have rallies across the country, continuing with Otjimbingwe this weekend. Hence we have artists such as One Blood and Diop on board,” he informed Entertainment Now!  
But who came up with that concept in Namibia? When people head to the polls, do they go because their favourite artists are part of the campaign?

Namibian politician and academic, Elijah Ngurare was at the forefront of taking politainment to greater heights by involving youth, patriotic young Namibian artists to be at the helm of campaign countrywide initially.

“This is why we decided to combine entertainment with politics; we did that from the youth league and that’s how politainmnet was birthed,” said Ngurare. 

Back in the days, Ngurare said, politainment was also nationalism. “For an example, Ondarata can sing to promote their music, but also to get the message through their music to the intended crowd, everybody else was allowed to do that and to involve as many music groups as possible, ” recalled Ngurare.
 The former Swapo Party Youth League secretary said politainment was hard in the beginning. “The elders in the party did not approve of the idea at first plus finance was an issue,” said Ngurare.

Ngurare said the reason for coming up with politainment was because of the generational disconnection.
“You have many of those in the leadership who are old and how they convey messages of the party is not at the same level as the majority of the young people,” stated Ngurare.

The idea, in Ngurare’s era, was to ensure that whenever there is a party rally, a young person must be allowed to speak. “The moment when that a young person speaks to that specific audience, they convey the message better so it is important to include them in your rallies,” Ngurare said.

Since times have changed, Ngurare said artists who are going to embark on performing at campaigns of political parties, have to be true to themselves. “The music industry in Namibian must be massively supported. We must make sure all the young people who have talent are given the support they need, just like we support Hollywood and the Chinese with their Kung-Fu. Art and sports are some of the most important ingredients of nationhood and patriotism,” stated Ngurare.

He said artists in the industry should not be beggars. “If you are a beggar perpetually, you automatically become someone else’s slave. We should advocate for self-reliance on the artists’ behalf where they are properly well resourced,” he explained.

He further said artists should willingly participate in rallies around the country without being coerced.
“There should be no repercussion if an artist fails to participate in rallies,” he said.
Artists that have benefited from the politainment concept include Ndlimani Cultural Troupe, Gazza and King Tee Dee, who have released albums for the ruling party and were rewarded handsomely for their services.

Staff Reporter
2019-10-18 09:41:44 | 8 months ago

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