• April 25th, 2019
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The Kalaharians: The rise, the fall and now


Jeremiah Ndjoze Not all matches made it heaven culminate in happy endings. Or so it seems if the chronicles of the rise and fall of Namibia’s pioneering dancehall outfit, The Kalaharians, is anything to go by. Signed to the high flying Ogopa Butterfly music stable, The Kalaharians – initially a quartet – came, saw and conquered via their unique blend of hip-hop fused dancehall vibes with a touch of RnB, all of which was complemented by their superstar slant on things and a polished demeanour. Like a good salad, presentation was everything. Fast-forward to 2018 and this diversity is clearly visible in where each of the members landed, following the demise of the group. Joe Jeffrey Fortuin aka CJP This writer stumbles on CJP, real name Joe Jeffrey Fortuin, at a carwash along Abraham Mashego Street, Katutura. And having been inundated with tales of his conversion to the Moslem religion and the two wives that came with it, this writer is delighted to see the man all laid back and relaxed in jeans, sandals and a T-shirt, sipping on a soft drink. He is fresh off the plane from Kenya where he has since relocated in pursuit of a solo music career, guided by his producers at Ogopa. But the long overdue album is yet to be released almost five years later. And the musician remains unfazed by the delay. “My sound is still relevant, even if the album took a while to release because I do reggae dancehall which is a universal genre. I’ll eventually drop the album in Kenya where my primary market is. They love reggae-dancehall over there, the same way Namibians love house and kwaito here,” CJP says. The Namibian father of two confirms that he got married to two wives in Kenya, one of them a national of Yemen and the other an Ethiopian. The former altar boy at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish in Soweto, Katutura, who has since adopted the name Saluhidin Yahya Malik, told this newspaper that he did not convert to Islam out of influence but conviction. “I did not go that route because of my wives or because I was in Kenya. I have always embraced Islam. I read up on Islam and fell in love with the idea of praying directly to God rather than going through Christ, because even Christ himself prays to God,” CJP stresses. He maintained that in between studio time and trying to recruit musicians for his soon to be launched record label, he still finds time to keep the faith. “I do my daily prayers at home. I have my prayer mat and practically everything I need to pray at home so I don’t go to the mosque that much,” he says. CJP treasures the idea that one day The Kalaharians will get back in studio, put together some kickass records and set the stages ablaze. But as far as the group’s former crooner, Queli, is concerned this idea is a long shot. Raquel Queli Johannes, nee Antonio Raquel ‘Queli’ Johannes (formerly Antonio) is currently in a state of obliviousness as far as the goings-on with The Kalaharians is concerned. Says Queli in a telephonic interview: “I really don’t know what is going on. We didn’t break up as a group. I think we sort of drifted apart when CJ left for Kenya. From there we all just moved on with our lives in different directions.” Part of her moving on with her life was getting married and settling down in the green north-central town of Tsumeb. Queried as to whether or not it was her new status as Mrs Johannes that spelled an end to her drop-it-like-it’s-hot days she says, ‘yes and no.’ She drops a bombshell when she reveals that in 2014 she was diagnosed with lupus. The latter is the same ailment that reportedly claimed the life of Namibia’s celebrated rapper, Big-Cat. “With this type of condition you cannot predict anything, let alone your future. One also suffers from extreme fatigue and you’re often forced to take it easy because the body cannot handle stressful situations,” Queli reveals. This, she says, makes life as a performance artist a no-go area. “I can be in studio and record but I don’t think I will be able to handle the demanding schedule of a performing artist – let alone the stress that comes with it,” Queli maintains, albeit, in high spirits. “I have come to terms with my condition and I leave all in the hands of God. Right now I’m focusing on taking the best care possible for myself with the help of my husband. I went through chemotherapy for six months until the doctors took me off. I’m now undergoing other treatments as per their suggestions and everything is going well,” she says. Academically, Queli holds a National Diploma in Travel and Tourism from the Academy of Learning and is currently pursuing a teaching qualification at the Institute of Open Learning. The outspoken Queli is now a primary teacher in Tsumeb, a quality she shares with former fellow band member, TC Lone – although the latter does his teaching on the pulpit. Linus TC Lone Sechogele After a good decade in the music industry, Linus ‘TC Lone’ Sechogele who was popular for his ragamuffin raps and beatboxing has since decided to put his vocal chords to ‘better’ use: ‘the advancement of the kingdom of God.’ “Personally I don’t see a reunion in the pipeline. We have all moved on with our lives. Besides the decision on a possible reunion is Sula’s prerogative. I’ve since accepted Christ as my Lord and saviour, and I can’t see myself preaching at the pulpit one moment and dancing on stage with half-naked women, the next moment,” TC Lone says. He stresses that his life has evolved in a manner that will not accommodate the hustle and bustle of the music industry. “I have grown up, I got married and I have a family to feed and bigger things to worry about,” he emphasises. He however adds that if the so-called reunion is event-driven like a one-night performance at the NAMAs, he would consider it. Self-imposed Exile Isaacks No other former member of The Kalaharians seems to know where is the former rapper Exile, who is rumoured to have degenerated into a shadow of his former self – in the streets of Dolam, Katutura. Entertainment Now’s quest to locate the rapper, this week, proved futile. A man who identified himself as his brother said Exile has been shutting door in the faces of people who came forth with assistance. Ogopa Butterfly boss, Suleiman ‘Sula’ Kyababa, corroborates the claim. Kyababa is unwavering in his position that the break-up of The Kalaharians emanated from Exile’s behaviour. “I haven’t seen or heard from Exile, being in person or on social media, for the past 10 years. But 10 years ago we tried everything we could as a label to help him, to the extent of organising rehab dates for him, only to be disappointed every time,” Kyababa says. He admits that he is yet to see a musician as talented as Exile in Namibia; “but until he admits to himself that he has a problem and needs help, there is nothing that anybody can do,” Kyababa maintains.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-19 11:39:48 1 years ago

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