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Wrongful incarceration destroyed my life – Dollam…kept writing rhymes in custody

2021-12-03  Paheja Siririka

Wrongful incarceration destroyed my life – Dollam…kept writing rhymes in custody
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Oviritje artist Terrence Dollam Tjitjahuma says his wrongful arrest, which saw him incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit in 2015, has robbed him of his livelihood and he is now left alone to pick up the pieces.

Dollam was acquitted last year for having no part in the death of Peter Riscoh Muleke (36), who was stoned to death in the Goreangab Dam area in Windhoek during the night of 29 to 30 March 2015. 

Dollam, a former band member of notable Oviritje groups The Wire, Ondarata and Osondoro, is known for the song ‘Mbamuinina Owina’, which translates to “I am intentionally quiet, I know everything”.

The Ovitoto-born artist told VIBEZ! he had big plans before the arrest and everything he had worked so hard for was lost within minutes after he was arrested.

“I was wrongfully arrested because I was with people who committed a heinous crime. The police found me at my residence and they came looking for someone specific; they called out his name and arrested me as well simply because I was with him,” recalled the singer.

“I was incarcerated for five and half years; time wasted when I could have been doing meaningful things with my life.”

He said it all came to an end when the perpetrator finally said Dollam was not part of the crime committed.

“My mental health was also affected because of the incarceration. During the arrest, there were beatings involved, which brought a certain degree of damage to my body. My standard of living was also affected, as I had to start from the beginning. I lost my music instruments, speakers and all I had to make music.”

The musician indicated that he had a vision of travelling abroad to look for greener pastures through selling his music, hosting and performing at shows, amongst others, but that was cut short because of jail.

“Apart from that, I was also the one taking care of my sister’s tuition fees at the University of Namibia but she dropped out when dues couldn’t be settled, and there is no one else who could take over. As a young Herero man, I had to maintain livestock but all of that is gone; there is nothing left,” said the aggrieved Dollam.

His mother said her son was the most active person, who was always taking care of things and making sure everything is okay.

“He was a man doing manly things and taking care of responsibilities. Jail robbed him of that and now he is not as he used to be. He is hurt and doesn’t have the same will, but he won’t give up. It is sad what happened to him, and that is a mother’s worst nightmare to see her son going through all that,” shared Tjiuamana Tjitjahuma.

Although jail is a bad place to be, the passionate Oviritje artist said it taught him one thing – hope.

“Never lose hope; all you have is you. Have that confidence that the world changes and evolves. You might not have anything today but your situation will not be a permanent one, all you need to do is keep on pushing,” he said.

Dollam added: “Never lose hope, have faith in yourself and apply yourself fully when it comes to your plans and future goals”.

While behind bars, Dollam wrote several songs and released a 12-track album ‘Mamawe’ soon after he was released from jail in September last year. 

“My favourite song is the seventh track. It says that the olden days were different; there was love in the olden days; people were more compassionate and it is different with modern times. People are only loving vocally and their actions are different from what they say,” he highlighted.

- psiririka@nepc.com.na


2021-12-03  Paheja Siririka

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