Windhoek — In one the few occasions in the Oviritje experience, the Katutura Community Hall was jampacked on Friday night in a show that was billed the Welcome Home show.
This was to welcome back home six Namibian Oviritje and African popular music artists from the groups Ovandu Vaupamba and One Blood who the previous Saturday attended a show in Cheltenham, about 150 miles from the English capital, London.
The event, organised by the Namibia Otjiherero-speaking community in the United Kingdom, was also occasioned by Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Minister, Kazenambo Kazenambo, as well as Namibia's High Commissioner to that country.
For one of the Namibian artists who performed at the event, Mutjangatjike Ben Muundjua, the event was a personal experience in many respects than one with a personal appearance fee that will take the Namibian music industry long time to equal, especially when it comes to the Oviritje genre.
The artist estimated the appearance fees for the show at four digits figures for each artist, a dream come true figure for any show locally.
This is only for a show which was attended by only about 200 revelers for a ticket going for 35 British Pounds, which equals about N$300. Compare this with the going rate of N$30 for a ticket for an Oviritje show locally, which lately has only started to reach the N$50 mark.
According to Mutjangatjike for Oviritje to reach that level, and be able to afford any artist that four digit figure, it warrants an attendance figure of about 1000 revelers, which for most Oviritje shows, is currently a dream come true let alone in the capital, Windhoek where the genre has been struggling to even reach the 200 mark in attendance figures and yet at only N$30 a ticket.
No wonder Mutjangatjike sees the recent appearance in the United Kingdom out of this world. Other than that the artist could not but also be impressed with the reception that he received from the audience which was a mixture of Namibians, Africans and the English people.
There, he says music is music and there is no discrimination between the different genres like home where certain genres like Oviritje are looked down upon and similarly are given a raw deal with their appearance quotations suppressed.
He also could not but be impressed by the good behaviour of the crowd. Simply put, the floodgates to the United Kingdom has opened, all things being equal.
Gessy Tjonga, who headed the delegation of Namibian artists to the United Kingdom, was less impressed. For him the four digit figures could have been meaningful if it was not shared between two groups. However, the trip was an an eyeopener in that they have now realised that going to the United Kingdom to perform there was doable.
He likened Oviritje support in that country to the one that the genre currently seems to be getting from Walvis Bay, which has established itself as the jewel of the crown in terms of support for Oviritje.
This is because most of those who supports the genre in Walvis Bay are people who spent long time in the sea on fishing vessels and Oviritje somehow rekindles a home spirit when ever any group is around in the harbour town to perform. As much for those in the United Kingdom as Mutjangatjike and company proved lately. Like last Saturday Walvis Bay again lived up to its reputation when Ongoronomundu, Tura Horns and Equipped Dance Academy featured there to a full house.
All indications are that those in the UK could not have much of the one-off show and would like to see them back either in August during Heroes Day or Red Flag Day or in December for X-Mass.
Meanwhile, OnÃ¿arata this weekend visit our eastern neighbourly country of Botswana where they will feature as part of the annual commemoration of the Batswana of Namibian descent at the pilgrim to Tsau, the equivalent in Botswana of the Red Flag Day and other pilgrims.