New Era (Windhoek)

17 August 2012

Namibia: 'Professor' Groovy Stills the Night Away

The second awards ceremony of the Ongoro Nomundu Concert Group has been described a success by the Manager of Oviritje genre group, Seun Makono.

And how otherwise can one see the dream-comes- true pledges of over N$180,000 other than successful? The event at the Protea Thuringerhof Hotel in the centre of Windhoek attracted among others the Governor of the Otjozondjupa Region, Rehabeam Kamehozu, who boosted the event, which also doubled up as a fundraiser, with a personal pledge of N$50,000 one of two highest benefactors, with Gerson Katjimune, who also pledged the same amount.

At the event the band also honoured their artists with awards with the accolade to Groovy Uanivi, a longtime member and all time tenor singer of the group, as the "professor" of the group for his unwavering stay and service to the group, perhaps the spectacle of the gala dinner evening on Friday. Not to mention the Onyoka Concert Group that stood in for Ongoro whose members could perform on what was meant to be their evening thus giving them the necessary respite, sit back and bask in the glory of their recognition.

One cannot but also take cognisance of the producer award which went to Asia Muraranganda, who has been the brain behind the fabulous sounds that has been reverberating from each and very song Ongoro Nomundu has been shunning out since appearing on the Namibian, and the Oviritje genre musical scene in particular since 2000 when they were founded. Since they have weathered many a storm in the unenviable waters of the troubled Oviritje genre that is today still crying for an own place under the Namibian son as genre in its own league. Slowly the genre, and if the pledges are anything to go by, Ongoro Nomundu in particular are getting there.

None other than folklorist, Hiangaruuu Veseevete, who have been behind the group in especially difficult times when the it was trying to establish itself. A ready and willing source of encouragement, inspiration and wisdom. Hence his due recognition on the night as well. Not to mention a recognition certificate to Methealth Namibia, that sponsored the Oviritje category prize in this year's Namibia Annual Music Awards, Namas.

Muchina Hoveka, aka Mello, who have not only paved many a ways for the genre but has also left deep footprints and continues to, was also duly recognised alongside the likes of Max-T Tjiundje, who has been popularly hailed as "a musical government" for his musical exploits on the Namibian Broadcasting Otjiherero Language Service, where he has been turning, screeching and twisting the discs.

In this position he has been able to lure many an unsuspecting listeners of this service, to the Oviritje genre. Thanks to him today the genre has find and firmed a niche among a section of the Namibian population and has fast been making headways into others, beyond Windhoek and even abroad.

Heavy-heavy Kamahene was awarded the Most Disciplined artist for his all time cooperation and obedience and easy to talk to and command without much ado all the time. Henry Kavari, perhaps the youngest member of the group became the Best Achiever artist of the group for his exploits in school in terms of achieving high marks in various subjects last quarter.

The Hano Youth Foundation in this regard undertook to take care of his school fees, from now until he finishes his schooling including taking care of his book expenses. Joining the group from the wilderness of Katutura early this year with no musical background, Veendapi Tjingovera has since been working hard to impress all and sundry to covet the Most Improved artist award.

Sello Marenga, a keyboardist, did it again when he became the Best Entertainer, having palmed in the same award the first time when the group introduced the awards in 2007. There is no mistaking that his finesse on the keyboard, which won the group the 2012 Oviritje champion accolade in the Namibia Annual Music Awards (Namas) with the song, Ndjipo Ngoma Man!, an instrumental, once again has done the trick. Nancy Katataiza became the Best Dancer while Suko-White Kejarukua was rewarded with the Best Singer accolade.

However one may see and say, no doubt the evening belong to the "professor" who did not only look his elegant but could hardly hide his joy on being so honoured by his fellows in the group, most his juniors. Despite the honour, which may have entailed suspending his vocal chords and now observing matters at a distance, by divine traditional intervention the group and the Oviritje genre may after all not have seen the last of velvet voice singer.

As to the group's dream of getting own wheels, which was one of the reason for the double-header awards-fundraiser event, it may have moved closer to that dream if the pledges are anything to go by. Is the Oviritje genre eventually stating to pay dividends? It may be to early to tell yet but times may be changing when the genre was a musical underdog of the Namibia music industry.

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