Local artists united against GBV

By Rosalia David

NAMIBIAN artists have taken a stand against Gender Based Violence (GBV) through coming up with different strategies to condemn violence against women in the wake of the #ShutItDown protests against femicide and brutality.

Speaking to Confidente, award winning Kwaito legend Lazarus Shiimi popularly known as Gazza said, in response to the different GBV incidents that have occurred in the last few years he is working tirelessly around the clock to introduce a safety app that intends to help many when in an unsafe environment.

“It doesn’t mean because we are not making noise, we don’t care. I don’t need to announce what I am doing as a public figure but rather find ways on how to make Namibia a safer place. I don’t need to be pressured by anyone. Some are using this to advance their political agendas and because of pressure.  If you ever thought dagga was the biggest drug in our industry, clout chasing is and some people are not supporting the demonstration for the right reasons!” he said of the recent #ShutItDown protests to end GBV.

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He said the app will have a panic button that can be pressed in a case of emergency.

“What I am doing for my people as an influencer is yet to come out, something that will make women be safer. Just like I tweeted the other day, ‘Namibia what is happening, violence in the country is a growing concern,” he added.

Gospel musician D-Naff said he strongly condemns GBV in the country while stating that he has redirected his music as he plans to release a project he had worked on with rapper Lioness.

“I think we need to redirect our attention and start doing music with a strong message that speaks to our people even if it’s through Gospel – just the same way we spread the word of God through it, we can always fuse it with lyrics that speak on social issues.”

D-Naff further supported Gazza’s sentiment saying that some people are simply just making noise for the internet but failed to come up with other means to use their influence.

He said, “I showed up at the protest without posting anything. It doesn’t need to be a thing for the internet and that is why I say, we need to redirect our attention as influencers.”

D-Naff further emphasised the need for aggressive intervention from the creative industry stating that GBV in the country had now gotten out of hand.

“There is a need for fathers to prioritise men to men talks with their boys when growing up. I believe if we fix men, we fix the whole world. It is not easy but it can be done.”

Musician Mushe Uulenga also pointed out that influencers could do more regarding GBV.

“I am totally against GBV but as much as we celebrities love showing off on the internet let us do it for the right purpose. It is not supposed to be a competition about who protested or not.”

He added that with the huge influence musicians have on the Namibian people; he will be looking at releasing new music that condemns GBV.

Meanwhile, award winning musician TopCheri said, in support of violence against women, she had been attending the demonstration ever since it started.

“I have been there every day to show my support because this is a topic very close to my heart. It is not something I am doing for social media but through using my brand to reach out to a bigger audience and because I want the law to be strengthened.”

Model Leena Shipwata also mentioned that she had been at the demonstration since day one to support fellow Namibian women.

“It is not about being seen there, it is about holding hands and fighting this together. We are tired, women are tired! There is a need for someone to say something every day to show how tired we are. One of the things we are pushing for is for women to refrain from withdrawing cases. I am definitely doing this for the cause,” she said.

TV personality Pombili Shilongo said with the support of UNFPA and NAPPA, she has engaged with adolescents and young people including those with disabilities in six regions and also through media such as radio, Facebook and Instagram on GBV and Covid-19 prevention and accessing available response services.

“These platforms have created a safe and non-judgmental space for getting help from available services, increase in awareness on prevention tips including being able to identify red flags.

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In a nutshell, we want a community that cares for each other.”

Poet Niita Shikongo said the only take anyone should have on GBV is to be firmly against it, and to do everything in their power to advocate for survivors as well as for more effective systems to be put in place to prevent and combat it.

She said, “I express my activism through my poetry, on my social media platforms and through discussions with friends and acquaintances. GBV is a deeply-rooted social issue which requires us all to make the effort to influence those in our immediate circles to encourage a shift in their mindsets.”