Local celebs in boxing knockout showdown

… As MTC flexes muscle against GBV

By John Tuerijama

NUMEROUS incidents of gender-based violence have been immensely reported on locally in recent years and that has prompted leading telecommunications firm MTC to launch a boxing knockout campaign to fight against the scourge.

Responding to questions by Confidente as to why the telecommunication giant chose musicians, television producers, journalists and business owners in the fight against GBV and not footballers, for example, which has a larger platform, MTC spokesman Tim Ekandjo said the key criteria was whether the person is a celebrated Namibian, irrespective of what they do.

“Football has a very huge following and we are aware that the players in the MTC NPL present us with an opportunity and platform to fight a lot of social ills, including gender-based violence, and we will use them at some point but just not for this particular event due to the practicalities involved that will make their participation impossible due to their football commitments and preparations.”

Asked how effective the knockout project would be since it will be a one-night event, Ekandjo said it might only be a one night event, but the conversations and campaign had already started, meaning there will be an effective three-month campaign leading up to the main event.

“This will also not be a once-off event, it is a revolution that we have now started and every revolution starts somewhere,” he emphasised. “The cost is not important, but how much we want to raise is important. We want to raise as much funds so that we channel this to experienced organisations that are dealing with the challenges of GBV,” he said.

Regarding the two trainers (Nestor Tobias and Kiriat Kamanya) and why MTC did not rope in other boxing trainers, Ekandjo said they unfortunately cannot use all boxing stables because the criteria will become an issue. “We therefore opted to use the two stables that we sponsor, have a relationship with, which is easier. We can now also use Kilimandjaro Boxing because they are now also part of the MTC family.”

Speaking during the boxing knockout project launch, National Council Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams said GBV remains one of the biggest social challenges facing Namibia.

Mensah-Williams, herself a human rights campaigner, said: “The statistics are very scary. According to the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare, one in every three married women in Namibia has experienced abuse from their partner or a close relative.”

She further said that research has proven that breaking the silence is the first step towards transforming the culture of gender-based violence. However, what is most unfortunate in Namibia is that victims are typically afraid of speaking out for fear of rejection by the community.

She said they aim to set up an anonymous SMS helpline through which victims can contact counsellors and get help they need from various role players.

Showering MTC with praises on the launch of the ‘knockout project’, she said the company’s brand has over the years become synonymous with corporate social investment. “MTC is ever ready to respond to the social and economic challenges our country is facing by investing millions in projects and social causes, by so doing complementing government and community grassroots efforts.

“There is an endless list of boxers, soccer players, singers, children, women and children who were given a chance by MTC to launch a successful career and lead positive lives,” she reiterated.

Mensah-Williams said that in an often divided world, sport, provides a unique and important connective tissue that can bind people together to take collective action against social ills, such as GBV.

The knockout event is scheduled for 12 October at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort with a total of eight exciting fights lined up. One of Namibia’s most celebrated rappers, NAMA award-winning artist KP Illest, will go up against TV and radio personality, R&B singer, songwriter and MC Paul Da Prince for the Junior Middleweight title.

For the MTC Knockout GBV Heavyweight title, former Energy 100FM’s marketing manager Jossy Joss will go toe-to-toe with Namibian business personality Amos Shiyuka, while NAMA award-winning Gospel artist D-Naff will take on the TV host, producer, creative director and founder of Waka Waka Moo, Luis Munana, for the MTC Knockout GBV Cruiserweight title.

MTC key accounts executive and NBC news anchor Theo Ishuna will take on journalist, news editor, producer and presenter Marco Ndlovu for the Knockout GBV Heavyweight title, while arguable one of Namibia’s best DJs, DJ Cheeze will face off against the rapper and king of Hikwa, Sunny Boy.

In what promises to be an unforgettable encounter famed Namibian businessman Johnny JJD Doeseb will take on outspoken UNAM lecturer and activist Job Amupanda.

For the MTC Knockout GBV Jr Middleweight title, Hip Hop artist, producer, radio presenter and MC Mappz Kapofi takes on Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) Corporate Communications and Online Media Manager Mufaro Nesongano.

Mikel Jes Music Productions, managing director Michael Vermeulen, will face musical icon Tate Buti in what is expected to be a bloodied encounter on the night.