Hairareb: a must-see, naturally Namibian film

06 September 2019
Author   Leonore Tjikune

Hairareb is a new Namibian film directed by Oshoveli Shipoh.  This movie was the most captivating local film I have seen in a long time.  This cinematic effort born in the Land of the Brave premiered at Ster Kinekor, Maerua Mall.  It shows a tragic love story between a man, Hairareb, played by David Ndjavera, and a woman, Iînînis, played by first-time film actor, Claudine De Groot.


The film was produced by Dantagos Jimmy Melani and Ellen Ernst and written by Aina Kwedi, under the production company, Ndapunikwa Investments. 

Spoiler Alert!

Set on a farm near the small town of Otjimbingwe, the plot follows a flashback storyline where a boy finds a diary from the past and begins to read it, revealing the life of his father and hidden truths.
Hairareb a wealthy farmer fighting to stay afloat in the terrible drought, marries a young beautiful woman, Iînînis, with hidden motives. The word Hairabeb means tree glue or wax and is quite symbolic because the lead character is stuck to his past and he cannot let it go.
When he marries, he struggles to open up to her. The couple are opposites with the lead character as a serious, mysterious, quiet and hardworking man, while Iînînis is a curious and talkative young woman.   And yet, both have hidden truths which almost destroy their relationship.
After a few personality clashes and family issues from a greedy alcoholic father and a meddling housekeeper, enhance the storyline.  
The cinematography was well-executed, depicting an American western-style atmosphere of heat and arid conditions. The start of the movie draws you in with the narrator’s stern voice of Hosni Jr Sidney, introducing himself as Hairareb in Damara.  
The dialogue of the movie is in a combination of Damara and English and the film soundtrack features local artists from recently deceased popular Damara musician Stanley and latest releases by RnB musician KK, making it a truly Namibian film experience. 
For most of the cast, Hairareb was their first professional acting experience.   But it doesn’t show.  Their performances were flawless. 
Standout performances of the cast include:  David Ndjavera’s, particularly in the opening scenes; Willem Moller, Aulgulh-Ob- in his portrayal as Iînînis’ Step-father, Maximilian Kadeen Kaoseb (KK), !Nausub- the evil ex-boyfriend, and Hazel Hinda  who played Moira- Hairareb’s trusted housekeeper.  Overall the film had a great acting performance, especially considering the surprising fact that the entire film was shot in two weeks!
First-time feature film director Shipoh said even though directing the film was an intense experience with many challenges, he learned a lot and understood the importance of leadership and managing people. 
 “The biggest challenge was the time span. We shot the entire thing in two weeks. And when we went to the location there was no electricity; we had to use generators. Plus, I lost my voice halfway through production. So, it was tough.  But we eventually overcame everything and the final result is amazing,” a proud Shipoh said. 
Cast members were excited to be a part of the film and shared their interest to continue pursuing acting.
Claudine De Groot, an entrepreneur in the beauty industry by profession, who played the role of IÎNÎNIS, said “I was excited to play my role because I can relate to a lot of things my character went through. Our team was amazing, and sometimes the script was changed on the spot, but we managed and pulled through…I had so much fun. I hope to continue acting and I am keeping my eye open for more auditions.”
First-time actor, Willem Moller, Aulgulh-Ob, was enthusiastic about the film and urged Namibian youth to try acting.  
“I want to continue acting.  I invite young men, and the youth to take up acting and go for auditions. The Namibian film industry is booming.” 
Rnb Singer KK on playing his character, humorously said, “I had friends who said I was playing myself! But it was challenging because it takes a lot to be the bad guy constantly and acting like a psychopath, but It was exciting…” 
The official film release date for the public will be announced at a later stage. 
Follow Hairareb film on Facebook for updates:


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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