Makurunganga live up to their name

10 April 2015

ent Makurunganga 10 aprilIt is almost 1 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and a classroom full of learners listens attentively as their stern looking teacher gives them homework for the day.

 The final bell rings, but unlike most learners who run out of the classroom without the consent of their teacher, these learners wait patiently for him to dismiss them.

The teacher walks out of the classroom, and only when a smirk creeps on to his face as he spots me do I recognise him, it’s DJ Glob, one half of the Makurunganga.

What most people don’t know is that DJ Glob and DJ Zille are teachers by day and artists by night.

The afro-pop/house duo proved that they are living up to their name when they recently received four nominations for the 2015 Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs).

The name Makurunganga loosely translates as “experts in music” in their native language of Rukwangali. The first time NAMAs nominees have been involved in the music industry for close to 12 years, although they only entered for the awards this year.

They met when they were both at varsity, and at the time, DJ Zille was in another group known as G-Wax.

“Initially, we started a record label and had a few artists under it. We recorded our own songs as well but we just never released them as we preferred to stay behind the scenes,” they said.

Their label enjoyed relative success as they produced a couple of NAMAs nominated artists. Apart from managing artists, they also helped organise some of the best music concerts in Rundu, hosting artists such as The Dogg and Gazza.

Makurunganga also made a name for themselves in Rundu as DJs, playing at various events.

“In 2011, we decided to come out from behind the scenes because we were not achieving the results we desired from some of our artists. We released our debut album Dikushere that same year and we received great feedback from our fans,” they explained.

The great reception encouraged them to enter their second album into the NAMAs in which they have been nominated for Song of the Year, Best Duo, Best Afro-pop (inclusive of Township Disco) and Best Event of the Year for their album launch that drew in hundreds of spectators.

“The NAMAs are a good platform for us to increase the visibility of our music and also widen our fan base,” they said.

They believe the NAMAs will also be an honest indicator of how people rate their music, because it depends on not only their nominations but also the number of awards they take home.

However, not winning would not divert them from their path, and if anything, it would motivate them even more and compel them to pull up their socks.

Makurunganga are one of the few groups in the industry who can honestly say working together has been a walk in the park due to their shared goals and similar upbringing.

“It is much harder for us managing artists than it actually is working together...We have shared interests and we share the same background, we are a lot like cousins,” the duo said.

They have already started recording their third album, featuring multi-award winning artist Gazza, Neslow and producer Arafat on some of their tracks.

However, they have put the album on hold until after the NAMAs because they are about to commence their nomination tour.

Much can be said about these two teachers who have actively pursued their two dreams, which are worlds apart, but one hopes that their learners take a page from their book and never stop trying to live their dreams.
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