Hishishi Papa ‘Africa is being remote controlled’

Namibian artist Hishishi Papa Interview

Written by oNampa
The younger generations may not know Hishishi Papa, but I believe because of that or especially because of that I needed to point this man out. This man is a visionary who besides the despair of lost cultures would like to see his people obtain complete freedom. Complete freedom that should be attained by restoring African pride through practicing our identities, indigenous knowledge and reducing the greed of the people. He says we are free when we can practice our culture and get recognised for it individually and internationally. But currently, even though Africa or Namibia has gained independence, it is still being colonized mentally as we accept more from that the outside has to offer instead of what is inside us. Thus he says Africa is being remote-controlled.

He has enough criticism of African men except maybe for the likes of Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Gaddafi, Kaunda and Mugabe. In his opinion, African men have become cowards. Some of those that started out as young liberators have lost the connection with their ancestors and their spirituality. “Okaghalu komeesho” has become the new Namibian culture, which he defines as eyes that have become bigger for richness and makes us lose our cultural personality. Hishishi Papa places great emphasis on humbleness as a necessary tool for unity. He adds on that respecting one’s own culture will make you respect somebody else’s culture. Equally important for the positive growth and development of a country is to build up ones people first, he says. This should start at childhood when being aware of children’s capabilities and interests can steer them into the right direction for their future.
But besides his political opinions, those that know the man know that he is about art. He is a Namibian musician and visual artist, whose basic instruments are his hands and feet. He likes to play drums and the harmonica, but credits his biggest instruments to the melody and rhythm in him which he uses to create his sounds like by clapping hands. This alert artist draws part of his inspirations from some of Namibia’s biggest musicians like Jackson Kaujeua Sr and Kwela who was basically family as he fathered a child with Ndasunye’s father’s sister. His upbringing where music was celebrated as a tool that brought and bound people together has also influenced him richly. The revolutionary music of the likes of Peter Tosh likely played a big impact on him through their conscious liberation sounds and veiled messages.
Hishishi Papa had been nominated for a NAMA 2012 award in the category of Best Music Video for his song “Mukadhona Gwandje”, a nomination he says is not his, but belongs to the guy that did the video and did the good job. Also, because of his youth this means more to him than to Hishishi Papa who believed that if this brought happiness to the young man then it was a shot worth taking. Personally, he does not like to enter these kinds of competition as he feels that the Namibian music industry is not fair to its people.
His music is mainly targeted at Aawambo, who seemed to have lost their culture. He says that the men used to be protective of their women, contrary to what is happening today. Men tried to see the future and cater for these needs for the future generations. Since this culture of Ubuntu has been lost he sings in his language to appeal to his people to try and restore that. With his song “Aantu aantu” meaning people are people he tries to explain that everybody, even leaders must look to their people because it is them that carried you to where you are.
For him the message in his music is for tomorrow. He believes that generations still to come will be the ones to appreciate it in the future. According to Ndasunye, as he is called by those that know him personally, many young Namibian people are still proud to be foreigners in their own land, and are not able to appreciate his music as they are not yet proud of who they are. His music seems to be more appreciated in other countries where people are proud of who they are and are not ashamed of their cultures. He isn’t worried though, because as he says in his own words “ the child that is refused sometimes becomes the builder of the house.” His music is very spiritual and filled with proverbs. Therefore his music is also for his ancestors.
Hishishi Papa Namibian Artist interviewed by oNampa
His respect for his ancestors and elders is very evident in the things he says. He left me with the obvious realization that it is important to sit down and listen to the wisdom of our elders as they usually tend to not have the need to compete against us, in contradiction to peers where conversation may become stifled at times because of the awareness and presence of competition. I was left inspired.

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