By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK He is a maverick musician and instrumentalist from the 80s who has stood the tough test of time and is still graciously maturing. He is none other than solo artist Whani, who has just released his first CD and is working on another. “I started off my musical career with some of the great Namibian musicians such as the late Squana and the late Wiks Louw, first as a lead singer and then as a lead guitarist for 13 years in bands such as the then Chikito’s. When the band folded, I was forced to find a more secure a job as an ice-cream seller for the next 10 years,” said Whani with fond memories. Whani then embarked on a self-taught crusade in mastering the keyboard as an advanced musical instrument at the time. “I felt quite at ease with the instrument and in 1996 I decided to turn solo artist. I decided then that I didn’t need a band to back me up anymore. Those were anyway trying times having a full-time band on one’s plate. It took me some time to put together a suitable repertoire, but I finally made it, entertaining people at weddings, year-end functions, and official street openings for the Windhoek City Council on a contract basis and at parties. The rest is history,” the musician says with a wink in the eye. To him and other self-taught musicians it was a tough time rising to the top due to the competitive nature of the musical entertainment business in the country. “We had to sacrifice a lot in obtaining our goals and expensive musical equipment to make a living. We were most times also forced to lower our gig fees just for survival’s sake. I am now much more wise and have found my musical forte in the corporate entertainment world. These people don’t hassle, they pay. My work is much in demand and highly appreciated on that score,” said a happy Whani, who hails from Worcester near Cape Town. He focuses on music for old and young because he sees himself as an all round musical entertainer. “My repertoire includes oldie music of Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, the Ojays, the Commodores and the Manhattans. Namibian audiences just love this kind of music of days gone by. I also like to play music of artists such as Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink. This music is also reflected through medleys on my CD with 21 songs on it, fast and slow,” said Whani, who also appeared with Cape Town musicians such as Walter Brown, Claude Brown and the Rockets. Whani, who has been involved since the age of 11, hopes to bring out his second CD in December this year. His first CD costs N$80 and can be bought at outlets such as Woermann, Brock, the Total service station in Khomasdal, Caltex and in the Wernhil Mall.