By Moses Magadza
Nobody leaves their mother’s womb empty-handed in terms of talents and this world would be full of successful people if only people knew what they were good at and stuck to it.
Sadly, many people plod through life in severe distress and failure because they ignore their talents and try to emulate others or compete in fields for which they are not cut. It is time people ignored parental and peer pressure and just did “their own thang!”
This is the message that two hot upcoming musicians Matilda Simasiku, a.k.a. Candy and Victoria Naunyango, a.k.a. Sisty are spreading as they brace to rock Namibia’s music landscape.
A chance meeting between the two young Namibian women in 2005 was the opening gambit of a close association and collaboration in a musical project that now seems set to catapult them into instant stardom.
They were introduced by Candy’s elder sister.
A few minutes after exchanging pleasantries and engaging in chit-chat, the young people realised that they were birds of a feather and shared several common interests, chief among them music and dancing.
Today they are inseparable and perform original dancehall music under the trade name Vanity.
“We chose the name Vanity because it had a lot of significance in our lives.
To us, vanity means self-indulgence and self-praise. We believe that sometimes in life we work hard and achieve something and when that happens, one needs to pat oneself on the back and say ‘well done’. People will not always praise you for the good that you do and you have to set your own goals and praise yourself when you achieve those goals,” Candy said.
When the two met, Sisty had just come back to Namibia from Britain where she attended high school and had enrolled with the University of Namibia to study law. Candy was employed as a secretary by the Namibian Film Commission.
“We are good dancers. We can dance to any type of music but we particularly love dancing to rhumba, kwasa kwasa, ndombolo and house music,” Sisty said.
Sisty said while she was in London she performed with a very vibrant school band, which was made up of pupils from different parts of Africa. When she met Candy and realised that she too was a talented dancer, the two were hooked together.
Candy said her uncle, popular Namibian musician Ras Sheehama, inspired her to go into music.
“I was also into dancing to kwasa kwasa. One day my uncle came to our house and started playing revolutionary music on his box guitar. That was just after independence and I remember he and I sang Cassinga songs. He taught me to sing along and encouraged me.
“In 2003 I started composing lyrics for my own songs. I would tell my friends that one day I would become a musician. When I met Sisty we continued writing our own songs and wrote so many of them that we decided to record an album,” she said.
“It happened very spontaneously. We never planned to do anything. We shared a common goal and common interests,” Sisty added.
Asked why she quit university, Sisty said she was advised while in high school in London to take a break between high school and university if she wished to enjoy her youth. She did not heed that advice, she said, and midway through college, she realised that all work and no play was not her kind of thing at the time and checked out.
“When I was at Unam, I realised that studying law took up so much of my time and I was not enjoying my youth. I’ll go back to finish my degree later. For now, I am doing what I like,” she said.
Candy said their first album, which will be released by July this year, would have different genres although they plan to settle for dancehall music later.
“The first album will carry R&B, kwasa kwasa, hip hop, ragga and others to show our love for music in general and our versatility. We are at a stage where we are really enjoying our music. People should look out for some serious, energetic dancing,” Sisty said.
Their first public performance was at Windhoek School of Education in 2006. They described the public response to their gyrations as “encouraging”.
They have since performed at various functions. They plan to assemble a live band in future. Their first album, Loose Wrapper is expected out in July. They are also working a promotional video to popularise the new album.
Sisty said people should look out for Meme Meme (mother mother).
“This is a plea to society to be tolerant with children as grow ups and to know that making mistakes is part of growing up. Some children give their parents grief as they grow up, but others grow out of mischief and become responsible, productive members of society in the end. We are saying parents in particular and society in general must be tolerant and empathetic and nurture young people. Many so-called mischievous children have been written off.”
The other song is Do Your Thang. “This song has an Indian flavour but with a vigorous dance. We are saying the best way to succeed is to find out what you like and are good at and then strive to be the best at it. It is a very funky song. People should not imitate others but instead do their own thang,” she said.
Party is another hot song on the maiden album.
“This is a rebuke to people who succumb to mob psychology and peer pressure. All young people love parties and many are invited to parties. It is important to resist mob influence while there. Be yourself.”
As a way of showing their appreciation of the poetry of motion, the girls have come up with Dance Floor Seduction, a highly raunchy dancehall beat.
“Here we express our sexuality which we are very proud of, and our ability to control it,” Candy said.
She said the new album would also carry a kwasa kwasa song, which is dedicated “to our families and those who played a part in our upbringing. It is a happy song of gratitude.”
Asked what their ultimate objective was, Sisty said: “We want to make Vanity a brand name.
We also love clothes, so we plan to go into fashion as well. We want to go international and we are touring Namibia now, promoting ourselves.”
The young musicians who performed at Namibia’s independence anniversary this year in Katutura said life and how people live it inspire them to write songs.