One of Namibia’s leading Kwaito stars, Morocky Mbwaluh, aka The Dogg, recently published his autobiography titled,Ther Dogg: Untold Story. As part of the reading culture campaign launched by the New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) in conjunction with the Minister of Education, Honourable Dawid Namwandi, Artlife has been serialising this autobiography each Friday.
Music is my life and my business. I was with DJ Mo and never got paid; I signed with Ma Rihana and never got paid; Isack managed me for a while and still I never got paid. I got tired of operating under Mickey Mouse managers and record labels. That’s why I had to do my own thing and start signing my own pay cheque. First, I had to set up my own record label.
Mashasho record was conceived in 2013. I am not sure which date exactly, but I picked its anniversary for the month of May. Apart from my current manager at the time, Mr Jay Malgas, I think the people I first worked with did not really know much about the music industry. To make matters worse, these guys gave me far less that I deserved or, at times, nothing at all.
In Oshikwanyama, the word omshasho refers to a shotgun or rifle normally used for hunting. In our household, my uncle had about three of them, which we used for hunting. In most cases, they were used them on the farm. I chose to call my record label Mshasho Records because our music reached a lot of people. You may be wondering how this relates to the aspects of a gun. Though I do not own one, I must confess that I like guns. For example, when you fire a shotgun, the bullet discharged spreads out like water from an irrigation pipe. It then has a result of reaching several targets. In the same vein, music from Mshasho Records spreads out there and reaches so many people. We shoot people with music. Our music sales and fan base speak for themselves.
Being the sole founding member, it’s obvious that I was the first artist under Mshasho Records. Sunny Boy was the second artist I signed to the record label. The guy has talent; I think himself and Tre Van Die Kasie are equally talented. These are guys who read a lot and this is reflected in their lyrics. On the other hand, I happen to be the opposite –I do not like reading. I regard myself as an observer; I just look at what someone does and I try it on my own, teach myself through repetition until I muster it. Information technology has boomed and the music industry is not in isolation. Unlike in the past, computer software is playing a key role in the production of music. I realised the need to master a keyboard, and after appropriating Killa’s keyboard, I taught myself how to use it and am still learning. Back in the days, I used to watch what producers were doing on a computer and when I came home, I would try it out. This is how I learnt some of the skills that made me who I am today. The same applies to my driving – no one taught me how to drive a car, it’s just my observant nature that helped me master the art of driving. Songs that I did with Tre or Sunny are hits mainly because of the differences in us as musicians, and how our personalities and characters complement each other.
I used to see Sunny during my university days, but we did not really click as musicians or friends. On the hit track So Twaya, I featured a friend called Carlo. He introduced Sunny to me after the release of my first album and we bonded musically. I remember Sunny and myself featuring on Carlo’s track back then, after that, it was quite obvious that our love for music would draw us closer.
Quite often, Sunny would hang around at my place, while I was writing songs and working on music. There were times when he would only leave my place at twelve in the evening. It was during this time that I inspired him to do some songs such as Ongwediva, This Life Is Lekka, the hit song Serious and Ubuntu Wa Bantu from his first album. This was before he recorded Koko with Gazza and other songs with so many other artists who practically queued up work with him. He had his hits by then, they were just unreleased yet.
It is no secret that I am admirer of the South African-based Kwaito artist, Mandoza. My dream of one day performing alongside him came true. This happened sometime in 2005. Gazza and I were contracted to perform with Mandoza for the Coca Cola Road show in Oshakati, and then later in Walvis Bay. The guy is talented and very intelligent. I was privileged to have spent some time with him after the performances. We played pool and chatted for hours in the hotels where we were accommodated. He advised me as to how I should invest my money in the industry and told me so many things I have found relevant in the industry today. Mandoza also encouraged me to work hard and follow the rules of the game, that way I can be a success and earn a living. In the same vein he said it is advisable to invest in real estate instead of cars and less valued items. He also discouraged me from spending money on women.
The year 2005 means so much to me since it is the year I met my lovely girlfriend, and the mother to our daughter, our firstborn. I was performing in Tsumeb and remember spotting this beautiful girl. She just attracted me. Her name is Nomvula. After the show, I gathered my courage and called her. This was actually my first time to approach a girl and so this experience was to a certain extent quite overwhelming. As usual back then, I was under the influence of alcohol that night. I remember asking her if she has a boyfriend and we had a conversation regarding that. Strange as it may be for someone my age, I don’t go around looking for girls or anything like that as they are ones that normally approach me. Most girls would approach a guy in my position to get something they want, and after getting it , they would vanish. I am fortunate that she did not vanish out of my life and our relationship has grown.
Our daughter Magano was born on 5 May, 2006. My recollection of events is that I did not want to be around during birth. I got a call from my girlfriend’s sister saying my child was born. This made me rush off to the Windhoek Central Hospital immediately. Seeing my child touched me deeply, and I think for about two days thereafter, I could not sleep. This picture of my baby girl was stuck in my mind. Reminiscing of how it all unfolded that day is memorable, though I somehow felt empty; I could feel butterflies in my stomach.
It is with pride that I named her Magano, my sister’s namesake. My sister is my guardian angel and an inspiration to me. She has always been there by my side, through thick and thin. When she was out of the country with my aunt and during her university years in South Africa for studies, we still kept in touch and the bond has always been tight.
My daughter shares some common characteristics with me like arrogance, for example. I have also come to realise that she is short-tempered. She has this attitude, which I have, that I just admire. Personally, I attribute this to the fact that she was born the same month as me, in March.
That same year, in 2005, I got to meet my daughter’s godmother, Hilda Basson Namundjembo. Meme Hilda, as I call her, owns an events and artists management company called Oxygen Communications. Her company was organising the Sanlam/NBC Music Awards in 2005. She got in contact with me to perform at the awards, and, as usual, I gave my quotation for the performance. After that event, she contracted me several times again for performance and, in the process, we got to speak more. As time went by, I would visit her and often seek advice from her concerning my life as an artist, and also as a private person. Our earlier conversations were mostly about my excessive alcohol intake, my fame and conduct, which left a lot to be desired. Meme Hilda guided me through a time when my fame was going through the roof. These were crucial rimes, considering the fortunes that come along with fame to a young man, such as money, women, ego and friends –some fake and some real. For a twenty –two years old exposed to this kind of attention and temptations, a helping hand was needed, if I was to reach the accomplishments I have reached today.
She is not my manager and never has been, but what differentiate her from all the people I have worked with previously, is her teachings. She shows and teaches me the administrative part of the music business. In the past, those that were supposedly working with me did everything in isolation. I never knew how the paper work concerning me as an artist was being administered. I am just a studio kind of guy and thus focused solely on getting in the studio and laying down tracks. This distanced me from everything else that evolved around me until Meme Hilda came along. She taught me, and still continues to teach me the financial aspects of the business.
My record label has grown immensely since she took over the administration of things and all artists under the label. Everything is being done professionally, and there is some form of accountability. This gives me peace of mind because I now have more time to focus on what I do best, which is purely music. Meme Hilda is a media personality and has been in the industry for many years. What I appreciate about her is not just the guidance I get from her as an artist but her being there for me as a mother. This is priceless. The advice she gives me does not compare to any that I get from my family members and relatives. She knows me well and wants to see me succeed in everything I do. It gives me hope and great satisfaction when she paints a picture of how my future should unfold. Besides Killa’s mum, Aunt Taati and Magano, Meme Hilda is the most caring woman I have come to know. She is a pillar of strength. I have always felt free to go to her for anything. A lot of artists suffer financially or in other ways simply because they look the guidance and nurturing in the eye when they become household names, and when the results of fame unfold in their lives. (To be continued next Friday)