It’s been some time since Stolen Moments, the project to retrace and recapture Namibian music history has been heard anything about since launched a few years back.
However the trio behind the project Baby Doeseb (BD), Aino Moongo (AM) and Thorsten Schütte (TS) have been hard at it this would soon culminate in an exhibition.
Originally the aim was to rescue and preserve what otherwise might be lost and forgotten forever. With the help of the media a six months campaign in Namibia’s most popular newspapers was undertaken which helped in addressing themes, subject and questions to the general public on a weekly basis to see what may come up.
The search had been on for old pictures, memories and recordings that could prove how rich and vivid the local musical life was back then calling on all Namibians to restore this decisive gap in the history of this country. Questions to the public included: Where were you in the golden good old days of, Jazz and Jive, Rock, Soul & Disco? The public was also implored to share its memories and tell about the music, trends and styles that were so dear when they were young. Further rediscovering the Namibian musical heritage and its performers was part of the research project. And last but not the least to write history and play an existential role in this National treasure hunt, they were asked to tell their stories and whether they have any recollection, any photos or any record counts.
The response was massive and people came from all walks of life. The bottom line was that they should represent different language groups, different sexes and age groups to cover as much relevant information as possible for the time period focussed on. They met with former musicians, active musicians, the descendants of the musicians that had already passed on, former dancers, singers, Miss Namibia’s, radio people, promoters, photographers, journalists, historians, politicians, social activists – a blend of Namibia’s society. The challenge was that the more questions they asked the deeper it was dug into history. That meant on a practical level that every person met had at least one or two people they recommended. And from the storytelling aspect it meant that’s what started as a nice trip down memory lane about the Namibian pop culture that many times turned into very personal memories connected with hardships and suffering.
At the end of the trip the trio were sitting with over 120 hours of audio interviews in five languages, plenty of visuals that either came as a contribution from the interviewees, private collections or archives that we researched, some film footage and plenty of music recordings of various origin. They also found a lot of old sound reel recordings in the Evangelical Missions Archive, recordings of old pastors who have already passed away, beautiful music but we still don’t know who is playing and we don’t know what people are singing. So all this made us think of how to continue.
After looking at all the materials in front of them, they thought it would be pitiful to just hand it over to the National Archives for safeguarding without letting the world in to
see the beauty and the riches of Namibian popular music. “We want all these untold stories to be heard. But needless to say, we were a little clueless how to go about this, until eventually Aino came up with this idea of an exhibition,” says Doeseb.
But they still need the help of the public. There are still artists they more biographical data and information about and it would also be helpful if anyone have any pictures or any LP/Cassettes at home of them. A list of these artists follow below:
Warmgat (Johannes Mureko )
Archie v. d. Ploeg
Rocking Kwela Boys / Outjo Sisters
Peter Josef !Auxab