Ode to a forgotten musical icon – Danny Ndundu Ketjiperue 1947 – 2016

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Windhoek

Just as Namibia was about to celebrate her 26th anniversary of democratic birth, the local music industry woke up to the sad news that one of her most celebrated musicians, Danny Ndundu Ketjiperue, has bowed out of life.

The much-liked former Bee Bop Brothers (BBB) rhythm guitarist started his long and winding musical journey in Windhoek’s old location, modern day Hochland Park. Back in the day, BBB were indeed the trendsetters in the genre of the modern day pop music while many other local bands were hooked to Mbaqanga jive.  Danny, as the likeable afro-haired muso was affectionately known amongst his musical peers, returned to his native land in 2011 after 38-years in self-imposed exile that saw him spent a significant chunk of those years in the New York, United States of America (USA).

Like many boys his age at the time, Danny’s musicality was discovered during the popular Oruuano church sermons where he would sing in the choir.  Growing up in a diverse multi-cultural society, he was amongst very few privileged kids who were enrolled at the revered M. H. Greef Primary School, a learning institution specifically tailored for the offspring of well to do coloured and basters communities. Fascinated by the musical geniuses of legendary saxophonists //Kharixurob Naweb, Leyden Naftali and Johannes “Warmgat” Mureko, Danny took an instant interest in live music and honed his skills on a homemade guitar, a five-gallon container transformed into a guitar box  with nylon strings. It was not long before he found himself performing live gigs with the popular Bee Bop Brothers (BBB) – a resident band at the Claudius Kaunozondunge’s (Katajee) spacious Hall in the old location.

 

The band operated under the stewardship of seasoned saxophonist Hosea Kaitindirua Mahua, Sacky Mahua (lead guitar),  Flemmy Hengari (bass & vocals),  Baby Tjirimuje (drums & lead vocals), Coskey Ngaizuvare (vocals), Bethuel Tjituera (guitar) and Ricky Katjivirue (drums) as well as the Ngezemba siblings Kandijee and Haitii. As fate would dictate, Danny left the country into exile at the height of the civil war in neigbouring Angola in 1974. He was caught up in the cross fire between Unita and MPLA.

His next stop was Zambia, where he was detained in a Lusaka prison before he was eventually freed. With a little bit of help from friends, he managed to escape from his ordeal and went to the USA.

However, those close to him reveals that bro Danny never had it easy during a turbulent lifetime in the Apple City (NY). And while many of his peers found scholarships to advance their academic careers in various professions – Danny was fated to  sporadic odd jobs. His last live performance was at the Katutura Youth Complex where he collaborated with his protégé Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa in December last year.  The pair teamed up to take revelers at the jam-packed hall through the motions of the cover version of the Beatles hit song This Boy. Danny was found dead in his room in the Katutura residential area on Sunday

 

 

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