The enigma that is Chris-Paul

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Patrick Haingura, known to his ardent social media followers as Chris-Paul, is loved by some, hated by many, envied by most, yet probably wanted by all, as per the famous quote of bestselling US writer Sherrilyn Kenyon.
In and out of jail for various transgressions – alleged or real – he has lately been spewing political rhetoric to equal his sensational and somewhat lurid reports on local celebrities. In this December 2016 interview Toivo Ndjebela attempts to unpack the enigma that is Chris-Paul.

Toivo Ndjebela (TN): In your own words, who is Chris-Paul?
Chris-Paul (CP): I’m just an independent thinker, hustler, writer, farmer and a mischievous dude as well.

TN: What type of childhood did you have?
CP: As a child I suffered a huge identity crisis. Luckily I was exposed to reading from a very young age. I got a chance to attend the black supplementary school where they taught us the real African history, all the greatness about Africa and everything.

From a young age I knew about Nelson Mandela’s struggle – in fact one supplementary school I went to is called Winnie Mandela School, which we attended on Saturdays. I read a lot as a child. I could quote William Shakespeare from a very young age, so I got lucky in that sense.

TN: Can you tell us about your connection to Britain?
CP: It’s a little bit complicated because when I was young my mom was actively involved in the [liberation] struggle. My mom was constantly in trouble to the extent that she’d be away for even up to nine months and her friends had to take care of us. So she had to ship us to the other side (Britain). I was there when I was a toddler till my early teenage years.

TN: Where are your parents now?
CP: My mother is still alive. She’s in Rundu. My mom is in the UK. My mother is the one who biologically gave birth to me and my mom is the one who raised me.

TN: Where is your father?
CP: My old man passed on in 2004.
TN: What was your relationship with him like?
CP: He’s a Döbra guy, so he was a smart chap in his time. It’s just that he was not really down with the struggle like my mom was. In terms of the relationship, we connected at some level although he had another family.

TN: Who mentored you and who were your childhood heroes?
CP: They have to be in the books. People like Tupac Shakur, Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey are some of my heroes. I’m inspired by the heroes of Pan-Africanism. Malcolm X stands out for me though.

TN: The first time I met you (I was a reporter at Informante in 2007) you were a rap musician. What happened to that?
CP: I lost my album. I used to have a producer named Nel D, who lived in Olympia. I recorded a lot of songs, but his studio crashed. I had songs with Lil D, Berthold, Jewel and others, but the studio just crashed. Eclipse told me at the time to wait till he was done with KK’s album, but just before he finished, he died in that accident. From then I just lost interest.

TN: You beefed a lot with Jericho then. What was that about?
CP: It all had to do with jealousy, because I was just an upcoming kid. People started making some comparisons between him and I, undeservedly so, and he didn’t like that. It got bad that it went to the streets and I was not even allowed to go to Damara Location. They (Jericho’s fans) threatened to kill me. But we worked it out. We sat down at his house and talked it out.

TN: You then worked for, or with, Gazza but things somehow didn’t work out. You seem to still hold grudges against him.
CP: What happened is that I was this kid that had brilliant ideas and he had the connections. I was an inexperienced kid that was just well-read. We partnered in the 411 Magazine. So he made me a lot of promises – words, words and words. He wasn’t bringing his side to the table.
To be honest we didn’t even have money in the bank. When things started getting better, with advertisers such as MVA Fund and Kia Motors coming on board, he tried to play me out of the project. He wanted more shares than me, so we fell out from there.

TN: How is he as a person?
CP: He’s a very smart guy – you have to credit him for that. The only problem is that he somewhat thinks that being his friend, because he is Gazza, is enough. He doesn’t reciprocate the same courtesy. He takes care of his family, but that sometimes affects other people. He’s a smart guy who can use you. He burns his bridges.

TN: You have said pretty damaging stuff to many a local celebrity, to the extent you were charged when you asked someone to bring you the head of singer Chè Ulenga. Is this your strategy to succeed in the media business, or what drives you to such extremes?
CP: Chè and I used to flirt and I thought we were friends. She always struck me as someone who is ‘street’ – a gangster girl. So I wrote on my Facebook that whoever brings me her head in a brown paper bag, I’ll pay them N$15 000. I even tagged her in that status update, because I thought she would take it kindly. So people encouraged her to open a case against me. She thought I was beefing, but to me it was all love. I made a stupid joke, but I won that case.

TN: With the benefit of hindsight, would you have handled that joke differently?
CP: I would. I lost money in legal fees from that stupid joke.

TN: You also say disparaging things about TV presenter Pombili. What’s the background to that and are you, through such attacks, not destroying the young woman’s career?
CP: With Pombili it’s all love. I love her, it’s just that I don’t like showing people I love them. When I make pure satirical fun of you, it means I recognise you. With Pombili it’s pure jokes. I love her, she’s a beautiful black woman – it’s just that this is in my line of work. She’s beautiful. It’s nothing disrespectful.

TN: You are talking a lot of politics lately. Why is that?
CP: I think, number one, it’s age. I’m more mature and want to talk about things that matter. Secondly, I’m talking a lot of politics lately because of Job [Amupanda]. My friends would tell you that I advised Job and trained him how to use social media to further one’s own cause and to avoid litigation, because I’ve been doing this for years.
Later I didn’t like what he was doing and I tried to speak to him. I told him that he was using people for self-gratification. He is a smart man, but he thought I was getting at him. I helped create a monster that is Job. Thirdly, it’s my followers who encouraged me to provide a voice on politics and I somewhat agreed.

TN: Do you have any political ambitions?
CP: None. I keep saying that I’m not a Swapo member. Yes, I’m a Swapo child. My mom is a Swapo veteran. She is a registered veteran. I don’t have a Swapo membership card and have never voted in my life. I don’t subscribe to parties. I’m not a follower, I’m my own man. Following Swapo would have limited me to play within their regulations and constitution. I won’t be allowed to say some of the stuff I say. I’ll be expected to clap hands. I support government and Swapo where they do well, but I also criticise them.

TN: What’s the background to your perpetual attacks of Job Amupanda?
CP: They say you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. We were all part of AR (Affirmative Repositioning) and have helped build it to what it is today, but we realised it has a difference agenda, which is to destabilise government.
I did my own investigation and it is clear Job is in the process of enriching himself at the expense of the youth that support him. He is a smart general and I wouldn’t have a problem if he was straight about his intentions. But only the less-informed and blind followers would continue to believe in him.
He criticised government over how it deals with the Chinese, but he was at the same time dealing with the Chinese. He probably thinks I’m an irrelevant retard, but I know he’s focusing more on business these days. I partly felt guilty because I helped create him.

TN: But how are you different from Amupanda then when you yourself attack people publicly to create a brand for yourself? Isn’t that exploitation of your followers too?
CP: The difference between me and Job is simple. He is an academic and I’m an intellectual.

TN: It is said that you get paid to publicly attack AR. How do you respond to that?
CP: My man, as things stand, I’m not doing well financially. I stopped printing my magazine because of this situation. Some of my funders are AR sympathisers, so they withdrew their support. To claim that I get paid by the President (Hage Geingob) or people in his government is bollocks. I don’t think the President even knows who Chris-Paul is.

I dare anyone with proof to come forth and produce it. If anyone was giving me money, I’d be twice bigger than I am right now.

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