Windhoek-The executive committee of the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) has moved to ban musician and singer Blossom for 12 months, effective November 11.
The ban “is conditional, on the bid, that Blossom extends a public apology, failure of which will leave no option but for the executive committee of the NAMAs to extend the ban with another year,” a statement issued by the NAMAs executive committee said.
“The ban prohibits Blossom from attending or performing at the NAMAs, irrespective of whether the latter actions are by invitation or through third party acquaintances, or as an entourage, supporting act for a contracted, commissioned artist and from conducting any work or business with the NAMAs,” said the statement.
The singer, whose real name is Ruusa Munalye, and who was the 2013 Best Female Artist at the NAMAs, finds herself in a political storm after posting on her social media page “Okwankara eeta ondjala,” which loosely translates as ‘A spendthrift has brought hunger.’ The word ‘okwankara’ is a highly offensive and derogatory reference that is often directed at Damara, Nama, and San people.
The comment caused a furore on social media with many perceiving it as an insult directed at Namibian President Hage Geingob, although she did not name him in her posts.
NAMAs executive chairperson Umbi Karuaihe-Upi was quick to point out that the decision to suspend Blossom “did not come as a result of Blossom criticizing the presidency – if the remarks are in its entirety directed to the president in his professional capacity – but purely because of the use of the word “kwangara” which the NAMAs completely denounce and reject.”
Blossom did not comment when New Era reached out to her, only responding via a text message, after having requested that questions be sent to her because she was driving, saying: “I dnt have time.”
Karuaihe-Upi maintained that the NAMAs is a platform that unites all Namibians with the universal language being music, and artistes need to realise that they are role models in their own way.
“We have also taken note of the use of the name, Namibian Annual Music Awards in her social media comments which brought the name of this reputable institution in disrepute. We have officially communicated this decision to Blossom via email,” Karuaihe-Upi revealed, reiterating that the ban is not a punishment to Blossom, but an action to protect the reputation and integrity of the NAMAs.
“A strong warning needs to be sent to all artistes that if they wish to associate themselves with the NAMAs, they have a responsibility to behave and completely desist from making tribal, racial remarks or act in a manner that is unbecoming and undignified to the ideals of nation-building, because music is about unity,” she said.
Blossom had already suffered a blow on Thursday when Bank Windhoek cancelled her from the line-up of artistes who were scheduled to perform at the bank’s fun day over the weekend.
A public relations officer at the bank told New Era on Thursday that Bank Windhoek had taken note of the controversy surrounding Blossom’s social media statements and as a result had decided to distance itself from the comments made.
“Blossom was contracted through a third party to appear at the fun day and we have contacted them in this regard. She has since been withdrawn from the line-up,” the official wrote in an electronic reply to this newspaper.