FROM THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART,NAKALE SPEAKS

By Shasimana Uugulu
September 2010
Culture
For an artist known for his explicit lyrics, taking a biblical statement to headline Nakale might be deemed pure heresy by many.

However, Sadrag Nakale yaNakale affectionately known as Nakale does have a lot of this on his heart. From his rage at being called ‘Omakishi’, to being the only survivor of the triplets who rose to music’s dizzy heights, to his explicitness and lately, Mokombanda his latest album, Nakale rarely grants interviews and when he does, he bares his heart and soul.

First, he has an issue with people name-calling those with the albinism condition like him as “Omakishi” and is calling on the government to protect people born with the condition from such emotional abuses.

“Government must enact laws and regulations to protect us who are born with the albinism condition from being called “Omakishi”, similar to the ones enacted at independence that prohibited former “Koevoet” members from being called “Omakakunya’,” he says.

The Twelinekelwa hit maker says he finds it distressing to be called “Ekishi” when one has a name and adds that the title brings emotional torture to albinos, and make them suffer from within.

“Being an artist sometimes I visit primary schools and pupils will be saying to each other, ‘ileni mu tale ekishi’ (come and see the albino). It’s like whenever a black person walks past whites, and then they all say, ‘come and see this black person.’ I do not think blacks will like that. We do not want to be called by derogatory terms, let alone discriminative ones.”

Although ‘Omakishi’ is a disparaging term used for people with albinism, in African folklore it means ‘monster’, something which Nakale says haunts him.

He does not blame children using the discriminative term but rather, thier parents.

“These kids were not born speaking such offensive words; they learned them from their parents who are inconsiderate towards our feelings as people with the albinism condition. There is a need to promote a culture of tolerance and of implanting reasonable terminologies in children’s minds.”

Just as other derogatory remarks, such as “Kaffir” were banned from an independent Namibia, for Nakale, the term ‘Ekishi’ should also be banned and people should be called by their names and not their skin colour or condition.

Nakale rose to national stardom in 2008 when he featured in Tate Buti’s album Otendela, with hit song Twelinekelwa.

Before signing with Omalaeti Music in 2009, Nakale had been singing and featuring at functions in Northern Namibia, since the age of nine.

“My late father Timoteus Jakop Nakale was an evangelist and was assigned for missionary work to Okongo when we were small kids. So, as members of a Christian family we were expected to go to church every Sunday, and my father would wake us up to prepare for church in the morning,” says the comic artist, who is now in his mid-forties, but too youthful for his age.

Nakale was born as a triplet. His two other brothers, Abednego and Mesag who both had albinism and have since passed on.

“Our father taught us to pray and we always attended Sunday School where singing was the order of the day. We did not only sing at Sunday Schools, the three of us became lead singers of Ekoka Combined School Choir.”

The triplets then began sneaking out of the house and go to nearby Cuca shops during the weekends to sing church songs and they would also mix their own words in the lyrics so as to attract crowds.

“At the Cuca shops, we would get 10 cents and other gifts for singing. People were impressed and stories spread from one community to the next about our singing talent and hence we became known as Ovakwaita vokOkongo (Soldiers From Okongo). The fan base just grew without our knowledge,” he explains.

Wedding invitations, church functions, and other ceremonies around the areas of Ongandjera, Ombalantu and Ondonga areas, became the order of the day.

“We did not mind how far it is we were performing, as long as the person inviting us was ready to pay our transport costs and our N$ 350 perfomance fee.”

Because of the public demand for Ovakwaita vokOkongo songs, the triplets decided to record their songs on cassettes and later on CD with an Oshakati based DJ who, according to Nakale was “unprofessional.”

“We were fighting to become professional singers and have our songs on CDs;. However our first CD was not a success, and was recorded without instruments.”

The group was dealt a heavy blow when the other brother, Messah died in 2002.

The fight to become professional artists for the two remaining brothers was however about to change when Tate Buti contacted them to feature on Otendela in 2006.

Tate Buti subsequently introduced Nakale and Abednego to Omalaeti Music where they were awarded a two year recording contract which according to Nakale made him a professional artist.

Their first album with Omalaeti was Ondjokana oodhigu (Marriage is difficult).

Tragedy hit agains= when Abednego died two months after the album was launched when he was hit by a 4X4 Toyota bakkie while hiking to Ongwediva from Okongo.

Riding on the success of Ondjokana odhigu (Marriage is difficult) and the heartbreak of losing his ‘soul brother’, Nakale was back in the studio.

This was time for Ohungi yaakuluntu, aka Blue Music a controversial album which left tongues wagging in different circles because of its explicit lyrics..

Nakale describes the album as one of his lifetime achievements.

“I am proud to say that out of the whole of Namibia and probably the world, I am the first person to do a blue music album. The world is used to hearing about blue Mondays and blue Movies but I brought out ‘blue music’ and my fans should look forward to more creative and innovative work in the future.

“I want my fans to know that I am still strong although my singing style has changed a bit because of the departure of both my brothers whom I used to collaborate with. A single voice is not the same as three different voices but I promise I will deliver.”

His latest album Mokombanda is a masterpiece. The album has 17 tracks on it, of which 13 are sung by Nakale while Tate Buti, Adora, Qondja and PDK feature in the remaining four tracks respectively.

His favourite songs from Mokombanda are Wadimbwa ne Nayini featuring Adora, Ngenge Tweya featuring Tate Buti and Oyilonga yange.

“Most songs on the album are just my favourites including Okongo featuring Qondja and She is the One featuringPDK but it is up to my fans to decide which songs are their favourites.”

According to Nakale, fans should not be afraid to invite him to sing now that he is alone and he jokingly adds that he can always organise a group of talented singers from his village.

“Okongo is blessed with many guys who are very good singers and anyone interested in inviting me to sing at their weddings can always contact Omalaeti management and make arrangements. You will see.”

A staunch advocate for anti-piracy, Nakale says real fans are those who support him by buying original copies of his work and those who care about the input and time an artist spend in coming up with such a product.

“Those that claim to love my songs yet pirate or buy pirated songs are not fans but real threats and enemies who are bound on destroying the music industry by stealing someone’s hard earned work without any consideration,” he adds.

Though now firmly established, Nakale considers himself upcoming still, despite his household name and prowess.

“As upcoming artists, we look up to the established artists and we want to sing at their levels but how can we achieve that if some of them do not want to feature us?” he said. He adds that there is still need to encourage more collaboration among local artists.

Although he has never won a musical award, Nakale remains adamant about entering the 2010 Sanlam/NBC Music Awards to be held at the end of the year.

“I leave that to my managers at Omalaeti. I have stated already that there is need for an improvement in the management and running of those awards. My managers will decide and if I do participate in the Sanlam/NBC awards it will be up to my fans to decide if they want me to win an award or not through their votes.”

Despite the explicitness that came with his blue music album, he maintains that his songs are meant for everyone whether old or young and he always hides the messages in his songs which one can pick up if listening with the heart.

All the same he maintains that government has not protected his kind and could do more as talent is vast in people with albinism.PF