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Three Namibians Whose Names You Should Know

Obed Emvula, chairman of the government-run Namibia Film Commission, is the man responsible for getting Namibia’s name mentioned in the 2016 Oscars so frequently. He is also the writer and producer of the film Katutura,

On the heels of another independence celebration, Applause celebrates Namibia, one of the most politically and economically stable countries on the African Continent, with it’s capital city—Windhoek—widely recognized as one of the African continent’s cleanest cities. After a 24-year war, Namibia gained independence in 1990 from the apartheid government of South Africa.

Namibia’s sand dunes and natural habitat have provided the backdrop for Hollywood films like Mad Max, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Cell (2000) and 10,000 B.C. (2008).

Lesser known, though, are some of the country’s creatives and entrepreneurs:

 1. Obed Emvula

Katutura, Namibia's first Independent film. Produced by Emvula

Katutura, Namibia’s first Independent film. Produced by Emvula

Obed Emvula, chairman of the government-run Namibia Film Commission, is the man responsible for getting Namibia’s name mentioned in the 2016 Oscars so frequently. He is also the writer and producer of the film Katutura, the biggest Namibian independent film to date. Emvula has a long history as a champion of Namibia’s film industry, producing and starring in a number of films. In 2007 Emvula co-starred alongside Danny Glover in the first Namibian epic, award-winning Namibia: The struggle for Liberation.

 

2. Frank “Frankie” Fredericks

Namibia's Frank Fredericks, the world's second fastest man.

Namibia’s Frank Fredericks, the world’s second fastest man.

Frank “Frankie” Fredericks is the only man that could stand a chance against Usain Bolt. In his career Fredericks ran under 20 seconds in the 200m 24 times, a record only beaten by the current 100m and 200m Olympic and world champion, Bolt. Fredericks won four silver medals at the Olympic Games (two in 1992 and two in 1996), making him Namibia’s first and so far only Olympic medalist. Fredericks subsequently founded the the Frank Fredericks Foundation which gives scholarships to Namibia’s most promising athletes. He explains: “We want to make sure we give young, talented Namibians the opportunity to become Namibia’s first Olympic gold medalist.”

 

3. Ras Shaheema

Ras Sheehama, Namibia's #1 music pioneer

Ras Sheehama, Namibia’s #1 music pioneer

Ras Shaheema, Namibia’s musical pioneer is a true African—he’s lived in several African countries from Angola to Zambia to Nigeria. The multi-award-winning Afro-reggae musician has performed and recorded with members of the band of Lucky Dube and Stimela. He’s also shared the stage with Manu Dibangu, Salif Keita, Ismael Lo, Lucky Dube, and Brenda Fassie. Ras Shaheema is adored in Namibia for his musical socio-political criticism as well as messages of peace, love and wisdom.

Lolade Siyonbola
Lolade is an author, techie and serial entrepreneur. She is an MA candidate at Yale University where she is pursuing research on immigration, cultural identity and social health.
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