SOAS Exhibits “Stolen Moments - Namibian Music History Untold”
“Imagine you had never known about the musical riches of your country. Your ears had been used to nothing but the dull sounds of country’s former occupants and the blaring church and propaganda songs that were sold to you as your country’s musical legacy. Until all at once, a magnitude of unknown sounds, melodies and songs appear. This sound, that roots your culture to the musical influences of jazz, blues and pop from around the world, is unique, yet familiar. It revives memories of bygone days, recites the history of your homeland and enables you for the first time to experience the emotions, joys and pains of your ancestors.
There are many reasons why you’ve never heard this music before. It was censored, suppressed, prohibited and made almost impossible to listen to. Its creators are either long gone or have given up on music making, by reasons of adversity, death and despair. And yet this beautiful music exists with a liveliness, as if it had never stopped playing. It is still in the minds of the few who can remember, with the ones who played it, and on those rare recordings that have survived in archives and record collections scattered around the globe. Allow me to share these stolen moments with you.”
During some of the darkest days of apartheid, from the 1950s to the late 1980s, an underground pop culture was underway. It was largely unheard due to a fiercely oppressive regime which favoured censorship and discrimination. Yet, against the odds, a fusion of musical styles was paving the way for Namibia’s own musical identity, one which is showcased in this extraordinary collection of photographs, film, interviews and recordings.
This is such an important exhibition and one which we wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in music from the continent. It revives a lost genre and finally tells the story of those who resisted oppression and created a vibrant music culture despite potentially grave consequences. A “celebration of the stories of Namibia’s unsung musical heroes”.
The exhibition is curated by Aino Moongo. Aino Moongo is also a founding member of the Stolen Moments – Namibian Music History Untold research group that she established together with Eljakim ‘Baby’ Doeseb and Thorsten Schütte in 2010. In 2018, she curated the traveling show Future Africa Visions in Time in Windhoek. Currently she completes her MA in art and curatorial studies within the program art and societies in Africa and works as a project assistant at Iwalewahaus and BIGSAS, University of Bayreuth.
Date: 12 July 2019
Time: 10:30 AM
Finishes: 21 September 2019
Time: 5:00 PM
Brunei Gallery, SOAS
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG