Remembering the legendary Phura
THE news of Ma/Gaisa legend Timotheus ‘Phura’ Duwe’s death came as a shock to many who had followed him and his music, as well as the nation at large. His untimely passing ended a period long illness, as he had been hospitalised since September 2018, according to his close friend and confidant, Gerson Ore-aob. The news was confirmed by his longtime producer Steven !Naruseb, who said Duwe succumbed to the illness on Wednesday 24 April at a Swakopmund hospital. Local artists took to social media to offer their condolences. Big Ben wrote, “He made a genre popular and helped build a movement. He was a part of building a Namibian live music circuit. Shebeens, bars and DJs made money from him. He became a King without marketing gimmicks and PR plans. He lived life. Just being Phura. Atuhe okumaa tui. Salute. RIP,” Neslow wrote, “R.I.P the late ou Phura, your songs have definitely touched and impacted Namibia from tribe to tribe. Heaven’s missing an angel.” Local Damara punch artist Damara Dik Ding referred to Phura as someone who entertained the nation. “I was shocked when I heard the news, i t really saddened me. His music was great and he will always be remembered.” Dik Ding said. Even the younger generation of musicians, like KP Illest, Lioness and Mabuzza offered their condolences. "Rest In Power Legendary Phura, my condolences and prayers to the family, friends and fans during this dark times," Mabuzza wrote. The king of Ma/Gaisa paraded local music, grooved and gave every household a taste of what Ma/Gaisa is. For more than two decades, Phura had been Namibia’s icon in producing music that grew from local to intern a t i o n a l appreciation. The evolution of his music career started in his hometown, Khorixas, when he was a young keyboardist in 1996. As an energetic young artist, he joined a local band from Khorixas known as ‘Moonlight Boys’, where he was a second keyboardist until 1999. He then moved to Swakopmund where he joined the ‘Midnight Stars’. As a second keyboardist and backing vocalist, he had the opportunity to meet a fellow legendary artist Stanley ‘Ou Stakes’, who was a lead vocalist for the ‘Midnight Stars’ band. It was only in 2003 that Phura released his first debut album, titled ‘Tsubates go’. That was the same year he met Steven !Naruseb, who at the time was the producer at Welwitschia Music Production. In that very same year, Phura won a talent competition known as ‘Fame Factory’ for his debut album. In addition, he won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the Sanlam Music Awards and that was the year a star was made. In 2005, Phura released his second album, ‘Tihana tsa xue’ (Is it like that?), with which he won another award at the Sanlam Music Awards, but this time around in the category of ‘Kwiku and Sukus kwasa’. At the beginning of 2007, he released his third album, ‘Mama’s /Guis a =/an’ (Only the mother knows the father), which was a resounding success CD project. In collaboration with Khomas Music Productions, Phura recorded a fourth album, ‘Buru tara’ (I wonder), in 2009. Right after that Phura Music Productions started to work on his fifth album, ‘Uts ha I /kha /=khi’ (Be happy with what you have), which became a big success in 2011. In 2013 he was preoccupied with a political campaign and travelled to China as the only artist on the Swapo Party Youth League ticket. That same year, Phura travelled to South Africa for a festival in Riemvasmaak and later in 2014 released a political album supporting President Dr Hage Geingob, titled ‘!Khari !gam aob’ (Brave fighter). Phura released his eighth album, ‘Ta !husen’ (Don’t give up), in December 2016. Gone too soon, at only 38 years old, Phura is survived by his three children, family and fans.