LUIS MUNANA : MAN OF THE YEAR!
It would be a shame to walk in to 2019 without us paying tribute to one man that reigned over their 2018. Luis Munana most of you might remember him from as one of the housemates on the ninth season of the reality television series Big Brother Africa, in 2014. Well Luis since then has grown in to a local powerhouse and game changer on a global scene. From successful local creative entrepreneurship to international tours, 2018 was the year Luis stayed the busiest.
Due to his public status, with a combined following of at 170 thousand social media accounts, a lot of people lot of people assume they actually know LuisMunana. Which his charming smirk and resonant voice, Luis says, that is a tricky characterisation, 'There are different versions of Luis Munana people get to see. I obviously have my moments like everyone else, but I decide to put on a persona when it suits my agenda. My close friends and family know who I am though. But for people who support me who’ve kept a close eye. They’d tell you , Luis Munana is a small town boy who was nerdy growing up, became somewhat famous and still stayed the same where his nerdiness and talkativeness is concerned. He just hides it really well!'
Reflecting on his childhood from a small town to being a well traveled adult, Luis seems to have grown up knowing exactly what he would want to be doing in his adulthood. His humble response oozes of self belief and yet humility. 'There’s absolutely no doubt that I’ve always wanted to see the world. I’ve always felt in my heart that there’s more to see out there. I’ve honestly always known I’d globe-trot, it was just a matter of, “It will happen when I’m ready.” I thought I’d explore the world through my studies. While in Grade 12, I contemplated studying abroad getting a degree in one continent then getting a masters from another continent. That didn’t work out so my phase after university saw me globetrotting due to my work.'
Luis has produced Namibia’s first independent lifestyle, fashion and magazine TV show (Voigush), which featured content from Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe South Africa, Nigeria, just to name a few. In April 2018 he went on a pitching tour to Cannes through his notable creation Waka Waka Moo a project targeted towards kids aged 4-12 years old. Looking back at his experience on the tour, he jokingly says, 'They speak of the South Of France being very posh and elegant but they did not say that everything about South Of France is posh and elegant. I absolutely loved it.' He added that, his pitching work felt like a dream come true because he got to travel and sell his project at the same time while taking in the beauty Of the French Riviera.
A month after this tour, Luis was invited to speak at the Oxford Africa Conference 2018th Edition where he spoke on the topic, African Art & Media – Its role in entertainment and public expressions on social and cultural issues. Luis to this said that, the funny thing is , the world is ready for Africa. The first thing one of the European speakers said to me was ; “We’ve been waiting for you!” ..... there’s definitely an interest in African craftsmanship. The rest of the world is waiting! The onus is on us to take that first step and see what’s out there! Also art & culture originated from Africa. We deserve a world stage and world audience. It is our birth right!
Luis upon his return also went on to produce another season of Voigush, on the sidelines of the new creative direction the show has now adopted, Luis stressed that, 'the revamp of the show itself dives deeper on issues concerning music, fashion and arts at large. I like that we get to tackle the rawness of serious issues affecting our industry. It’s no longer just about “Who wore what where..."But now it’s more of “why aren’t Namibian musicians cashing out” ... and so much more. It feels like someone watching can actually learn something of substance rather than just learning how to dress up.'
Waka Waka Moo has stopped just being a show, but it is now a brand to reckon with, from brand endorsements to establishing educational facilities, Luis has become a figure known for his profound keenness to provide and develop childhood education services relatable to Africans by Africans. Luis admits that he never saw himself operating in this space and that he was more inclined towards fashion and entertainment. Honestly not in the beginning. 'In fact Waka Waka Moo was never in the pipeline until 2014.I always saw myself going Into deep fashion/entertainment but never dealing with children.' To Luis the commencement of the project to him felt like Devine Rearrangement saying, "it was as if God was redirecting my life and saying this is one of the things you’re destined to do. Even my parents approve more of Waka than anything else I’ve ever done . But now all I can think of is Waka to a point where fashion/show biz has taken second place.Funny how God’s redirection works huh.' There is so much contentment and passion in Luis tone when he addresses Waka Waka Moo.
Luis is one of the stylish men in Namibia, when asked how he plans his outfits, he says, 'I plan , the answer is in the question. I prefer designer clothes because my body is uniquely shaped in that my shoulders are broad which makes it difficult for me to just walk in a shop and wear any shirt or jacket. 90% of my clothes are uniquely made or tailored for my body. With tailoring or designing comes the freedom to play around and create my own looks. I don’t do it alone of course.'
Luis and fashion cannot be separated, apart from having a strong background in modelling spaces, he is also a director for the annual Windhoek Fashion Week, which saw its third edition last November. On the growth and maturity of the project, Munana says that, 'My theory was correct. My prediction in 2015 was that the first 2 years will be trial & error where masses will need to be educated on what exactly a fashion week is and how it works. Only on the 3rd year will it be a thing. here’s been so much growth and many lessons learned. It’s safe to say WFW is somewhat now officially welcomed and part of the club . It has created its own following and garnered much needed attention . Now it’s about the key players such as designers , models , stakeholders alike actually capitalizing and having financial gain stem from the platform provided because the “educational & marketing phase” is complete. This is of course my humble opinion . But I’m certain the other organizers share sentiments.'
Luis was one chosen to be one of the brand influencers for a beverage that was being launched in Namibia, speaking on the sidelines of this task, Munana shared that, 'brand influencers need to go the extra mile. Yes a brand can come and say they’ll pay you to post 4 times promoting their brand but I say take it a step further. Suggest ways in which the brand can be promoted beyond social media. Create your own little unique thing. Basically , show the brand that you really believe in it to a point where you’re willing to do more.My motto is ; IF MY NAME IS ATTACHED , IT NEEDS TO GO SOMEWHAT VIRAL."
Luis is the brand ambassador of Soulstice Spa, we asked him the question,' Now not only did you get gains in the right places this year, you also got a job that allows you to show of your muscles, the real question here is how is it being the brand ambassador of Soulstice Spa?' Luis lols at the question and responds saying, 'I see what you did there with this question but I’ll accept. It’s by far the best job where ambassadorship and influencing is concerned. God knows my work can be stressful at times so imagine popping in for a spa treatments every other day. It’s amazing and extremely relaxing ! I absolutely love it ..... I wouldn’t hesitate to renew this contract.'
Still of fitness, Luis says that his work out regime is motivated and driven through him being strict on his diet, but admits he does fall off the wagon from time to time. "I’ve realized a long time ago that this muscular body helps pay the bills. I’ve conditioned my mental faculties into believing that staying fit is a lifestyle and not a hobby or an option - it is an absolute must!'
Luis when asked finally how he felt being the Vaultz 2018 Man of the Year, he jokingly responds with an important question, 'does the title come with money?' Nah kidding, feels great. It feels great because it means Vaultz readers get to be inspired. My philosophy is ; inspire at least one person or make a difference at least in one person’s life , then I can peacefully say I’ve impacted someone .