After spending months in their country in lockdown, she's been named the travel ambassador for Namibia.
But not everyone is happy.
The Federation of Namibia Tourism Association (Fenata) named South African musician Lira as the federation's first travel ambassador.
Lira, real name Lerato Molapo, took to Instagram to share her good news, which didn't sit well with some Namibians.
"About two days ahead of our lock down in March, I had a strong urge to be in nature and to get out of the city. A friend recommended Namibia to me and I immediately packed my bag, food, masks and sanitizers and drove all the way there. What was meant to be a 21 day stay ended up being 6 of the most incredible months of my life," she said.
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I have been announced as the Namibian Tourism Ambassador to South Africa and the world as part of #FENATA’s Travel Ambassador Initiative. About two days ahead of our lock down in March , I had a strong urge to be in nature and to get out of the city. A friend recommended Namibia to me and I immediately packed my bag, food, masks and sanitizers and drove all the way there. What was meant to be a 21 day stay ended up being 6 of the most incredible months of my life. When lock down was lifted, there was no urgent need to return home because I could not perform live anyway, so I took advantage of the tourism discounts that were made available and I literally explored ALL of Namibia. What a magical place. I felt connected to nature and the vast open spaces made me feel calm and at peace. The abundance of wild life had me in awe and I grew to appreciate this beautiful planet we live in. Namibia is quite pristine and nature is largely left alone to thrive with little human interference. It’s diverse and dramatic landscape will blow your mind. I’m excited to share my experiences with you. Being in Namibia sheltered me from the depressive side of this difficult time in the world. Instead I was at peace in nature, feeling wild and free and filled with joy and gratitude. ???? ???? Dress by @mailakouture. Accessories by : @yashenatextile
Speaking to Drum Namibian resident Regina Ashipala says she is not happy with the announcement.
“I mean (such a role) is supposed to be for a Namibian that knows the country from birth and not someone that needs to Google to get to know about it. A Namibian should be the ambassador because they know their country more than anyone else that’s not Namibian could know.
“Honestly, this is not a personal attack I mean how would any citizen be okay with the fact that their tourism ambassador is not Namibian? It’s not right and I don’t know what criteria they used to finalize the appointment for Lira but it’s truly not in our country’s interests as we have people here that can get the job done,” she says.
Regina tells Drum that Namibian celebrities could do a better job than Lira.
“If they were searching for an audience, local celebrities could bring more than Lira because she is does not know about our country’s tourism,” she adds.
I absolutely have respect for Lira, but we have our own artists/celebrities we can consider. It will hugely save us costs too! However, this could be a great business move with the level of influence she possesses.— Annakie (@Annakie9) October 18, 2020
With all the girlies doing travel blogs and youtube channels promoting local tourism but this people chose a foreigner to be their ambassador. BELAGLIK! This people don't want us, we clearly forcing a relationship with them! pic.twitter.com/gJCt7FCSOZ— #ShutItAllDown (@HappyWilbard) October 16, 2020
Amwiigidha Ndeshipanda tells Drum that the gripe most people have is that there are Namibians who could do the same job as Lira, if not better.
“I personally don't think it is a problem making someone who is not a Namibian a Namibian travel ambassador, I am happy about the decision because that is one way of connecting two countries together and at some points, I feel why my fellow Namibians are against it because there are a lot of people here that they know deserve that title and the fact that we don't know her. That is where the issue come from, some are even complaining that if South Africa had one Namibian who is their travel ambassador it could have been fair,” she says.
It was not all bad from the Namibian audience. Some congratulated and welcomed the songstress.
I don't see anything wrong as long as she will appeal to their targeted market. Few would raise their voice if Beyonce was in Lira's shoes.— keepitreal (@mrstazozo) October 17, 2020