Oteya Biography: One of the lifebloods of Namibia's music industry

20 years in the game

By  | Sep 27, 2021, 03:09 PM  | Oteya  | Top of The

Image of Oteya wearing a jeans jacket with long ponytail
Oteya is the OG of Namibian music. She originally started out using her birth name Dapheney Willibard. She was part of an RnB girl duo called Gal Level with her friend Frieda. Once she broke off from the group and went solo in 2014, she started using her current stage name Oteya. The Gal Level combination was a perfect match as they delivered soulful and soothing music. Oteya isn’t only a musician but a wife to her current manager and a mother to her two beautiful children. This year Oteya celebrated 20 years in the industry and continues to inspire many artists in Namibia.

Here is her bio and the story of how she rose to the elite stages of fame.

Oteya Age

Oteya was born on the 1st of April in 1981. She is now 40 years old.

Oteya Family

The musician was named Dapheney Willibard at birth and is popularly known by her stage name Oteya.  She was born and raised in Namibia. The talented award-winning singer was raised by both her parents alongside her sister, Eunice Willibard-Gonzo. Sadly they lost their father. 

Oteya Marriage

Oteya is married to her manager and owner of Ogopa Butterfly, Suleiman Sula Kyababa. The two love birds claim their love for music is what brought them together. Last year Oteya gave birth to a baby girl  named Malaika. They celebrated her first birthday this year. Oteya also has a firstborn son named Amir.

The biggest challenge the couple had to face was with both of them being in the public eye as  there are often rumours and constant allegations of infidelity, but the two have their fort and they are even stronger today.

Oteya Career 

Oteya started off as part of Gal Level which was an R&B talented female duo from Windhoek. It was made up of Oteya and Frieda Haindaka. They were a well-known group in the Southern region of Africa. As a talented group, their work quality was considered to be international status material. 

They started their career in the late 1990s as members of a Hip-Hop group, Dungeon Family. The group only released a single album in 2000 before they broke off, but Oteya and Frieda remained in Windhoek and lived together for 8 years. 

Three years after the fallout Oteya and Frieda met Suleiman Sula Kyababa. The duo was introduced by Faizel MC, a former local artist who spotted Oteya performing and loved the sound of her voice and Sula eventually signed them under Ogopa Butterfly. 

As they were not strangers to one another, they knew each other well and made their work ethic and progress a bit flexible and allowed them to work insane hours without inconveniencing the next person as they shared a household.

Their music was a mixture of rhythm and blues, Afro-pop, and dancehall. They released their first single Shake It, in 2004, which reintroduced them in the music scene as they were now ready and prepared to deliver to their fans. This led to people comparing their music style with America’s group, Destiny’s Child.

They had their second single, Go Back to Her which was successful, and led them into being an award-winning duo and their music was becoming an anthem in the country. 

But the duo eventually split in 2012. 

After their split, Oteya's friend Frieda approached her to have one last performance together. She had this to say; 

“I discovered last year when I approached her to perform with me at the P-Square show, it was unlikely, though I respected the competition issues between music labels. It’s a pity that the industry is this way but life goes on. I’m happy with my solo career. I’m aiming and hoping my solo career will surpass the Gal Level fame and bury issues about Gal Level once and for all!”

Critics were quite apprehensive and unsure if Oteya was going to be able to keep the flare and make it as a solo artist. They even thought she was abandoning Frieda at at the peak of the career as a girl group, but Frieda did not understand why people would try and pit her against Oteya.

 “I am personally happy for her. I think she is doing well for herself both personally and professionally. This is someone I shared half my life with. Just because we are not together anymore does not mean I should be bitter and not want them to succeed. Her success does not take anything away from me and vice versa,”  said Frieda.

She did not disappoint and Oteya managed to deliver great hit after great hit.

In April 2014, she released her debut single, ‘Ethimbo’ (meaning “it’s my time”) to mark the beginning of her solo career. This saw her being nominated at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) in the Video Battles category in 2014. She was the first Namibian to be nominated in that category

She has released some great singles that fans have been crazy about. Some of these are Lose You; Di Matta which she worked on with Lioness and I am Gone.

The songstress who has won the hearts of many with her soothing voice has been hard at work working on her new album tagged 'Shades of Me'. Speaking to The Namibian, her manager and husband Sula Kyababa, revealed that her album was coming along great. The album is her big accomplishment as she celebrates 20 years in the industry features award-winning Namibian artist Sunnyboy and Lioness. 

Oteya Awards 

Having had 2 decades in the industry, Oteya has managed to garner a lot of awards. Here's a list of the awards she's won over the years.

2017 – Best Musical Event of the Year (nomination) 
2017 – Best Sokous/Kwasa (nomination)
2017 – Best Song with a Message (nomination)
2017 – Best Music Video (nomination) 
2017 – Best Collaboration (nomination)
2017 – Best Afro Pop (nomination)
2017 – Best Female Artist of the Year (nomination)
2016 – Song of the Year (nomination)
2016 – Radio Song of the Year (nomination)
2015 – Best Music Video Award ('Ethimbo' - nomination) 
2015 – Radio Song of the Year (nomination)
2015 – Best Album of the Year (nomination)
2015 – Best Music Video (nomination)
2015 – Best Collaboration featuring SwartBaster (nomination) 
2015 – Best Afro Pop (winner)
2015 – Female Artist of the Year (winner)

Oteya Controversy

In 2018, Oteya’s pictures made rounds on social media. She was bruised on the images and people quicky thought it was gender-based violence and eyes were turned on her husband. However, it all turned out it was for a project. 

The pictures which show what appears to be a bruised neck is nothing but make-up for a music video on gender-based violence, and the photos were leaked after Sula’s phone was stolen. 

Ogopa Butterfly released a press statement and said:

 “Ogopa Butterfly would like to inform fans of Oteya and members of the public at large that the rumours circulating on social media that Oteya was abused physically are false and malicious. A phone belonging to Ogopa Butterfly CEO was stolen and it contained still images of Oteya’s upcoming video release of ‘I’m gone’ which was scheduled to be released on the 14th of May,” they wrote

Oteya is focused on her music and she has found how to balance being a mom and an artist as well. The Namibian artist is surely destined for greatness.

Read next: Lioness Biography: Age, Family, Education, Boyfriend, Career, Awards & Nominations, Controversy, Business, Brand Endorsements

Main image credit: Nalebrity.com

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