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Letso breaks the mould and tells stories through a lens

Keletso Thobega



Letso ‘Lets’ Leipego has over the years cultivated and refined his artistic talent through drawing, painting and photography. The prolific photographer tells Vibe that he makes art because he wants his inner voice to be heard. “Everyone has a story to tell and I am telling mine.

I think the strength of my work lies in the ability to communicate my personal expression based on my personal experiences and situations I encounter. This means me finding myself as I listen to and interpret people’s stories through my lens,” he says. Leipego points out that he only started to specialise in photography after graduating with a Degree in Advertising from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Botswana. His love for artistic storytelling however comes way back. “I don’t remember not doing art. I believe art is the best talent that I have and something that I feel most comfortable doing and talking about.

It allows me to break rules, and make new rules and break them again, yet live a life of contentment and satisfaction.” Leipego explains that he is enamoured by many photographers and doesn’t confine himself to a particular genre. “There is always something to appreciate from creatives across Africa. I believe that every artist has their own unique way of expressing their artistic feeling, which has tremendously added to their initial style.” He points out that he draws inspiration from what he hears and sees. “It could be anything, from an old man sitting on a chair or children playing.

My photography is mostly based on things the eye tends to overlook.” He further explains that his photography stories emphasise on giving people an identity. “I want my path to be in keeping with my tradition because most of our African stories deserve to be told. It is important for us and the younger generation to understand where we are coming from and where we are going.” Leipego’s solo exhibition opens tonight at Guns and Rain Gallery in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a huge feat but he is chilled about it, pointing out that it makes sense to showcase there as South Africa has filled the gap left behind in African contemporary art, compared to other African countries.

Leipego wants to one day see himself as an ambassador of contemporary arts in Botswana. “I would like to guide and develop upcoming artists so that Botswana could be recognised in the arts industry globally.” He notes that government and private sector should invest more in building art institutions that can help Batswana learn and understand the different aspects of art (practical, theoretical and the business element). “I believe that this would improve our artistic landscape and also change our mentalities about art and how we view the culture industry.”

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GOING PLACES:The singer has a new offering

CharmaGal is back with a bang. After a hiatus, following her hit Jabu last year, she has released an all Setswana thriller album just in time for festive.

The local music sensational is back into her stardom feat, the album brings yet another set of tracks in her 8-track album titled Lekgamu la bananyana. Touch Records in Gaborone officially released the album this past week.

During a media brief held at Botswana Craft in Gaborone this past week, CharmaGal revealed that she has been working hard on the album thus having high expectations on it. According to Charma, Lekgamu la bananyana is a notch high than her previous music deliverables.

Speaking to Vibe a day before boarding a plane to the United Kingdom where she was performing alongside South Africa’s BabesWodumo, she said that what makes her unique is staying to her craft. The Mmokolodi hit-maker said that it is giving what you are to the people that then opportunities arise for artists.

“People need to stay true to their uniqueness, this new album represent my style of delivering music, that represents my key and my melody that is why it is easy for people to react to it,” shared CharmaGal.

She also said that piracy is a concern in the music fraternity, adding that she has targets she has set for herself in regards to the number of copies she wants to sell on the album. “New technology remains a mystery for us artists, in a day after the release of the album, people will be she sharing out the music through Whatsapp and other social media networks and that is amazing.”

Meanwhile, a week after the release of the album, track 3, dubbed Banyana, is driving CharmaGal fans crazy. The song has already been played on various radio stations in the country. In the song, CharmaGal says that she does not need to get to work because she has hangover garnered from the weekend. **The album is available at most music stores.

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Shamele drops solo kwaito offering

Irene Shone



omolemo Thepa aka Shamele says kwaito music has taken out the artiste in him and he plans to elevate the genre as time goes. The 27-year-old recently released his first-ever solo single dubbed, ‘Dula S’tilo’.

He tells Vibe that the new single was actually written to honour the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi as he sat on the presidency throne. He explains that he has been in the music industry for the past six years, featuring other artistes but decided to [produce his solo work this year.

“I have written this song and composed it to dedicate it to Masisi as a way of welcoming him to his new position,” he says.Shamele is confident that having worked with a variety of well-established artistes has given him light and direction to grow the Kwaito genre. Asked why he chose Kwaito of all other genres, he said that Kwaito is unstoppable and just needs nurturing.

“I found Kwaito in existence when I was growing up, and I have never come across any boring rhythm of Kwaito music. It is just unstoppable and thus, I want to be associated to it.”
He also shares with Vibe that local talent kept him motivated to also have a dream of becoming a solo artiste.

“The Real Magosi group inspired me to be where I am today together with all the local artistes in general because I embrace local music.” Shamele further says that he takes pride in the fact that he has already performed his song in the president’s presence recently in Moshupa at an event.

He also appreciates the positive feedback that he already has on his new work. Dula S’tilo currently enjoys airplay at Duma Fm, RB1 and RB2. The single was produced at True-African Studios. Shamele says that at the moment, he is focused on building his brand and give his fans and the local music industry the best.

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