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When rain clouds gather…

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A photographic exhibition titled Maruapula by Thalefang Charles is currently on show at the Thapong Arts Centre gallery until the 4th October. It boasts 30 awe-inspiring images taken over a period of five years. Charles notes that Maruapula coincides with September (Lwetse in Setswana – the month of sick clouds). Pula is not only currency, but also that rain is an integral part of the life of any Motswana. Rain perhaps resonates differently with people, but essentially, it has a personal significance. Most of the images are of veldts, roads and settlements but all capture clouds in different motions.

Like most Batswana, Charles was raised in a village, playing nkgodisa and the likes. From a young age he had to know which side the clouds were coming from because if the dark clouds were rising from Mogatsapoo (south west of Serowe) he had to run home because that would be pula ya matlakadibe (storm). One cannot help but conjure images of a young Charles, beady eyes staring at the sky, shaking at the grumbling of the clouds and running home, chest puffed out, dirty feet making strides to arrive home before the first pelt of rain hits the ground.

“When the thundering storm approached, I had to remember to cover mirrors in the house before the lightening saw its reflection, got angry and struck our house.” He further says that as a small child, rain brought joy and inconveniences. In Setswana traditional custom, when we exchange greetings or pleasantries, we ask about rain. We are a nation that prays for rain. Furthermore, “We come from a history of people who boasted rainmakers – and rain is associated with happiness and prosperity, but lack of it with hunger, frustration and even death,” as Charles states. He says that the title Maruapula, has a literal meaning but each image has a unique story behind it. “I have been following clouds, storms for a while and I felt it was time to present them.” Charles shares that the picture that has special significance is Matlakadibe.

“As small boys we knew that when matakadibe comes, you must run home.” Charles, who is also the author of the book Botswana’s Top 50 Ultimate Experiences, says that that he loves good stories. “A few years ago I discovered that I could retell stories with pictures. Photography is a powerful medium to tell stories. Everything has a story: trees, animals, roads, clouds, places… and obviously, people. The Internet has also brought out the storytellers in us.” He says that the arts deserve support and investment. “I have been using my own money to finance my projects but received help in some.” He further says that artists should utilise the resources at their disposal to boost their profile. “I encourage young people to publish their art through online mediums. I say to young artists, ‘Keep publishing what you already have and compete with your best. Be your biggest critic but don’t let anyone tear you down.”

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CHARMA GAL DROPS NEW ALBUM

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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

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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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