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Pantsula take Botswana by storm

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Preach against alcohol, drugs and crime

Formalisation of pantsula movement in the pipeline

Once a pantsula, always a pantsula; it is a lifestyle. The pantsula never fail to turn heads because they always look dapper. Dandyism is a part of black culture and the pantsula are no exception.

Their style has been unaffected by the evolution of trends and pervasive street style in black communities. But for the pantsula, it is more than being fashion conscious but also paying homage to their black roots and reflecting a significant cultural period that resonates even today. The cultural and aesthetic of pantsula might not be well-documented, but in recent years more people have become interested in them.

The pantsula movement emerged in the 1950s and 60s. Initially, it was just a pastime for largely young men who danced to entertain themselves. It was later perceived as a response to forced removals during the Apartheid era – as you might know, black South Africans used song and dance to express themselves during that challenging time. The high-energy ecstatic sycophantic dance style became more popular over the years. Considering that Africans often copy trends from the West, pantsula remains one of the styles and modern sub-cultures unique to southern Africa.

There are many ma-pantsula in Botswana; a bit more than you could possibly imagine, actually. No, not run off the mill riff-raff who pick pocket and stab people, but rather clean, respectable and responsible men and women, who are passionate about the sub-culture.

This past weekend the pantsula from Old Naledi branch members inspirited a street parade hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture development on Saturday morning. They later flocked to Mochudi to join hundreds of members from more than ten other branches across the country, who took part in a parade festival hosted to fight alcohol and drug abuse.

The executive team, comprised of chairman Fejus ‘BraFejo’ Modise, Senki ‘Tiza’ Chaba, Mompati ‘Sparks’ Dikgomo and Ntsima ‘Tizolah’ Sekao, are intent on ensuring that ma-pantsula get a positive image. I get this sense when I meet them for an interview on a cool Monday morning. They beam when they see me and greet in the traditional Setswana manner, exchanging polite pleasantries. Clad in stylish garb, they attract attention as passersby jostle to look or ask for a picture.

Confidence pours from their every pore as they sway in stride. The youngest, Tizolah, has a spring in his step and seems ready to break into energetic dance. But apart from the pantsula vibes, they are ordinary family men, sons, uncles and members of society, who are worried about the social ills and want to see a better future for the country. Dikgomo explains that the culture derived from Mbanqanga music, which paved way to disco. “At the time, local pantsula danced to South African township music. The likes of Dan Tshanda introduced township disco here,” he recalls. A meeting with Patrick Boloko who was a member of the Botswana Defence Force led to the idea of taking pantsula seriously. “At that time, we were dancing for Don B shortly after the release of his offering Banna wee,” he says. They later hooked up with Senki. The trio established a pantsula movement and named it Dlala Pantsula. Last year they met Modise, who hails from Kopong, who suggested that they host pantsula dance competitions across the country. They have not looked back since. They have traversed southern Botswana and have been to Thamaga, Kanye, Molepolole, Kopong, Tlokweng, Lentsweletau and Mochudi. The next parade festival will be in Ramotswa on the 7th of October.

Modise says that reception has been promising but they need tangible support. They currently want to help an underprivileged former pantsula based in Mahalapye but are struggling to piece together the project due to lack of funds. Chaba says that they also want to purchase a combi bus and have resources to incentive winners in their competitions, as well as travel around the country. “We want to go to places such as Maun and other areas in the North,” he says. They want to build trust in communities and work with the police and community leaders to help combat crime. “The kgosi in Old Naledi recently summoned us and expressed gratitude over what we do. The police have also stated their faith in us,” Dikgomo says. The groups also perform at weddings and parties and other social events. They can be reached on 76 39 50 51.

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Local artistes steal the show at GIMC concert

Keletso Thobega

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La Timmy gave his best as usual and set the mood a notch higher with his upbeat sounds.Meanwhile, Boogie Sid took the crowd way back with a set reminiscent of the early 2000s. Robbie Rob and Brando also gave a fun set that had dancing along. Meanwhile, Sjava’s performance was quite tepid.

He didn’t seem excited to be on stage and his performance was bland from start to finish. Han C on the other hand was a fireball of energy and set the pace, proving that local is truly lekker. The Sedilaka star belted out in tune while also gyrating madly as if his life depended on it. Many sang along to his hits Mafura fura and Se-ileng.

South African rapper Nasty C also held his own fort and although his performance was nothing to write home about, he seemingly gave his fans their money’s worth as they cheered wildly. The Hell No hitmaker saved the popular song for last and everyone sang along to the jam with a catchy hook.

Another energetic performer was Master KG who has been making waves recently. His unique sound, a mix of kwaito, mosakaso had many wiggling and jiggling as if they have ants in their pants. The Situation and Skeleton hitmaker and his dancers churned infectious dance moves throughout their performance.

Meanwhile, Lady Zamar churned hits such as Collide, Criminal, Charlotte and My Baby among others, as she showed off her well-choreographed dance moves. Prince Kaybee was in his usual element and while it was not his best night, most revellers enjoyed the house tunes, especially the hit Club Controller, which can make even the most uptight person lose their morals and hump and bump in the air.

One of the revellers Tshidiso Mokaila said she had enjoyed the concert. “It was chilly but the whole show was well-organised, from the sound to security. It was my first time here and I had the time of my life. I will definitely come again next year,” she said. Another reveller who only identified himself as Tshepo said that the popularity of the bash seemed to be declining but said he was impressed that the organisers had beefed up security this time around.

“We had fun knowing that our cars are safe. The performances were just OK but I think that the no cooler box policy turned off many people especially as there was only one beer on sale and no ciders.” The MCs for the night Loungo, Sadi and Somizi did a sterling job and kept revellers in a party mood. While the previous editions were much better than this year’s instalment, there were few incidents this time around. Revellers let their hair down and partied the night away until the wee hours of the morning.

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The sky is the limit for Ginah Molodi

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In what started as only a mere passion for music at the age of (11) for Ginah Tinah Molodi, it has now changed into a big reality as she recently featured in one of the most decorated DJ in Botswana Boineelo Othusitse known as DJ Bino in a single house-track dubbed Ke Mosadi. Growing up, 23-year-old Molodi was a vital member of the Praise and Worship at her church.

In a recent interview with Vibe, Molodi said that her mother had always encouraged her to give her best. “My late mother has always been my mother, a role model, a best friend, an instigator and that really kept going because she motivated me,” she said.

The Mmadinare born aspirant artiste made her first major appearance in one of the Botswana Television (BTV) talent show called My African Dream before deciding to try her luck on this year’s My Star Show, “I have always dreamt of joining My Star from the moment it started broadcasting on BTV and I only got join this year because I wanted to share my talent with Botswana as I always believed in my singing and the talent that got has given me. Winning would have been a great bonus to me,” she said.

Molodi further reiterated on her current main enthusiast who is apparently her aunt. “The one person who was always behind me is my aunt Thusano Moseki, she has always been my biggest fan and she used to call me at my tenure at My Star wanting to find out whether I chose either the right song or rehearsed well and stuff and that really motivated me a lot as she strongly believed in me,” she said.
Molodi said being eliminated in the My Star Top 12 had not deterred her as she went on to release a single. “I did not win at My Star but that never really discouraged me because I have so many people that believe in me. I decided to do a single titled Ke Mosadi which is basically a personal song and it celebrates a women from her phenomenal transition from a young to a women with a massive help from DJ Bino as my producer,” she said.
Meanwhile, DJ Bino said that Molodi’s brother had sent him her audio. “When I first heard that our home girl is currently at My Star, I told her brother to send me the audio and she was amazing. I promptly decided to start working with her.
She did not win maybe because sometimes the judges do not see what we see as producers hence I took liberty to do a song with her because I appreciate her talent,” he said. DJ Bino added that Molodi still had a long way to go as she will soon be working with big names such as Odirile ‘Vee’Sento, Busi (Malawi) to push her promising music career to greater heights. DJ Bino also confirmed that he was working on dropping his 2nd album, which will be titled The Journey.

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