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Kg’ oesakeni: The Musical, to thrill theatre lovers



A play that explores the themes around the new found life of the Basarwa, told through the eyes of a young Kua maiden, a granddaughter of Nzabwe will thrill theatre lovers at Maitisong next week Saturday. The story is portrayed through the native song and dance of the Kgalagadi people.

According to a press release from the production companies, Lepatata Arts Ensemble and Botswana Blue arts series Foundation, in his book Tears for my land, Kwela Kiema explains that New Xade was named Kg’ oesakeni (which means ‘in search of a better life’) by a delegation of four men, including himself, in April 1997. Sources indicate that it was inspired by the government relocation of the people of New Xade, which was intended to give them “a new lease on life”.

The play explores the themes around their new life- their identity, spirituality, socio-economics and general well-being. According to the director and writer of the musical play, Shabba Kgotlaetsho, the case between Basarwa and government that culminated in 2008 intrigued and propelled him to research and find out more about the Basarwa. Initially he wanted to shoot a film but later resorted to a stage play. He updated the details and added oomph to the script, to give it substance and relevance.

“This play presents what I have assessed and brings the viewer into the realm of their life,” he said in an interview with Vibe. The creative arts space is not without challenges, even for Kgotlaetsho, who has many years of experience as an arts practitioner. Top of the challenges is financial constraints. “Putting together this production together cost about 300 thousand Pula but we are likely to get much less profit. There are many expenses one incurs. Right now, I have 18 Basarwa living with me right now. I have to accommodate and feed them. It is a tall order and one has to rely on generosity and favours.” He further lamented that government is focused on grassroots development of the arts and doesn’t pay much attention to matured artists.

“There is a disturbing discord between government and artists. We have created a system that just doesn’t work,” he said. He further explained that lack of financial support is a huge impediment that can frustrate even those the most talented practitioner. Kgotlaetsho however insisted that Batswana are patriotic and support home grown talent. “The problem is that there isn’t sufficient marketing of projects, so the audience would not know about the production,” he said.

Last year Kgotlaetsho staged Hosana, a musical celebrating Botswana through Kalanga spiritual music systems of Hosana, Sangoma and Mancomane. The story is a plot against faith and religion at a time when Christian missionaries made first contact with Southern Africa. Exploring local social communities’ values and needs, the story covers a fictitious nation of Baka-Habangana community whose village chief was the first to convert to the Christian religion.

The play received rave reviews. Before then, Kgotlaetsho had been rendering support to different ensembles until he decided to go at it alone. It has been a journey fuelled by passion but not without pain, and resilience has carried him through especially as he focused on the bigger picture. The support from the public has also encouraged him to continue telling relevant and interesting stories unique to Botswana’s social and political landscape.

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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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