Onkokame Joyce Manyati Santagane, who goes by the stage name Mnanyathi, has dropped her debut single Tshwarelo. The eight-song album, produced by Tshepo Lesole at High Note Studios, will be released end of August. In an interview with Vibe, Manyati explains that Tshwarelo speaks about repentance. “I am asking God to forgive me for all the wrong things that I have done that are not correct in His eyes. I also vow to worship and serve God for the rest of my life,” she says. The upbeat singer shares that her single was inspired by her own personal journey as she had gone through ups and downs, as well as her turning over a new leaf.
“There were times when I made wrong decisions but luckily I saw the folly of my actions. I had to talk to God and also acknowledge the wrongs that I had done – knowingly and unknowingly,” she says. Manyati, who worships at Humble Before Christ International Church, said her music career was chiselled in church where she has been part praise and worship group. However, she knew that she had talent when she was young and fortunately was spotted by certain God sent individuals who helped her nurture her talent. “I discovered music talent in 1993 while doing standard 7. I was taking part in prize giving play and when I belted out in tune my voice was strong. In form two, I joined Scripture Union and sang there.
I was later discovered by one of my teachers Moemedi Bakhuruta, who coached drama at Itireleng JSS where I schooled. He was impressed and invited me to join a drama production. He told me that I am a good singer and made me join the then popular Bopaganang Music Group. Continued singing. I also represented the country at the SADC festival in Mozambique in 1997.” In 2010, the fired up Manyati joined My Star with the hope of launching her music career but she only made it to Top 11. This however did not deter her. “I sang jazz music at bars and clubs,” she says.
She however got entangled in that lifestyle and was led astray as she started drinking alcohol and doing other unsavoury activities. “One day one of my mentors Ishamael Otlaadisa took me aside and suggested that I change my life path. He told me that things were not going well for me because I was doing things the wrong way: he encouraged me to give my life to God,” she says. She took this advice and started going to church. Otlaadisa then encouraged her to inject seriousness into her music career. “He came back to me and said: ‘We need to release your single; it is time you bless others.’ This gave me the motivation to use my talent to touch lives,” she says.
Although she is a newbie to the gospel music industry, Manyati notes that she has observed that the genre is not fully appreciated but gospel artistes must take themselves and their craft seriously. “Gospel music is ministry. Artistes should let go of worldly things. As a gospel artiste you must be exemplary to the public – people must see that you lead a Christian life.”
Making outstanding art through waste material
Following one’s vocational calling can be a tall order in a world that still believes that white-collar work is the only way to make a living. No one knows this better than 28-year-old Khumoyame
Addam Ndove, who is a police officer by profession and an artist by vocation. While he is committed to his work as a law enforcer he dedicates most of his free time to making art. Ndove runs a company called Craft-eyed Designs which specialises in upholstery designing, artistic furniture and décor ornaments, mostly made out of waste materials such as empty oil drums, tyres and pallets, among others. The Francistown born and raised lad tells Vibe that his artistic journey started with a passion he had for art and using recycled material to create distinct new pieces.
One day he got an idea to try out a few art works and he went out to collect raw material and got down to work. “I knew I was talented in hand craft but had never explored my potential. I was impressed with what I managed to do. My work was interesting and outstanding. I also received positive feedback from the public and realised that this was something I could do out of passion and to complement my earnings,” he says.
Ndove explains that Art is a way of expressing himself. “I enjoy art because that is how I communicate and share what is in my mind.” He points out that he is also a businessman so selling his craft was not too difficult as he has the acumen. He however notes that the biggest challenge he faces is that a large number of Batswana do not appreciate art and therefore do not recognise the value of his work. Other challenges he faces include lack of operational space and shortage of capital.
He says that shortage of raw materials limits him from unleashing his full creative potential. Ndove currently runs his company alone and juggles it with his day job. He hopes to one day get an investor to bolster his business so that he can employ other people and grow the enterprise. “I would like to get a spacious workshop and showroom, and also hire relevant employees.” But doing what he loves makes him content. “Bringing an idea to life makes me fulfilled. I always feel great when I see my finished products.”
BOMU awards go on…
The 10th annual Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards will be held on 26 January 2019 at GICC. Revellers should expect performances from Lister Boleseng, Nono Siile, Perion, Slizer, Matheke Letane and Kwaito Nation among others. Tickets are said to be already on sale through Webtickets.
The awards will also be broadcasts.
Over the past few weeks there has been confusion over whether the awards will go and this week Phemelo ‘Fresh Les’ Lesokwane officially confirmed that it is all systems go. Artists caused a stir this week on social media when they indicated that was confusion and miscommunication around the awards. But Lesokwane insists that there is nothing confusing going on as the interim committee had been planning the awards for a while now, and had even roped in sponsors.
He said that the awards had been organised since last week but they had to change the date due to a few glitches. Lesokwane says that they had opted for the people’s choice approach to awards. “We have given the public the power to decide who they want to vote for under the different categories. What happens is that when you vote you sms the category and name of the artist to 16565. We are then going to tally the votes when voting lines close on 23 January 2019.
We will then cut down the number of entries based on the number of votes. This will make the process easier for our judges, who will listen to the artists’ CDs and give them points.” He further said that having a high number of votes would not automatically mean that an artist makes it. “One might have many votes but with low quality music and we consider that. We are looking at quality
Lesokwane said that when former chairperson Pagson Ntsie was outsed, the awards were still open. “Registration is still on at BOMU office in Kgolagano at Main mall. Those who had registered can check their documentation.”
Last year BOMU was wrecked by infightings following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not the legitimate chairperson of the music body. The ruling was passed in August by the Registrar of Societies. The ruling came following investigations regarding adherence to the BOMU Constitution and corruption claims. Accusations of financial mismanagement and poor leadership also cropped up.
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