US legendary soul group The Temptations performed at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) this past Saturday August 4 alongside Tshepi Live, Louis Mhlanga, Moroka Moreri, and others.
Arts & Society met up with the group at a dinner hosted by Basilico Italian Restaurant in Gaborone on Sunday Evening. We had a chat with the group’s lead singer and longest serving member, Bernard Gibson.
All the original members of the group, formed in 1960, have passed on. The last remaining original member was Dennis Edwards, best known as the front man to the group, who passed on earlier this year on February 1st.
“He died just two days shy of his birthday,” Gibson said. The group suffered another blow just days before coming to Gaborone at the end of July with the loss of their musical director.
The concert was consequently postponed to beginning of August. “I had just spoken to him the day before he suffered a stroke and a heart attack.” Gibson has been a member of The Temptations for 40 years, having joined the group in 1977.
“It is by the grace of God that we have been able to continue the legacy of The Temptations,” he told Arts & Society. “And that was coupled with always finding the right people to carry on with the legacy. To keep that character of the legacy the same as the people remember it. These guys (group members) are pretty decent in what they do to maintain the legacy.”
Gibson said he had been able to train the rest of the members on the style of The Temptations. “I was fortunate enough to run into this group of individuals.” He said they have been able to stay relevant because while they want to retain the original sound and style of the group they have also learnt to move with the times.
“If it takes bringing a new person to preserve that continuity then so be it. It’s what has kept The Temptations going for this long.”
While the group enjoyed the best of what Basilico Italian Restaurant had to offer, the group had earlier on indulged in some local cuisine.
“I especially enjoyed your pap (maize meal). We have something similar back at home but yours is a little thicker,” Gibson said. Although he also enjoyed the tripe (serobe), Gibson was however terrified of the Mophane worm.
“I couldn’t handle the protein bugs (phane),” he told Arts & Society. “I thought I was on ‘Bizarre Foods’ for a minute. I tried it and I said to myself ‘Lord have mercy’, I’m eating something that looks like a caterpillar with a black head.” He said of all the stuff he ate what was new to him was the “bug”.
The Temptations were here in Gaborone courtesy of Tshepiso Molosiwa (Tshepi Live). He launched his album at the GICC event. “Two years ago I was doing a show in Johannesburg at a place called Lyrics Theater,” Gibson told Arts & Society. He said there was a young man called Vusi that they played with who introduced him to Molosiwa in 2016. “Tshepi and I never stopped talking since.” He said they worked on some music together and it was following the musical collaboration that Molosiwa invited The Temptations to Gaborone. Basilico Italian Restaurent is a unique, relaxing and innovative Italian dining experience located just behind the State House.