Tuesday, October 27, 2020

ATI’s ‘failed’ movement disappoints Batswana

Batswana are expressing their disappointment in the famous rapper, Atlasaone Molemogi aka ATI for seemingly turning his back against the movement he started this year which they fully supported.

On May, the Khiring Khorong singer released videos on social media expressing his dissatisfaction with the ruling party. These videos stirred up what Batswana hoped to be a revolution and the support for the mission the musician embarked grew.

Many dramatic events followed after this. He released video after video shaming the government for favoring foreigners more than her citizens in terms of land and business and all the videos went viral. He protested at Dada’s motor company in Fairgrounds Mall and refused to settle until he met with His Excellency the President of Botswana, Dr Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi. ATI became the talk of the town and he appeared in news headlines. His bravery impressed the angry citizens who also shared the same thirst for the same change he preached.

On the 23rd of June this year, the singer appeared before the state house demanding to meet President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi to discuss with him his dissatisfaction. He was even eyeing the presidency seat and Batswana were in full support of his ambition. It was after this incident that ATI was arrested for attempting to trespass the state house and taking pictures of the state premises illegally and was in police custody. Batswana were seen gathering at the Central Police Station the next morning singing revolutionary songs demanding the release of their to-be leader, Atlasaone Molemogi.

This movement raised noise and adopted the hashtag phrase, ‘Ke Nale ATI’ directly translating to ‘I am with ATI’. He was also given the title ‘Mr President’ showing the faith they had in him leading them.

It was a few weeks after his release that singer ATI became quiet about the movement, stopped talking about it on his usual social media videos and diverted to only talking about his music and other errands. Later on he posted a picture on his official Facebook page with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare and made a caption on it stating that he still wishes to meet with Masisi.

Batswana were disappointed by ATI’s silence and his association with the members of the ruling party. They have started giving him names like ‘Judas’ or ‘Jutase’ who betrayed Jesus Christ in the Bible implying that ATI has also betrayed his supporters. They mock him in the comments section of his social media expressing their disappointment in him because he promised to lead them but rather diverted his focus on his music and earning his own living in turn leaving his supporters behind. They say he failed to update them on the movement and ‘ke lelatswa thipa’ meaning he is a bootlicker.

They also say that he seems to have been given a secret reward by the ruling party so that he abandons the movement and to silence him. He is being called irrelevant and contradicting his previous actions.

Without fail, the rapper did not waste time and has recently responded to these backlashes. He says that he is aware of the names he has been getting from social media and he is not moved by them.

“Many are waiting to know what I did. They even say I have been secretly given something to silence me. When someone doesn’t know me, they will label me just anything. But those who love me will know that I do not move. I am about my word. I trust myself and I trust those who trust me.” he said in his video.

“When you have a vision, it doesn’t require you to do things how people expect you to do them. You do things in a way that is effective.”

The rapper has expressed his disappointment in those who claimed to be on his side but have now turned against him. He said there are those who are quick to follow him just because they see others doing so but when people turn against him they also turn away because they were never really with him to start with.

He says that for one to bring change, they ought to correlate with the powers at hand whether they like it or not and an uprising can follow when those in power are not moved by the need for change. “Change is what I said would come but we did not give it a time frame.” he argued.

While many are adamant about what they deem as traitor behavior, Molemogi says that it is not his decision to try to make them feel like he has been bought or not.

 “If you say I am a traitor, then you never really believed in me.

When I said I am going to bring changes in this country, I wasn’t playing. I am going to do it.

  “You call me a traitor because I don’t do it the way you expect a revolution to go about. I am not making a revolution. I am making a peaceful land. Revolution is political but I am not into politics. I am into creation. I am an artist. If you want a revolution start your own.” the artist said in a video that received thousands of viewers.

He says that people were expecting him to lead a revolution in the traditional sense but to him what he is doing is solely himself and is not a revolution. He says he is doing things following new ways of doing them.

 “You don’t get change just because you demand change. You don’t demand change, you take it!

It’s not a revolution, it’s me. It wasn’t yours to begin with. You all don’t know what I am about to do and am already doing for you.”

He finally ended by saying that he and everyone else are aware that change is needed and understand that the power is within the people. He says he is not speaking for anyone who in the long run will turn against him and call him names.

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The Telegraph October 28

Digital edition of The Telegraph, October 28, 2020.