Local Kwasa/house/kwaito/gospel star Odirile Vee Sento has just partnered with the local Christian youth interdenominational movement, Scripture Union (SU), to help spread the word of God and influence behavioural change among young people. Speaking at a press conference held to launch the new partnership, the pint sized musician gave a brief account of his past debaucheries before dwelling into his newly found redemption.
“It all started at school where I got into a lot of trouble,” Vee said. “Juvenile delinquency was the norm.” He said this was despite having been raised by his “God fearing” grandmother for the better part of his childhood. Joining the music industry and releasing a successful album did not help the situation. He had no problem supporting his ‘bad’ habits.
“My gallivanting and debauchery only got worse,” he said. Like most young people alcohol and drug abuse formed part of his identity. But deep down, Vee said, his conscience would always poke him.
“I remember donating 10,000 pula to a church following the success of my Taku Taku album only because I felt guilty.”
Vee’s first experience with SU was while doing his junior certificate at the then Marulamantsi CJSS in Gaborone. He then transferred to Selepa CJSS in Francistown where they did not have an SU club. “I helped set up the SU club in Selepa,” he said. But that was the last contact Vee would have with the Christian movement. Music would take over his life upon completion of his BGCSE at St Joseph’s College (Gaborone).
But after watching a sermon on television in 2011 the dreadlocked musician would rediscover the Christian in him. He began by quitting cigarettes but continued with his drinking. “Soon after I quit smoking I came across a government tender that required my kind of services and I made a promise to God,” Vee said. He promised to quit alcohol and repent in exchange for the tender. “I got the tender and consequently carried out my part of the bargain.”
Since then, Vee said, his life has been so incredible people thought he was embezzling church money.
Fifteen years (give or take) after he burst into the local music industry the Letlhale Lea Tsamaa star speaks in tongues, and quotes the bible every chance he gets. “It all happens once you are baptised and accept God into your life,” Vee said. He said any born-again Christian has the right to speak in tongues. “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them,” Vee, perhaps feeling compelled, quoted a verse from Acts 2:4.In response to rumours about him calling himself a prophet the musician said he is no such. “The only prophesy I know is through the bible. I am Brother Vee not prophet Vee.”
On his music Vee, also affectionately known as Mampeezy to his fans, said his style of music will remain unchanged. “It is only the message that has changed. We produce the kind of beats that appeal to the current market.” He said ‘Gospel’ is a way of life and music is just a part of it.
But why would a ‘born again Christian’ be seen performing in places and/or events that are typically not associated with the Christian way of life? “Those are the people who need to hear the word of God the most,” he said. “And there is no better place to reach them than at their favourite hanging spot.” Mampeezy said he even volunteered to perform at the controversial annual Beach Party free of charge just so he could exploit the opportunity to spread the word of God to unsuspecting revellers.
Speaking on behalf of Spiritual Union Botswana Brother Albert Tamado said their partnership with ‘Brother Vee’ is a strategic move to reach out to the young people across the country and share the word of God in a language they can understand. “Vee is no stranger to SU and although he got derailed at some point, he could not run away from his calling. He has an amazing influence on young people which we aim to harness and use to advocate for positive behavioural change,” Tamado said. Bishop Habibo of Assemblies of God said it was everyone’s responsibility to put to good use what God has given them and Vee was doing just that.
“We have a son here who has been blessed with the gift of music and he has now chosen to use his God given talent to spread the word.”
Giving his closing remarks Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB)’s Pastor Matlhaope said there is a solution to the drugs and moral decay that has engulfed the nation. He made reference to the ‘Modipane Sex Tape’ and called on Christians to pray for those involved.
“We know Jesus is the solution to the rebellious youth in this country,” he said. Matlhaope said they are presenting SU to the government of Botswana as a useful tool for youth transformation and positive behavioural change. “We call on the government to equip SU with the necessary tools if they are to successfully carry out their mandate.” The goal of Scripture Union Botswana (an affiliate of Scripture Union International) is to teach the Bible and its principles and inculcate Biblical values in the lives of children, youth and families in Botswana.