Friday, February 26, 2021

Woman of Jazz goes on tour

When Nnunu Ramogotsi was a mere two years old, Steve Kekana won his first South Africa Broadcasting Corporation Black Music Award for best male vocalist. A year later, he won that same award and his album “Raising My Family” was a big hit in Europe.

Some 32 years later, Nnunu is all grown up and when she launched her debut album, “Mmasonoko”, at the Gaborone International Convention Centre two months ago, Kekana curtain-raised for her. What’s noteworthy about this album is that at the time of its release, she had come into the orbit of Jean Michel Byron, the lead singer of the group, Toto. The latter offered useful tips on how she should package the album for an international audience.

Nnunu blends so well with local acts. She is one third of a loose ensemble called “Women of Jazz” that is rounded off by Punah Gabasiane and Kearoma Rantao. The trio plays charity gigs and donates all proceeds.

Nnunu mentions Childline Botswana, Cancer Association of Botswana and Gender Links as some of the previous beneficiaries. At press time (Friday night) the ensemble was billed to perform at a Botswanacraft show headlined by Ringo Mandlingozi of South Africa.

Nnunu has also worked with the likes of Ndingo Johwa, Lister Boleseng, Shanti-Lo and Banjo Mosele.
Born in Ramotswa, Nnunu started singing at a young age at the St. Conrad Church choir in Ramotswa. Years later, she would come under the wing of Puso Phetwe who later introduced her to Gomolemo Motswaledi. Although the latter is better known as a politician, decades before politics he was a famed director and conductor with the equally famous KTM Choir.

Many years later, Nnunu got a job at the Botswana Institute of Accountancy and Commerce as an accountant and after hours volunteered as a Performance Management System choir conductor. It was around this period that Phetwe introduced her to Motswaledi who introduced her to Duncan Senyatso, the late musician, who in turn introduced her to live performance.

Her artistic repertoire extends to composing and acting. She got involved in the latter at secondary school and acquired respectable enough skill to get a role in “Ntsoro le Toki”, a locally-produced movie that has been shown on Mzansi, a Dstv channel.

Beginning this coming Saturday, Nnunu starts a tour that begins in Francistown and will end in her birthplace, Ramotswa, on December 15. In between she will play shows in Maun, Kasane, Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Gantsi and Jwaneng.

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