Shakespeare said it best: if music be the food of life play on.
For a long time, the music industry in our country was dead and there seemed to be no hope for it.
South African music was the closest thing for us as far as locally produced music was concerned and all the dance moves we learnt were from the likes of Arthur Mafokate, the self proclaimed king of kwaito and others.
I remember not so long ago when we preferred the music of Budaza over that of our own local jazz singers and house music was strictly South African territory and we wanted the whole world to know that DJ Fresh is originally from Botswana, ignoring the fact that he has been residing in S.A. for God knows how long.
But, boy, have things changed! And it started in the early 2000’s, I remember, when the whole nation was moving to the beat of Momo’s ule then Vee came into the scene and made his mark as the king of his genre.
He was a young boy then with just a dream and a burning passion for music and it made him the biggest earner in Botswana’s music industry. He made it feasible to have a career in music in this beautiful land of ours and not only opened doors for many others to follow but also opened their eyes to the world of possibility.
Music is a universal language and can bridge so many gaps, generational gaps included, but just like any other art form it requires passion, a drive, dedication and determination. Music speaks to the soul and has a way of healing in a way that nothing else in the world can, be it gospel or circular music, if it’s a message you want to get across there is no better way to do it than through music.
With the sixteen days of activism against violence on women and children already here, it’s good to see initiatives by artists such as Kagiso Morebodi produce message songs to support national causes and help spread the message through songs that capture all audiences across age groups.
The likes of Zeus and Scar came into the scene and have taken hip-hop motswako, or whatever it is that they call it, to new heights paving the way for other acts like Eurika and Keb to also chase their musical dreams. It was refreshing to hear my cousin just the other day saying that when he gets his new car, he will be blasting the sound system with Keb’s botsa ka nna when I know he could have easily chose Chamillionaire’s riding dirty.
We always speak of national pride but I feel our artists are not given enough credit when it comes to this, because just like every other sector of economical development, our music industry has made us, as youth to be proud of who we are and where we come from.
Shows like My Star have grown not only in terms of viewership but also in terms of the talent that we see participating. I never knew we had really good singers until I saw the likes of Kennedy Thal, Bianca and Elizabeth on this year’s show.
The youth are the beat of the nation and through their music they have been sending massive waves across the continent and soon enough even the whole world will not be able to ignore the sound of our beat as it carries on to sell Botswana as a nation and as a brand to the world.
If music be the food of life then play on.