Seabelo Modibe’s quest to change the local entertainment scene is gaining pace; just next month in June, he will attend the prestigious Midem music market in Cannes, France. He was unknowingly recommended by four African countries as an ‘interesting person.’
Sbizo, as he is popularly known in the local entertainment industry has been making great strides of late-from organising the first annual Botswana International Music Conference in Gaborone (BIMC) to penning an essential publishing deal with South Africa’s Sheer Publishing Company. A strong proponent for music streaming, Modibe he is hoping that; at the conference, where he is likely to rub shoulders with international publishers, he will be able to pick some brains to help shape and drive digital streaming locally.
This year’s conference will take place from June 6-9 with an overriding theme, “A new golden age for the music industry? Get ready to embrace it.” The annual conference is an international music event for key players from the music ecosystem to forge business connections and explore current music trends. This year, the conference will explore the impact of music streaming on the music industry. Emerging as the digital sector’s main driver of growth, music streaming generates revenue on a global scale and heralds a golden age for the music industry for worldwide business development.
The conference provides inspiration for one’s business with a unique music conference programme led by respected thought leaders. It helps discover where the industry is heading in terms of music and digital trends, and get insightful tips and case studies to help one expand their business. Further, the conference provides an opportunity to make significant business connections; learn how to promote music internationally, to source talent and get inspired by upcoming trends in music.
In an interview, Modibe revealed that he was recommended by countries he had worked with before. He said this year the main focus will be the digital economy of the music industry particularly online streaming because it is a booming business and has the ability to pay more royalties since it is now taking centre stage. He highlighted that the conference can help the country promote digital awareness in Botswana where the industry is crowded yet there are only 5 radio stations. He said people can start streaming online where the future of radio lies and can play and purchase music online.
When speaking to WeekendLife Modibe who had just arrived from Namibia where he attended music conferences said the idea is to look at the entertainment industry as a key player in addressing issues of unemployment in Botswana. He said if given a chance to participate in the panel discussions, he looked forward to advising governments as key stakeholders who are very influential not to view the industry as a social industry.
He also said one critical area of focus, for him, would be to create an international artist who can represent the country outside. He gave an example of South Africa where there is Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Bra Hugh Masekela as well Zimbabwe which has the legendary Oliver Mtukudzi who are all known globally. Since he was notified on short notice, Modibe said the event organisers have agreed to meet him half way on the trip costs and he is currently working around the clock to get a Visa.
Modibe recently signed with Sheer Publishing, one of Africa’s largest independent Publishing houses and is currently looking to expand its client base within the African diaspora. Sheer Publishing’s mission is to provide a comprehensive range of copyright services to clients, both domestic, Continental and international.
He hosted the second instalment of the successful BIMC where the music industry experts gather together to network, share ideas and talk music business. It is a platform to also share expertise and knowledge.â€¨â€¨The event which is in its second year running is expected to grow over the years; attracting local and international organizations and speakers according to him. Legendary hip-hop musician, producer, and composer Wyclef Jean will give an exclusive live performance during Midem by Night on the extraordinary Beach of the Majestic Palace.
According to their website worldwide superstar, Wyclef Jean, has sold over 100 million albums and 20 million singles worldwide. The recipient of three Grammy Awards, Jean formed legendary Hip Hop group the Fugees in the 90's, ranked among the top 10 greatest Hip Hop groups of all time by MTV. Since his early beginnings with the Fugees, Wyclef amassed an impressive catalogue of hits such as "Gone Till November", "911" and "Sweetest Girl" and produced award winning hits for artists such as Shakira, Carlos Santana and Whitney Houston, among countless more.
Another speaker is Steve Bartels, CEO of Def Jam Recordings, he is the driving force behind some of the biggest artists and records of the last thirty years, including Kanye West, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Outkast, Big Sean, Janet Jackson, Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Alessia Cara, and many more. He has been part of over 35 separate Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles campaigns during his career.
LA Reid is another speaker who will take stage at the conference. He is the Chairman and CEO of Epic Records as well as an acclaimed musician, songwriter, producer, and now a New York Times Bestselling author for his memoir, "Sing to Me". LA Reid is a rare breed among record producers—not only one of the most accomplished and innovative people working behind the scenes in the music industry, but a celebrity presence in his own right. Reid has been shaping the music scene for more than 25 years. He is the man behind the success of some of today’s biggest stars, including Usher, Pink, Justin Bieber, and Meghan Trainor, to name a few, and was instrumental in Mariah Carey’s 10x-platinum “The Emancipation of Mimi” comeback. Reid has helped change music forever.
This book is a true-life story of an African King based in South Africa. The Last Frontier is a resistance stand by Bakgatla Ba Kgafela tribe and its line of Kings from 1885 against a dark force called ‘western democracy’ that is insidiously destroying lives, peoples, nations and threatens to wipe away whole civilizations in Africa.
The story flows through four important episodes of history, beginning in about 1885 when Bechuanaland Protectorate was formed. This section briefly reveals interactions between Kgosi Linchwe 1 and the British Colonial Government, leading to the establishment of Bakgatla Reserve by Proclamations of 1899 – 1904.
The second episode deals with Kgosi Molefi’s interaction with the British Colonial Government in the period of 1929-36. The third episode records Kgosi Linchwe II’s interactions with the British Colonial Government and black elites of Bechuanaland. It covers the period of 1964-66, leading to Botswana’s independence. Kgosi Linchwe ii resisted the unlawful expropriation of his country (Bakgatla Reserve) by Sir Seretse Kgama’s government of 1966 to no avail. He wrote letters of objection (December 1965) to Her Majesty the Queen of England, which are reproduced in this book.
The fourth episode covers the period between Kgafela Kgafela II’s crowning as King of Bakgatla in 2008 to 2021. It is a drama of the author’s resistance to the present-day Botswana Government, a continuation of Bakgatla Kings’ objection against losing Bakgatla country to the Kgama dynasty assisted by the British Government since 1885. The story is told with reference to authentic letters, documents, and Court records generated during the period of 1885-2019. There is plenty of education in history, law, and politics contained in The Last Frontier for everyone to learn something and enjoy.
Hailed for being the prime gospel concert after the Covid-19 pandemic had put events to a halt, Golden Relic, in conjunction with Sweet Brands, recently unveiled the Arise and Worship Concert, Botswana. The show marks the return of worshippers and fans to enjoy music and worship together after what seemed like “cooler box” events were taking over the entertainment scene.
The concert to be held on December 11th 2021, at the Molapo Showcase, has a packed lineup with the Headlining acts being Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela from South Africa and Botswana’s very own Obakeng Sengwaketse. More international acts from Nigeria and Ghana are also expected to grace the event. The show organizers have invested an effort in diversifying the lineup with live performances.
The promoter of the Arise and Worship Concert, David “DVD” Abram revealed in an overview of the event that; “We have lost a lot of loved ones this year, and when that happens, one’s spirit goes down, and we need a light to ground us once more, to heal our souls. Therefore, the two main purposes of this event are to do the work of God and, secondly, to make sure that we nurture and develop talent in Botswana. With challenges that come up with events of such magnitude, the team and I have been committed to seeking guidance from God through having night prayers.”
Abram added that as promoters, they usually have a bias towards already established artists, thus neglecting the upcoming ones and wanting to change that. “We approached the Melody Gospel TV Show since we aim at nurturing new talent and agreed on having one of the winners as a headliner for the event to allow them to share the stage with gospel giants so that they are exposed to the industry. This resulted in securing the Second Winner of the Melody Gospel TV show; Thabiso Mafoko as a local headlining act.”
The concert also aims at celebrating a Motswana. Multi-Award Winner; with the most recent title; BOMU Best Traditional Gospel under his belt, also best known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Obakeng Sengwaketse enthusiastically said, “I want to thank the organizers of the Arise and Worship concert, it means a lot to me after recently winning two awards that are currently the highlight of my career.
I regard this as a great revival because the Covid-19 pandemic has muffled events such as this. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with the great Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and more artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Sengwaketsi urged Batswana to come and witness the greatness of the Lord as their lives will never be the same.”
Tickets are selling like fat cakes with VVIP tickets having only five tickets remaining; the VVIP tickets include rounder access backstage to all the performing artists. The event will also comprise a seated Gold Circle Ticket, which accounts for 50% of revellers to allow for easier enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and avoid a potential stampede.
In a bid to entice merrymakers to buy tickets, the promoters have come up with a layby strategy and buying tickets on an instalment basis for the attendees to be able to buy their tickets since the COVID-19 Pandemic has left many Batswana in financial ruin but having the interest to attend the event.
One can only imagine what is like being in the public eye. It is not a walk in the park; and not as easy as people might think it is because of the pressure from the public. Celebrities or influencers are perceived to be perfect, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect parents, financially stable, healthy, and always smiling and patient with everyone – Is this for real?
However, when people’s expectations of celebrities are not met, the same celebrities are often victimized, body shamed, or blamed, fairly or unfairly. As a result of them not having a personal life, they are often scrutinized in all aspects of their lives; their lives are aired for the public to see and judge. Celebrities are often extra careful about everything that they do, they have to go an extra mile as compared to how ordinary people live their lives.
To understanding this experiences by public figures, this reporter made a case study of Mr Lizibo Gran Mabutho, the firstborn in his family with only one sibling, his younger brother. Lizibo describes himself as a simple Kalanga guy who was chosen by music and did not choose music.
He said being raised by his mother and grandmother, he grew up surrounded by music from birth. Lizibo said his grandmother was a religious person who held church services at their house in Zwenshambe, “for me singing was from Monday to Sunday. I was not like any ordinary child who only sang at church on Sundays or sometimes in school assembly, for me it was a daily thing. My mother was also a talented dancer in our village that is what I mean when I say I did not choose music, but music chose me.”
Lizibo said though he grew up surrounded by music, it was hard for his parents to accept the path he has chosen to be a musician. Lizibo said he had to prove to his parents that music was his passion and that it could pay the bills like any other profession. He said eventually they saw his passion for music and supported him.
Lizibo said being exposed to music from a tender age made him venture into the music career from a tender age. He said he was part of the Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete (KTM) choir, Lizibo said being in the public eye for the longest time has taught him that he is living for the people and that he does not have a life. He said the very society that is watching him has so much expectation for him and that means he has to conduct himself in a good manner because people are looking up to him.
Lizibo said he understands the saying that great power comes with great responsibility, “when people see me, they see a role model. I realize and understand that people are and have been modelling me even when I was not aware of it, I know of six mothers who have named their sons after me because they felt that I inspire them somehow.”
He said he has accepted his fate that he will never have a normal life because people are looking unto him. He said he is grateful to be in the public on a positive note by bringing hope to the people because he has always wanted to be part of people’s solutions and not their problems.
He said, “people should understand that our careers are our calling. One needs to be spiritually connected to their calling as an artist. The most rewarding part about being in the public for me is not about payment but about being the solution to someone’s problem.”
Lizibo said the greatest challenge that he has ever faced about being in the public eye has been the issue of trust, not able to know which friends are genuine and which ones are not. He said as a way of avoiding fake friends he has always kept his four close friends who have been there for him through thick and thin. Lizibo said being close to his family has also helped him as they have been his strength when things were not going well for him, “most of the time people say we change when we taste fame. That is not necessarily true because people are the ones who changed when we became famous. People always want something from us, nothing is ever genuine with people and that is why I chose to keep my circle very small.”
Lizibo said as much as he travels a lot because of the nature of his work because it is naturally demanding, he said he always ensures that he creates time for his family. He said that at home he is Lizibo who is sent to do errands, he is Lizibo the son, not a celebrity.
He said there is a lot of pressure that comes with being in the spotlight, “the public puts so much pressure on us mostly about the material lifestyle they portray us to have. We are often compared with South African celebrities, but people fail to understand that we are two different countries. Most people fell into the trap and are living above their means resulting in them living in debt. I often tell youngsters not to fall into that trap of being tempted to live life above their means.”
The advice Lizibo gave to upcoming celebrities was that they should know that being in the public is not about them, but it is about the people. He said, “one of my mentors once asked me if I make music about myself or the people. He said I need to make music for the people because it is my responsibility to feed them with what they need, he said they might not even be able to know that they have a need but that I need to identify that need and meet it. Our responsibility is to serve people what they need, our music is to feed people’s hunger. My music is about love, I feed people love.”
Lizibo said it is important for celebrities to seek counselling and take care of their mental health, he said he has been investing in his mental health for years because he understands the importance of mental health especially when one is in the public.