â€¨â€¨Behind the #TLATSALEBALA organizing is a brutal war of egos between promoter’s artist’s managers and creative industry entrepreneurs. Whilst the public has given all the goodwill to the #TLATSALEBALA concept and the public has not withheld any grain of good will, behind the scenes its an ugly scenario.
The #TLATSALEBALA management has a choice of explaining themselves to artist who are expected to be a part and bold font of the concept. It is not raining but pouring as the question of whether this is a charity or business event refuses to depart from the lips of musicians, their managers and promoters alike. Behind the scenes, it is ugly from toe to hair.
#TLATSALEBALA management says the line up of 06th May 2017 at the National stadium now stands at 62 artists. This is on the backdrop of some artists demanding commercial contracts. #TLATSALEBALA management team is unable to furnish those required to perform at the vent with contract because they have ruled out the idea of paying artists.
Before Kast went out for a 1000km walk in raising awareness for the event, almost all the artists were prepared to do it for free. What made matters worse is that the understanding was that he is walking to raise the BWP 200, 000.00 needed for the venue and appropriate logistics.
This scenario literally turned upside down when the chairman of Botswana National Sports Council, Solly Reikeletseng, announced on his Facebook page that the BNSC has resolved to sponsor #TLATSALEBALA to a tune of BWP 200,000.00 to cover he venue and associated venue logistics. Though this was meant to show the commitment of the Honourable Thapelo Olopeng’s ministry in supporting and growing local arts, it has come back to be a painful offer already accepted.
Some artists are now questioning why they should perform for free. Artists are positing that Kast wants to pursue slavery in making them work hard for free. It appears, somehow along the line, the #TLATSALEBALA management team, in accepting the many gifts, money and offers in support of the event during the 1000km walk, they then began to pursue the event as a charity exercise. This is the confusion that that the sponsors, well wishers, donors and ticket buyers do not know about.
It has come out blazingly clear that when Batswana reacted to Casper Nyovest’ connotation that he does not know Kast and asking who Kast was, Batswana went in to defend and uphold the status of national patriotism. The artists also wanted and possibly, still want to prove themselves that they can fill the stadium. But with an environment of creative arts that is naturally so, by form and format filled with competition of who is best on stage, in good will and in making money, the #TLATSALEBALA concept has become a monopoly of bruising egos.
#TLATSALEBALA management team is behind all the fracas. From the conversations, it appears Kast is not even aware why there is animosity by artists towards his initiative. The artists expected to take part are asking why they should perform for free, pledge their support, their names, and their backing crews for a show that will only benefit the #TLATSALEBALA management team. It is being argued behind the scenes that Kast will not necessarily make money out this initiative.
The only trophy that he will be taking home is that of being bold, courageous, walked 1000km and filled up the stadium and the cash will remain with those behind the scenes, the #TLATSALEBALA management team. Names of those cashing on the initiatives have been passed to this publication and Kast’s name does not appear on the list.
Reached for comment on this matter, Resego Matenge, well known as Leshman who is also the owner and Manger of Leshman Holdings and a manager and partner to Charma Gal, he rubbished the #TLATSALEBALA concept as having lost meaning. He insists that” the whole thing has become opportunistic”. Matenge, is of a strong view that they are not taking part on the #TLATSALEBALA as they haven’t received an invite “from the initial failed event where we were not on the line up and the current one which is presented as a charity event though grossly commercial”.
Matenge lamented that when the whole concept began, Charma Gal was on hype through the ‘sekuta’ album yet was never approached to fill the stadium. That Charma Gal is currently dominating the airwaves and public spaces through ‘mmokolodi’ and is still not invited goes on to show that, only artists who are willing to perform for free due to their hunger of stage presence are targeted. Matenge persist that “the issue of performing for free is not ours, we have a business to take care of and we are fully booked on top of having our own schedule and if they want us for our show they must in monetary terms give us a reason for abandoning our plans”.
When quizzed by this publication as to why they can’t just do it for free if approached to be a part of the line, Charma Gal’s manager and live in boyfriend fired that, “we have 12 employees doing backing vocals and backline, they don’t know if they can perform for free, we have transport that has to be monetarily catered for and our rehearsal venues that are not charitable especially for a profitable event”.
What is taking centre stage is the backstage fracas is that the original concept from Casper Nyovest to fill up the ‘dome’ was not charitable. It was of a reputable and crowd pulling line up. The assertion at backstage is that the #TLATSALEBALA concept of Botswana is rather about only benefiting a few individuals and hence different from Casper Nyovest who never asked for free shows.
What is coming across is that the artists are willing to support each other without cost only if it is an album launch and nothing more. It is also becoming increasingly clear that a lot of artists feel that they are being asked to be a part of an event they don’t understand as questions they ask range from not knowing why Kast walked 100km and they posit that to this day he never explained to them why they or he should walk 1000km to fill up the stadium.
MASSIE HULE COMMENTS ON #TLATSA LEBALA
“I am part of the crew that deals with artists and as far as I know there is no artist who has refused to perform at #Tlatsa Lebala. Everyone here was pledging, no one is paid a penny. We implored a first come first serve strategy and we gave prominence to the first line- up before the event was postponed,” said Hule.
While commenting on Charma Gal and Drama Boi not being part of the line- up, Hule said they had communicated their engagements with the organising team. However he revealed that Charma Gal had earlier served them a quotation, something that showed that she wanted to be paid for her services. “She should understand that this is not about individuality, this is a national project,” he said.
Currently they have a line- up of about 62 artists and more are calling to render their services but according to Hule, considering the 16 hours time frame they have, they can’t include everyone. He said that the last time he checked into tickets sales was two weeks back and they stood at eight thousand, he however added that they are optimistic that they will fill up the stadium.
Once again, Hanceford Magapatona emerged the biggest winner with ease at the 7th Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs) this past weekend. Famously known as Han C in the music industry, the 27-year old self-taught singer and songwriter snatched the titles of YAMAs People’s Choice Artist of the Year and Best Male single for his all-time hit ‘Padi padi’.
Han C did not go home empty-handed as there were good monies for each category, courtesy of First National Bank Botswana, Mascom and Now TV. The two prestigious awards earned him P60 000 and P25 000 each, making him the biggest winner of the night. After being announced as the winner under the Best Male Single, Han C took to social media to express his serenity about the achievements. He said, “words cannot explain how I feel right now, but all I can say is thank you much to the people who have been showing us love and support.
Special shout out to Yarona FM for giving us this platform to showcase our talents and creativity. I also would love to give a special shout out to all the sponsors for making this happen. We appreciate all of you.” When getting his People’s Choice Artist of the Year award, Han C showed deference to artists nominated with him under this category. Even though they could not go home with the prize, Mahalapye-born acknowledged that they are equally artistic. “Getting a nomination for this award is quite an achievement on its own, mainly because you are nominated alongside brilliant, amazing good artists—a special shout out to my team. We put in the work; I think we should continue doing so.
PREVIOUS AWARDS NOMINATIONS
Han C’s hard work and dedication have garnered him recognition in the local scenes. And it would look suspicious if he didn’t get an accolade or two. In 2018, he was nominated YAMAs Artist of the Year, Best Male Artist, and Song of the Year (Mafurafura), Best Collabo (Mafurafura) and Best Dance Single (Mafurafura). In 2016, he was nominated for Song of the Year (SediLaaka) and Best Collaboration (SediLaaka). He won Best New Artist in 2016, Artist of the Year (2018) and Best Dance Single 2018.
MOTSETSEREPA LOSES ALL NOMINATIONS
Local comedian-turned musician Bofelo William Molebatsi, known as William KRM Last saw dust at the recently held 7th YAMAs. After being the most nominated artist, William Last did not go home with any of his nominated awards. He was nominated under: People’s Choice Award of the Year category, won by Han C, Song of the Year taken home by La Tonde and Names, Best Male Single (Han C), Best Hip-hop (snatched by Ozi F Teddy) as well as Best Social Media (Mjamaica).
He, however, took to social media to share the devastating news, which came as a slapping blow right on his face. “Wow! Whenever I think of the huge success of my Amara Willian album, I always cry happy tears. I celebrate and thank God for where he has brought me to with all this big brand success. This is especially through the greatest love from my supporters/fans all over. They are a million followers of my brand and the views that I always get on my daily posts all over my social media platforms. These big numbers scream love and appreciation to me so loud. I appreciate the love and support; God bless.”
OTHER YAMAS 2021 WINNERS
Peoples’ Choice Song of the year was awarded La Tonde and Names for their song ‘Dibulele’. YAMAs 2021 Inductee to the Yarona FM Hall Of Fame was the late Sasa Klaas. Sasa Klaas died in a helicopter crash on March 5th 2021, near Sojwe. She was an all-around musician mostly known for her hip-hop culture.
Producer of the year was snatched by MB on the Beat, while Boipelo Seleke scooped the YAMAs 2021 Icon award. Seleke went home with P25 000 while MB on the Beat only earned himself P10 000. The new Mokaragana hostess Girly left the YAMAs as the new awardee of Best Female Single for her song ‘BMW’. Best Amapiano went to Deejay Bino’s ‘Touch’ featuring the late Sasa Klaas, Rasun and Da QuTness.
Further, Lloyd BW and Priscilla K’s ‘Have You Ever’ won Best Dance Single, while Best Collaboration was won by FlyBoi Que featuring Jordan MoOzy and FME Luther October on their hit ‘Ndeya’. Ozi F Teddy also made a debut appearance of the YAMAs nominations and snatched Best Hip Hop for his song ‘Negotiate’, where he features Murda.
Almost every year, Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) attracts hullabaloo over its annual music awards. This time around, it was not only that. There has been much noise around compliance, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development involvement in the affairs of this organisation, as well as the contentious sponsorship from the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS).
Following a four-year hiatus, BOMU awards found themselves being the talk of the town due to unfair practices some artists claim clouded the non-complying organisation. These are serious accusations that BOMU has since rubbished as deliberate actions intended to tarnish its reputation.
Some disgruntled artists recently took to the streets to protest against these practices. However, these are not subscribing members of BOMU. Before being cut short by the Police, these artists demanded that the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare step down immediately. They claim that Rakgare has failed his mandate.
On the other hand, they demanded that the Youth Ministry reverse the P500 000 it has splashed on the BOMU awards, and the money be split among artists. A lead protester in these activities, Rhumba artist General Tuco, told Weekendlife that BOMU management should halt the awards and instead clean the organisation’s dirty laundry.
He further indicated that they would be dropping a petition at the DBS offices, urging the group to revoke the P1.5 million sponsorship it has awarded BOMU. Because these discontented artists claim that BOMU is non-compliant, they will also be marching to the Registrar of Societies to express their grievances.
In an interview this week, General Tuco said they are still engaging their attorney to formalise their protest and give them a way forward. The Police deny them a permit to hold their rally. According to information gathered last week, the artists were arrested and released the same day and asked to apply for a protest permit.
BOMU PRESIDENT SPEAKS
BOMU President Phemelo Lesokwane told a media member on Wednesday that “We have seen people on social media dragging our name on the mud as BOMU. They say we are non-compliant, corrupt and unfair. When we get to see who these people are, they are not our members. They call themselves artists, but as legalised agents of artists in Botswana, we do not know them, neither do we know what they are talking about. We condemn these acts.”
Lesokwane rubbished allegations that BOMU is not compliant. “We see journalists giving these guys who masquerade as artists more prime time for them to tarnish our name. But they do not have the evidence. BOMU is compliant, and we have all the documents. We also have verified documents from the Registrar of Societies, who are our key stakeholders.”
Talking about being backbitten, Lesokwane claims that government officials from the Registrar of Societies are promoting what unregistered artists are making noise about in the corridors. Some of these officers fed the Youth Minister Rakgare wrong information about BOMU. BOMU has much work to do in-house.
Further, Lesokwane revealed that when they took over the office, BOMU was mugged some of its finances. Investigations are ongoing to retrieve such monies, he said. As if that is not enough cleaning, Lesokwane has a headache dealing with another faction dubbed BW Artists, which represents artists in the Northside of the country.
“If you could look into the management of this organisation, you would question their interests. Two of them are politicians. Once they fail primary elections, they come back into the music industry and cause chaos. I always say I am going to fight with everything I have together with my team to make sure that we protect artists in Botswana.”
JOURNALISTS FINGERED IN THE BOMU MESS
BOMU President Lesokwane has accused journalists of being biased and unfair to his organisation. He stressed that BOMU depends on members of the press to help rebuild the dying Botswana music industry. “Most articles about our artists speak negatively about them. Foreign artists are always given priority instead of our local artists, but we value journalists as our equally significant stakeholders. We can grow this industry together.”
These media reports, Lesokwane said, have forced stakeholders to withdraw their sponsorships towards the BOMU awards, slated for October 2021. At times they are required to answer for hearsays that are not accurate. He reiterated that BOMU has nothing to hide as it is compliant.
BOMU MUSIC AWARDS CONSULTANT SPEAKS
BOMU Music Awards Consultant Seabelo Modibe has been topping the charts for a long good time. His appointment as a consultant was notorious as critics felt his company was relatively premature at the time of appointment.
He joined the BOMU get-together at the time the awards were still distressed by the hubbub. Many asked if he would manage the heat, but clearly, Modibe is having a hard time. He, however, stressed that BOMU is open to criticism.
“Lot of people say BOMU has been given money to waste. That is not precise. It has sold its product, its broadcasting rights. They were sold for P1.5 million to the DBS. Our contract is for a year, and we will be going back to them in December. MYSC has acquired what we call commercial rights. These are rights that someone buys to promote their mandate. MYSC seeks to promote local music using BOMU awards.”
Mpho Donald was undoubtedly the IT girl of the then tedious beauty industry. She loved looking pretty and smelling good. Of course, this is every girl’s dream, but making a living out of it doesn’t flash into many of these girls’ dreams.
Besides, it used to be a lot more common for the majority of entrepreneurs to be male in the past. However, in recent years the number of female entrepreneurs in the world has been on the rise. She is from a family of business-minded people. Both parents were entrepreneurs, but that is not why Donald is a powerful woman in this entrepreneurial space. At one point, life threw lemons at her, and she made lemonade.
At the age of 38, Donald has been to South Africa more than once. These frequent hazardous trips at the time were to acquire secret elements into being a real hustler. She would get robbed, risk being raped or hijacked, but she survived.
“At one point, life got too difficult to an extent where I found myself doing piece jobs for other people just so I earn something to buy toiletry, food and clothes even. I did laundry, and in the entire process, I got tired. I had to think about business, and it was easy because I come from a line of people who believe in trading. Somehow I got motivated, but I never wanted to work for anyone in life.”
Before embarking on shadowing missions in South Africa, Donald would go around the capital city, hunting for customers. Kgale Mews, Commerce Park are urban offices for various companies, but this did not restrict her from knocking, selling makeup, jewellery and accessories.
She was known for this particular hustle in all the offices. Some people will get exhausted because of her irritating products, but that did not stop her from acquiring a tiny spot in Main Mall. She pitched her gazibo, and her next items on display were plus size women’s outfits. These women are often overlooked, especially on beauty pageantry. The controversial Miss Plus Size Botswana pageant never saw the light of the day ever again.
“I guess that was after I saw the pains of plus-sized women when it came to shopping for something to wear. Being a plus-size woman made it easy for me to penetrate this space. I modelled all my clothes and advertised them on social media.”
Social media opened many doors for so many entrepreneurs. Donald can attest to that. She told Weekendlife that “People started coming in to buy both makeup and the clothes. Then, later on, I started selling second-hand clothes and while at it, I moved to my first shop. I think for me taking risks has never really been any scary because I convinced myself that in any case, I fall, I will rise again.”
“So I went boldly into everything that I could do at the time. I would travel to South Africa to places I never knew. I got my stock there, and even when I got robbed, I knew I would eventually reach my destination. It surely wasn’t an easy walk in a park, but I persevered,” she said.
From her mini boutique, Donald went full force into buying and supplying second-hand clothes. “As the COVID-19 lockdowns hit us, I was busy at work pushing the idea on mini bails and second-hand clothes. So it came down to my mind that I have to know what to sell in which season. It was a trial and error kind of hustle, but once you get a grip of it, you begin to sail smoothly.”
Donald currently supplies small businesses across the country. She gets to enjoy a good relationship with her customers, who are in other countries even. “It took me much effort, commitment and loyalty to be where I am today. I guess I could now boldly say that hard work is beginning to pay off. I have started knocking on bigger doors for partnerships, and I believe that if I can get them, beauty plus size clothing will be elevated to the next level.”
Mpho Donald is originally from Serowe. She studied her O and A-levels in Zimbabwe at the Specis College. Still, in Zimbabwe, she enrolled and qualified as a Travel and Tourism expert. She said in an interview that she will be venturing into other hustles too but couldn’t reveal which ones now. Donald is optimistic that everything will be ready and served in 2022.