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AFRIMMA: Nnunuís lessons from America

Back from Dallas, Texas in the United States where she was nominated for the African Muzik Magazine awards (AFRIMMA), Afro- Jazz sensation Nnunu Bolemo Ramogotsi reflects back on this highlight of her musical career, rubbing shoulders with African superstars and what it takes to bring home an AFRIMMA award, Writes DAVE BAAITSE.


When she dropped her 2012 marvellous and most decorated album ‘Mmasonoko,’ it surely catapulted her to stardom, making her one of the top voices of Jazz music in the country. Ramogotsi has sure strummed the right chords, eventually becoming a brand associate for the industry in the corporate world. She would later travel the world; Europe became her “second home” performing mostly in Sweden and Germany. Her 2016 AFRIMMA nomination came as no surprise to her, especially under the category Best Female Artist in Southern Africa-she instead saw it as yet another opportunity to conquer Africa and indeed the world through her music.


She just returned from the awards a few days ago, where she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Nigeria’s Davido, South Africa’s duo of Lira and Zonke to mention just a few.  “These are the continent’s biggest awards which bring together African artists under one roof and I was very excited,” she said.


Ramogotsi is a versatile artist who has gone all out to explore her talent, she once featured Hip- Hop artist, Dramaboi in a song titled ‘A reyeng’. The song became an instant hit and featured in Dramaboi’s album which topped the charts. African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) is the sole award ceremony in the Diaspora that caters to all musical genres including but not limited to Afrobeats, Assiko, Bongo, Decale, Funana, Genge, Highlife, Kwaito, Lingala and Soukous.


The third edition of the AFRIMMAs which was held in October 15, 2016 was an explosive affair with preparations and consultations made early to make it a grand occasion. AFRIMMA is committed to writing the African music story on the world map. While Namibian, Chikune won the award for which she was also nominated, Ramogotsi in no way doubts her talent or her capability of bringing back such an award. In fact, she believes the reason Botswana has difficulty with winning at the awards which are on their third year running is because they lag behind in voting, and that this might be influenced by the small population.


Albeit returning without the award, Ramogotsi said she made a lot of contacts and she is looking forward to collaborating with many influential artists across Africa including the winner. Her nomination was guaranteed by her video of the song ‘Mmasonoko’ which was produced at a budget close to P 85, 000. She did not rule out the possibility of collaborating with big names more especially the Nigers who happen to dominate the African music industry.


According to Ramogotsi, to be nominated for the awards takes a lot of courage and hard work. A nominee’s music has to be taken under a vetting process, she said, adding that “one has to be influential and active in social media” and their music has to be of good quality. “The artist has to be consistent with her work and has to have done a lot of collaborations with other big names, ” she added and gave an example of Mafikizolo who have now taken a new approach to their music. Mafikizolo have now added a bit of Nigerian beats and tempo in their new songs.


While Ramogotsi said it is not easy breaking the ice as a jazz artist, she is happy that she has managed to break into the scene. Even though she did not disclose more, she is currently working with one of the big groups from Uganda on her upcoming album which might be released sometime next year. They met at the AFRIMMAs and the group is more interested in her music and they agreed to work together on collaborations. This was after they performed together in Galveston in Texas after the awards and her upcoming album looks to be nothing other than a magnum opus featuring some of Africa’s crème de la crème.           


Ramogotsi is a member of The Women of Jazz, a trio band that consists of her, Kearoma Rantao and Punah Gabasiane- Molale. She is also a member of the Re Batswana Ensemble and has contributed a lot in the local music industry. She said the founders of AFRIMMA who once visited Botswana believe the country has a lot of talent and that there is a lot yet to be done. On their second edition, the awards honoured the country’s President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama with a Transformational Leadership Award for his contribution in the arts industry.


“Personally as an artist, I think Botswana should affiliate to the AFRIMMA, those people like our music, more especially the traditional music. Other artists such as Vee who was nominated last year and again this year had the opportunity to perform at the AFRIMMA stage and they were impressed,” she said. She asserted that this, to her was an eye opener and called on local artists to come together and unite and work as a team to bring an AFRIMMA award home next year.


She also alluded to the fact that as artists, they have a lot of challenges and government should come to their rescue. Earlier this year when they met with Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, now Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng, he advised them to work together and form an arts council that will be the voice of artists. Olopeng warned them of forming a lot of associations that end up clashing and not serving their intended purpose.


Ramogotsi even suggested that the trouble with getting finances sorted  when it comes to making trips across the world for awards like the AFRIMMAs would be easier dealt with, should there be a council formed as minister Olopeng advised. For her trip to the US, she managed to get sponsorship from Sprint Couriers for a return air ticket, but for meals and travelling within the US, she had to make ends meet.

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WeekendLife

BOTSWANA TO HOST MISS WORLD 2026

6th December 2023

Even though Botswana has over the years been performing extremely poorly at the Miss World competition, the country has confirmed that it will be hosting the beauty festival in 2026. Initially, the country was to host Miss World next year, something it failed to confirm before deadline. Director at Miss Botswana, Benjamin Raletsatsi, says Botswana will be ready then to host all participants. Miss Botswana Top 25 finalists left the boot camp yesterday. Quite shocking though, Miss Botswana team is still failing basics as responding to media inquiries on time yet it is dangerously hoping to host an event of high status

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WeekendLife

DJ Sway ‚Äėsaved‚Äô the YAMAs

22nd November 2023

DJ Sway, the daring and ambitious on-air presenter of Yarona FM, played a crucial role in saving the radio station’s music awards, known as the YAMAs. The event was initially dry and disorganized, but DJ Sway, who co-hosted with Pearl Thusi, injected life into the show. However, things took a turn for the worse when Pearl Thusi abruptly left the stage, leaving DJ Sway to carry on alone. Despite the unexpected setback, DJ Sway rose to the occasion and captivated the audience, effectively putting an end to the drama caused by Pearl Thusi.

In an exclusive interview after the YAMAs, DJ Sway revealed the behind-the-scenes chaos that unfolded during the event. He acknowledged the script editors, Phalana and Hope, who worked tirelessly to reedit the script and adapt it to a one-host format. Despite the last-minute changes, DJ Sway remained composed and focused, thanks to the support of his colleagues, such as Owen Rampha, Katlego Rakola, Tshepang Motsisi (DJ Easy), and LB.

When asked about his initial reaction to the unexpected turn of events, DJ Sway admitted to feeling saddened by how things ended. However, he credited Pearl Thusi for giving him a much-needed confidence boost during his moment of doubt. She reminded him that he was destined for greatness and that he didn’t need big stars to succeed. With her words of encouragement, DJ Sway regained his composure and approached the rest of the show with the same professionalism and charisma he displays on the radio.

To overcome the challenges he faced, DJ Sway relied on his radio skills and calm personality. He engaged with the audience as if he were speaking to a single person, pointing out individuals in the crowd to create a more intimate connection. He also expressed gratitude for his backstage team, who provided support and ensured the smooth running of the show.

DJ Sway expressed satisfaction in being seen as the saving grace of the YAMAs. He believed that he fulfilled his role as a host and brought joy to the Yarona FM board, his family, and his fans. Despite his success, DJ Sway’s journey has not been without hardships. He has experienced the loss of his mother and sister, which has left a lasting impact on him. While he continues to grieve, he seeks solace in therapy sessions and relies on his father for emotional support.

DJ Sway’s dedication to his craft and ability to overcome adversity make him a remarkable figure in the radio industry. His vibrant personality and deep knowledge of music have made him a perfect fit for Yarona FM. Despite the challenges he has faced, DJ Sway remains determined to make a positive impact and bring joy to his listeners. With his talent and resilience, there is no doubt that DJ Sway will continue to thrive in his career and leave a lasting legacy in the world of radio.

 

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WeekendLife

Chef Gustos walk of shame

22nd November 2023

Chef Gustos, the renowned hitmaker, recently experienced what can only be described as a walk of shame at the 8th edition of the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs). Despite being nominated a whopping seven times, he failed to secure a single win. Ouch!

The night was filled with surprises, drama, and controversy, but the biggest winner of the evening was Han C, who walked away with three awards, including Best Pop and Best Male Single for his hit song, “Sebinki.” Han C graciously announced that he would be donating P10,000 from his winnings to his fellow nominees, promoting a spirit of togetherness among artists. What a noble gesture!

Meanwhile, Chef Gustos found himself on the losing end of several categories, including People’s Choice Artist of the Year, which he had won in the past. He seemed unfazed by the loss, stating, “People know that ‘Away’ was big, but they won’t stop me.” It’s clear that Chef Gustos is determined to continue making music, regardless of the awards he receives.

However, he did express his frustration with the outcome, suggesting that the awards may be corrupt. He declined to comment further, citing the need to protect his brand and maintain good relationships with corporate clients. It’s understandable that he wants to avoid any potential damage to his future prospects.

In fact, Chef Gustos went so far as to request that Yarona FM not nominate him for future YAMAs. It seems he wants to distance himself from the disappointment and focus on his music without the pressure of awards. Perhaps this decision will allow him to create freely and without the burden of expectations.

While Chef Gustos may have experienced a walk of shame at the YAMAs, it’s important to remember that awards do not define an artist’s talent or success. His fans still appreciate his music, and he continues to have gigs with corporate clients. So, despite the disappointment, Chef Gustos remains optimistic about his future in the industry.

In the end, the YAMAs may have been a letdown for Chef Gustos, but he’s determined to keep moving forward. He won’t let a lack of awards dampen his spirits or hinder his creativity. And who knows, maybe next time he’ll come back stronger and prove that he’s deserving of recognition. After all, the true measure of an artist’s success lies in the hearts of their fans, not in shiny trophies.

 

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