A piano gift from his grandfather instigated a nerve stretching tension of thoughts and deep affection for music; it touched a nerve and brought inspiration. It was only a matter of time before young Ban- T started applying himself passively at first but they say once the musical bug has bitten, there is no looking back. As a young visionary and dreamer, he had to opt for a tangible charge first by enrolling in a Degree program in Sound Engineering and then creating his own music and establishing his stage name Ban- T as a brand second to none, which was the beginning of Baanthata Mokgethi’s career as a performing artist, writes DAVE BAAITSE.
The release of Whyso faded Anthem ft Faded Gang early last year saw him breakthrough the music scene, toping charts and enjoying airplay in every radio station locally. It was always going to be a ticking bomb since he had to redeem himself, to prove that it was not a once off hit and this led to the release of his second single this year, titled ‘Naomi’ which became more of a national anthem amongst the youth. To his amazement it even proved to be bigger than the first one and even made its way to DStv music Channel, Trace Africa.
At the recent nominee announcement of Yarona Fm Music Awards 2016, Ban- T emerged the biggest achiever of the night with six nominations with just two singles amongst them, Best Male Artist, Best Newcomer, Song of the Year- Naomi and Artist of the year. The award ceremony will be held on Saturday 10th 2016 at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC). Although the YAMAs are only on their third edition, they have already cemented their place as one of the most highly anticipated events of the year that celebrate music, fashion and lifestyle.
While commenting on the nominations, Ban- T however confessed that it is indeed a tough competition since he is pitted against some big names such as Dramaboi, Team Distant and Amantle Brown among others.
“I am very overwhelmed and delighted by the nominations! Even though I was expecting them, I did not expect this much, maybe two or three”, he beamed with excitement.
He says the nominations are more of a reward to him and they give him hope. Equipped with music, knowledge and driven by passion, Ban- T promises to be a force to reckon with. With two singles, his compositions surpasse his intended upshot and the hype is always amazing when his music is played.
“My inspiration is in making good music for the people to enjoy, this is new age Hip- Hop”, he told WeekendLife. Based in Johannesburg where he is currently studying, Ban- T is exposed to one of the continent’s top notch entertainment industry and expectations are that he will learn a lot from the best and grow his career.
His humble journey to musical fame began with the video of ‘Whyso Faded Anthem’ which was released earlier last year. It was the quality of the product that impressed so many people and immediately catapulted him into stardom. Taking advantage of the momentum created by the video, he released another single ‘Naomi’ in February 2016. The song was released in time for a show that was slated for Stanbic Bank Piazza in March featuring EMTEE and Nasty C. As luck would have it, the two South Africans did not pitch up for the show and automatically meant that the local boy became the headliner at the show and he to the surprise of his fans, buried the show.
Within two months of his song ‘Naomi,’ acclaimed South African Hip Hop artist, AKA, commended the song on his #ComeUpKingdom Twitter competition. He says Naomi is a song about teenage boy’s situation growing up with girls. This is a humour song that was produced by one of the best producers being Taku who also produced for South African Rick Rick. He is currently working on his debut album which he is hoping to release early next year and could not divulge more info regarding the album.
The song ‘Naomi’ was also airing on BBC 1Xtra in the United Kingdom (UK).
Only aged 19, Ban- T is promising to be one of the most celebrated masterminds of the modern new age hip hop to have graced the native land. His efforts will go down the history books of hip- hop. He currently controls the waves in the local entertainment scenes and his future looks even brighter everyday and he continues to get more bookings. He recently performed for over thirteen thousand people at the national stadium during the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC), the show which is not only big in Botswana but rated amongst top ten in Africa.
He is a social conscious person and is a founding member of a foundation called the ‘Whyso Movement Foundation’ that is geared to support less privileged members of society especially the youth. The foundation produces and sells branded merchandise and with the proceeds donates essentials and gifts to children in informal settlements and neighbouring village communities in Botswana and also gives outreach talks to youth on life skills, advocacy against child abuse, drug and alcohol to the youth.
However, his passion remains in music and spends time in studio creating music or by his piano composing or practicing his trade. Ban- T also has an extensive following on social media that is continuously growing, on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.