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Broke Stiger Sola joins priesthood

Stiger Sola blames some of his producers for his poverty  

It is almost close to three decades that legendary folklore musician, Monaga Molefi, has been in the industry. But sadly, the passionate Molefi only has a guitar and local fame to his name. He blames his destitution to some producers who he says used him to enrich themselves at his expense.


Molefi explains that producers robbed him of millions he made through his music. He claims that if it weren’t for the two producers, one locally-based and the other a South African, he would today be ranked among the richest musicians in Botswana.

In an interview with WeekendLife, Stiger Sola – as Molefi is affectionately known to his followers – narrated the road he has walked in his music career. He talks about it in a way a fallen hero would, painting a sad picture of unscrupulous producers he met along the way.

Born 55 years ago in Maun, Molefi’s love for music was bred by her late mother who he regards was a great singer. He says he got the passion and loyalty for music from her.


According to Molefi her mother was known in Maun for her vocals, so she always had gigs to perform at and she would always take young Molefi along to witness her mother on stage. This is where his love for music grew. He believes the spirits, through his mother, called him to music and feels that music is in his blood as part of him.

Molefi realized that he could not only sing but could also compose songs. In 1973, Molefi started to play a home-made, four-string guitar as he sang his folklore music. He continued to play and sing using his home-made guitar until 1980, when he finally managed to buy his first acoustic guitar.


It was at this stage that he realized and believed that his life-long dream of becoming a great singer was gradually becoming true.

The name of Stiger Sola started to grow big and circulate at a faster pace in Botswana. Even abroad, Molefi attracted big international music dealers who wanted to work with him.


His increasing popularity tickled and encouraged him to always surpass himself with each new song he wrote and performed.


Molefi says all he saw was success in his future and was not aware of the lurking predators among the smiling and willing producers who promised to take his career further.

In 1997, he was called in by prominent South African music producer who owned recording studios in Johannesburg, who produced his first ever album titled Khubama. In 1998 he released another album titled Mamelodi under the same studio.

Molefi says it is these two albums that have fuelled both his international fame and further demand of his music. He recalls that in South Africa he was labeled among the best folklore musicians. He found himself at various gigs sharing the stage with big international music legends, in the likes of the late Mahlatini, Lucky Dube, Brenda Fassie and today’s master guitarist, Ray Phiri.

It is through these two albums that Molefi broke new ground by becoming the first ever Motswana to scoop the South African Music Award (SAMA) in 1998. He succeeded against well-established music legends who were nominees for the award (Johnny Mokhali, Steve Kekana and Brenda Fassie). The same year he also won the first Botswana Music Award of 1998.

Molefi decries that even though the demand and selling of his albums were very high, all the money being made went to his producers’ accounts. He explains that he only got more and more fame while the money went to producers.
He regrets his lack of legal knowledge and his ignorance of how the music industry works, saying this cost him greatly.

“I remember when I arrived in South Africa; a renowned SA producer gave me some papers to sign.  But I never asked what they were for, so he also did not bother to tell me,” says Molefi. “So when I always tried to complain about him cheating me, he would produce these papers claiming to be proof that we agreed to share the money.”

Molefi claims that the two albums alone were reported to have made over 2 million Rand in a short period of time. But he says out of these millions, the Recording Studios only paid him 20 thousand Rand.

After realizing that his producer was robbing him of his money, Molefi broke ties with the Recording Studios in 2001. He came back home to Botswana with little money in his account.


In Botswana, he met another local music producer, a gospel singer, who owned a recording studio. The same year he released an album titled Galalela, followed by another two albums of Bana ba dikole and Sethukuthuku.

But Molefi says the local producer was no different from the South African producer, claiming that the local producer also robbed him of his earnings, leading to breaking up of their business ties.

“When it was time to get my earnings from him, he would tell me stories that the company sales representatives are stealing the money. So due to that, he would always give me peanuts out my own money. This was an everyday excuse when it was time to get my money,” he said.

In 2006 the South African producer again promised to work things out with Molefi. He called him back to the studio in South Africa.


In the same year, they released their third album together titled Khoi Khoi. But, according to Molefi, the producer was still the same untrustworthy business partner. He claimed that the producer continued to take much of his money into his personal accounts.


Molefi told Weekend Life that it was then that he said his final bye byes to the South African recording studio.

The legend came back home to Botswana with only a guitar in his possession. He reveals that his pockets were totally empty and feared the poverty looming to strike his household.  


These financial circumstances, stalled and affected his music career, he says, since he did not have any money to carry on with his music career and, for lengthy periods, was unable to perform at any gigs.

Fortunately, Molefi met Emcee Keal of Keal Entertainment, a Maun-based producer.


Molefi says the producer sympathized with him and agreed to help resurrect his music career.

Under Keal Entertainment, he released an album titled Ko Morakeng in 2006.  But now that the album was being released by a local studio, it did not perform well on the market as compared to the past ones. He explains that, because he was struggling with money, he failed to market the album nationwide and was only known to a few locals in Maun.

A dejected Molefi says even to today, he is finding it hard to survive in the music industry, adding that his music career continues to drown.
Molefi sees himself as a fallen legend whose efforts can only be seen in Presidential Competitions and other local events surrounding Maun.

Though he labels himself as a man of God who eyes to be a pastor in the near future, Molefi laments that he will never forget nor forgive what Gospel Singer Mpho Nakedi and Richard Siluma did to his life.

“It is a pain that I will die with in my heart, it’s something that is hard to be forgotten and forgiven,” he says.

He explains to Weekend Life that what hurts him most is that even to the present day his past albums are reported to be still selling lots of copies and millions are getting into their accounts. He says that there are no royalties that he benefits from.
Molefi explained that he recently tried to find legal assistance so that he can also claim his music royalties. But, unfortunately, he has been told that the case needs money, which he does not have.

Molefi has found solace in his new producer. He says he trusts in him and that he is totally different from the past two producers he met before.
He is currently working on a new album which is expected to be released in April this year.

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WeekendLife

Overcoming the trauma of rape

29th September 2020
Moving-on-after-rape

According to World Population Review, women aged 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Transgender people and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape.

From these very statistics Botswana can be found second only to neighbouring South Africa with the highest rape cases in the world. The number of incidents per 100,000 citizens do not take into account the number of cases that have not been reported to authorities. This goes without saying that Botswana may very well be on the same level as South Africa if not surpassing it.

Most of these victims have a hard time dealing with the violence they faced to an extent where it affects their day to day life.

WeekendLife interviewed rape survivor, Patience Ruwona, who was raped at the age of 15. Ruwona shared her gruesome experience and what it took for her to find healing, gather strength and move forward.

“It happened eight years ago and at the time I was only 15 years old. My mother was staying with her boyfriend at the time. So it happened that one day I came early from school. I was still doing form 2. I was the first one to come back from school. The boyfriend was home. So when I was changing into home clothes in my room, the boyfriend came in without even knocking. He then told me my mother has left some money so that whoever comes back first from school can go and buy meat,” Ruwona narrated.

“I then told him I will come get the money when I am done. He went back to his room. So after I finished changing, I went to their room. I knocked and he told me to come in. When I got, I found him half naked with only a towel. That made me feel very uncomfortable because when we were growing, we were taught never to enter an elder’s room when they are not fully dressed. I told him I came to collect the money and he pointed the dressing table.”

Unbeknownst to the young unsuspecting Ruwona, her mother’s then boyfriend would then grab the young lad, rip apart her garments and have his way with her. When Ruwona threatened to expose him, the audacious perpetrator would laugh in her face, telling her that there would be nothing her mother would do about the incident. And true to his words, Ruwona’s mother did not flinch upon hearing the gruesome crime that befell her daughter.

“In the evening when my mother came I told her everything. It was a simple thing to her and she never took it seriously. I told her I am bleeding and she said go and wash up we will talk about this some other time. Just like that suddenly I recalled that man’s words and I truly believed him. Till then I have not told anyone about this. I thought my mother is going to protect me, so if my mother failed to protect me no one else could protect me,” said a distraught Ruwona.

Seeking help after being raped

“Physically I had no desire to have sexual intercourse, I was scared. Years passed by and emotionally I was still battling because there were days I had flashbacks of the rape. It’s like a wound, it can never heal but it can stop bleeding. It never heals. It will bleed another time. I felt uncomfortable around men and I never went for counselling. I never went for anything, I thought I will cope on my own,” she said.

“So one day I decided enough is enough and I decided to speak out. That time I figured counselling would be best.  I later went for counselling and I was doing well. I had to accept it happened and put everything in the past. Forgiving my mother helped me to heal.”

Director of Save A Woman, Babedi Samakabadi, has highlighted that rape is a permanent wound that one has to live with for the rest of their lives.

“The first thing the victim can do is to admit that they have been abused and they should be able to talk about it to whoever they can trust; could be a close relative, a counsellor, a friend or a pastor. It is not easy to take a step towards your healing but it must be done.

Victims of rape, must create a huge room in their hearts to forgive the perpetrators even when they are not sorry, forgiveness will help the victim to make peace with life and the future. Forgiveness will allow the victim to be able to get over the horrible experience and not associate the intimate relations as abuse at all times,” said Samakabadi.

“If one doesn’t allow themselves to heal and move on, dating and engaging in intimate matters are going to be a problem in their lives. As the victim can disclose to whoever they trust like friends or family, they are also advised to seek more especially professional counselling for proper psychological therapy, as the memories of the incident may torment the victim therefore  therapy may assist with getting to live with such memories without being drawn back or life progress being affected . Lastly, the victims must know that issues as these aren’t easy to deal with through our own ability, we need God for strength, wisdom and courage. We have no power to diminish some of the weight in our emotions or the damage done to our souls and hearts, hence we need God to carry us through.”

If you or a loved one is in need of help in dealing with rape or gender based violence, the following organisations provide free counselling services;

BOFWA (Botswana Family Welfare Association) 390 0489

BOSASNET (Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network) 395 9119

LIFE LINE 391 1270

MBGE (Men and Boys for Gender Equality) 395 7763

BGBVC (Botswana Gender Based Violence and Support Centre) 390 7659

BOCAIP (Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme) 391 6454

Princess Marina Psychiatric Clinic

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WeekendLife

200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020
200,000

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.”

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WeekendLife

AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

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.

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