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.â€¨He is currently working on a new album which is expected to be released in April this year.
Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.
“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.
Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.
For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”
Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai
I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.
“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”
Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.
“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.
Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.
“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.
Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?
“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.
I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.
A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.
How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?
“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.
“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.
“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”
*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.
Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: speakclairely
Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.
Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.
She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”
She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.
“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.
She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.
Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.
Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.
When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.
Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.
Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.
“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.
So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”
Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.
The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.