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Ups, downs of showbiz

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2017 was a year of mixed fortunes for the creative arts industry and even though there were days when chips were down, all in all it was a year to remember for most of the industry players as strides were made and new relations forged for the betterment of this massive industry fingered for its huge potential.

BOPA looked at various incidents that took place this year that invoked feelings of sadness, unity, growth, happiness and optimism amongst citizens and made headlines in the process.

On April 23, Sunday morning, Batswana woke up to the shocking news that media personality and rapper, Mpho Vincent Tiro famously known as Steez had died in a car accident at Rakops on Saturday evening.

Steez lost his life after a tourist vehicle allegedly hit the car he was driving and it was indeed a sad time not only for his family, but the nation at large.

Steez, also known as Mochine O Ichenchang to his legion of fans, was a seasoned rapper, radio and television presenter, who worked hard and epitomised the essence of hard work.

He was born and raised in Mahalapye and rose to fame after he was chosen as a presenter for Btv’s Meribo magazine show in 2003 alongside the late Kago Setshogo and Pauline Mabelebele.

After leaving Meribo, Steez strengthened his TV presenter credentials when he joined Btv’s Flavadome a year later and co-hosted the show with Mabelebele from 2005 to 2007.

Steez also tried his hand at radio by joining Duma Fm as one of its first presenters.

His passion for music led him to release his debut hip-hop album, Streets Are Calling on March 2007 and on December 2008 his sophomore album titled Mochine O Ichenchang also came out. 

Last year he released two singles titled Pula and My Botswana from what would have been his upcoming third studio album titled Mochine O Ichenchang Vol.2, which was yet to be released before he met his untimely fate.

Steez held a Bachelor of Arts Degree with majors in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of Botswana.

Fast forward to September 8 and still recovering from the untimely death of Steez, the music industry was again reeling from another shocking death of none other than Soares ‘Dj SK’ Katumbela, who was reported to have died on Thursday September 7 in the evening.

A jazz fanatic of note, Katumbela was the founder and managing director of StreetHorn Promotions and his death sent shock waves across the music-loving public as many wondered and speculated on what could have happened.

Born in Francistown on October 12 1961, he was since 2008 been the voice of jazz on a Sunday programme at Duma FM. 

Almost all his life he has been organising and running jazz music concerts, jazz clubs, coordinating music and educational workshops as well as being a music promoter, his biggest and greatest passion.

Katumbela, who is survived by his five siblings, wife and three daughters, was recently recognised by President Khama for promoting and growing the jazz genre in Botswana and was due to receive a presidential honour of merit on Independence Day.

One other incident that seemed to soil the reputation of event promoters in the country was the demise of a young woman, Nametso Bogopa, who was reported to have been crushed to death at the annual Gaborone International Music and Culture (GIMC) festival held at the National Stadium.

It was reported by the police that she died on the spot during the over packed festival that marked the end of the week-long GIMC event.

Her untimely death attracted wide criticism from all quarters with many attributing her death to failure by festival organisers to pay attention to security detail.

Following her death, government issued a directive to bring to an end music festivals that are held in stadia and other public places.

Addressing music promoters at BNYC premises, Minister Thapelo Olopeng said following a Savingram from government that pronounced that entertainment/festival events would be banned from the National Stadium, the issue had been revisited and cabinet had agreed that events scheduled for 2017 would go on.

On a more positive note, Botswana’s fashion industry had reason to celebrate and be optimistic about its future with Masa Square Hotel (MSH) Fashion show, which was successfully hosted on October 21.

With the launch of MSH Fashion Mentorship Programme in March by the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, the programme brought together 12 fashion mentors tasked with imparting knowledge to 12 mentees chosen for this programme.

All the work that was put in from March until October 21 culminated into a glitzy and glamorous affair that most hailed as the best fashion show to ever be hosted in Botswana, more or so that Jan Malan, Director of Umzingeli Productions was roped in to direct proceedings and his work on the night spoke volumes.

One other impressive aspect about this initiative was the workshops that were hosted by MSH in partnership with Barclays Bank Botswana for fashion mentees.

One cannot wait to see what MSH fashion show has in store for fashion enthusiasts next year.

Botswana has always boasted of talented musicians and most this year had an okay to average year, but not Atlasaone Molemogi, popularly known as A.T.I.

His hit singles Khiring Khiring Khorong and Poelo Morago from his latest banger of an album envelope did the trick for him this year.

Fresh from landing a lucrative brand ambassadorial gig with Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC), the young lad went on to scoop six Botswana Music Union awards.

As if that was not enough, he went on to outshine Nigerian superstar, Davido at the St. Louis Fresh Fest who was the gig’s headliner, all in a day’s work.

A.T.I, along with sensational songstress, Amantle Brown performed at the Mahika Mahikeng music and cultural jazz festival on December 10 at Letlamoreng Dam in the North West province, South Africa.

One can only wish and hope that A.T.I keeps going on this upward trajectory and be the best he can be.

He made mistakes in the past and he should not be judged for it, but rather learn from his shortcomings and write his story the best way he knows how; by making awesome music and showing everyone why we make such a huge fuss about him.

Also, promoters in the industry should be applauded for having been able to bring renowned artistes in the likes of Tekno, Davido, WizKid, Burna Boy and UB 40 to Botswana.

The last time UB 40 came to Botswana was in 1989 and it shows how far we have come as a country and industry and we can only get better as we forge ahead to 2018 and beyond.

For us to be the best at what we do, we have to compete and rub shoulders with the very best that the world has to offer. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Omphile Ntakhwana

Location : Gaborone

Event : The Year that was

Date : Jan 03 Wed,2018

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