Botswana artistes make inroads in Namibia

BY SOUTHERN TIMES

Bakang Mhaladi

Gaborone – Botswana’s artistes have largely been inward looking in terms of their audience, with intermittent international performances, particularly in neighbouring South
Africa and to a lesser extent, Zimbabwe.

But with the growing use of technology and the advent of social media, artistes have found new and easier forms of reaching their audience.

The cultural barrier has been reduced, which has seen traditional boundaries dismantled.

Botswana musicians usually perform in nearby Mafikeng, which is 100km from the capital, Gaborone, largely due to the cultural influence with South Africa.

Despite the border, the peoples in both countries share a lot in common ‑ the language and culture.

But increasingly, Botswana artistes are looking to Namibia as a new market.

Arguably, the country’s finest performer in the last two decades, Vee Mampeezy, enjoys considerable following in Namibia, particularly in areas close to the Botswana border.

Vee was in Gobabis last weekend where he received considerable support. He performed his new hit ‘Dumelana’, which has received positive reviews in Botswana and will cement his place at the top of the pile, as one of the country’s hot music properties. Vee’s fast-paced beats have become part and parcel of the party scene in Botswana, and have been well received across the border, ever since his smash hit ‘Taku Taku’ released in 2003.

Rising jazz artiste, Tomeletso Sereetsi is the latest to cross the Mamuno border post into Namibia to perform.

Sereetsi and his band, The Sereetsi and The Natives, will go further than Vee’s Gobabis show, as he will perform further afield in the capital, Windhoek, during this year International Jazz Day on April 26.

The Natives will perform alongside Berita from Zimbabwe, who is based in South Africa.

Sereetsi promised to leave a firm footprint on his second tour to Namibia.

“I will be playing music from my two albums,‘Four String Confessions’ and ‘Motoko’. I promise that we will put on a great show of our signature Botswana rhythms and grooves with a touch of jazz. This is apt as we will be taking part in the International Jazz Day festivities in Windhoek,” Sereetsi said.

He said his second visit to Namibia was key as it will go a long way in growing their footprint in the neighboring country.

“It will expose us to other opportunities that we can only be alive to when we immerse ourselves in the Namibian scene in the flesh. It goes without saying that every Botswana
act that plays in a foreign country, carries the responsibility of selling the potential of Botswana’s artistes,” he said.

The International Jazz Day is celebrated across the world every year, with Urban Jazz Grooves organising the Namibia festivities.

Dr Kagiso Moloi at Energy 100 FM is coordinating the show. Dr Moloi interviewed Sereetsi the last time he performed in Namibia, and they have kept in touch ever since.

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