Mmegi Online :: Shumba dumps tshega for priestly robes
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Friday 24 November 2017, 17:23 pm.
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Shumba dumps tshega for priestly robes

Shumba Ratshega says he will don his tshega for the very last time this weekend before he throws it away and becomes Prophet Moses of his new Heaven Harvest Ministry church. Staff Writer THALEFANG CHARLES meets the man that created a genre of music called Makhirikhiri
By Thalefang Charles Fri 28 Jul 2017, 15:50 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Shumba dumps tshega for priestly robes








No local artist, dead or alive, has ever achieved African fame like Shumba Ratshega. Born Moses Molapela 35 years ago, and just like the biblical Moses, he took Botswana traditional music to the Promised Land and jammed it to new African markets that could not speak a word of Setswana. And they loved it.

The Shumba has roared throughout Africa. From the humid coastal city of Tanzania's Dar es Salam to Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, to the lakeside beach bars of Lake Malawi, from Nkhata Bay to Monkey Bay, to the dark drinking joints of Burundi’s Bujumbura, to the clean streets of Kigali, Rwanda, to the beautiful and truly African city of Kampala, Uganda, to the Kenyan metropolis of Nairobi, to the white sandy beaches of Mombasa, to the rolling tropical highlights of DRC. Inside the long distance buses, from Lusaka’s famed Intercity Busrank, where drivers behave like they are on some extreme sports, passengers are serenaded with Shumba’s DVD. Since early 2010, they have jammed to Shumba’s songs in bars and various drinking holes selling typically warm beers throughout east, central and southern Africa.

Shumba’s 2006 song, Makhirikhiri is not just a song in East and Central Africa. It is a genre – a type of music, language, people and style originating from Botswana. In that part of Africa, Botswana traditional music is called Makhilikhili, the slow beat and sound that was bastardised from the old traditional folk songs together with a relatively modern live band around 2000 by producer, Eric Ramogobya of Eric Ramco Records.  In that part of Africa their ‘r’ fails to roll from their tongues like children who refused to listen to their grandparents and drank rainwater falling from thatched hut roofs.

During my backpacking expeditions through East Africa, Makhirikhiri has scored me beautiful friends, and it was a soundtrack for my great memories. In December 2011 at a small pub in Kigoma, while downing Kilimanjaro beers with a waitress seated at our table (I found this rather intimate service by the Tanzania waitress very great, especially if you want to learn about the place), the Makhirikhiri album was playing in the background.  Back then, I did not really know the lyrics, but I caught up very fast and sang it loud to the delight of this waitress. Everyone in the pub picked that I could sing it with perfect precision and gawked at me. The waitress felt so proud to be next to this foreign Makhilikhili and she was so happy she got drunk and did not want to let me go – I suspect it was more of excitement than real liquor, or I might have also gotten casual with the truth and probably mentioned that Shumba is my brother or something like that. Travellers make up things sometimes. From that night, I realised that Makhirikhiri is a phenomenon, and the fact that I am from Botswana and knowing how to sing it deep inside these low-lit pubs of East Africa, could cause trouble. I vowed to meet Shumba and talk to him about his

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success and thank him for that night at the Kigoma pub.

We did not really meet. But I reported about his East African success. To me the albums that came after Makhirikhiri did not really matter because I have never really gotten over Makhirikhiri. Most of my East African exploits with Makhirikhiri as a soundtrack could not be well articulated in a family newspaper. So, later when Shumba released other popular hits like Loso La Monnamogolo and Ke Thala Dintle, I was still jamming to Makhirikhiri.

This week Shumba dropped a bombshell. He revealed that he will be donning his tshega (loincloth for boys) for the very last time on his last tour as Shumba Ratshega because from next week Friday, he would be opening a church called the Heaven Harvest Ministry.

When the poster for the church appeared on my timeline, I initially thought it was one of Shumba’s cheeky ways of entertainment and after calling him, I realised that he is not bluffing.

On Wednesday, we met for the first time, him as Prophet Moses, at his yard in Mogoditshane's Block 9 suburb where he resides with his wife and three daughters.

Talking with his strikingly rich Bobirwa accent - straight out of Mosweu ward in Bobonong, - Shumba talks like a converted man – a man of God. He says Makhirikhiri’s success was just through the “grace of God”.

It is easy to believe him because it shot to fame during the glorious times when traditional groups like Dikakapa, Culture Spears, Matsieng and Mokorwana were still intact and ruling the local airwaves with the new sound.

“A go talanyana?” I asked him rhetorically, whether this new ‘prophet fad’ is because these days church is big business.

“No," was his emphatic response. "It is a calling from God (he says it with that Sebirwa twang, and it comes out as ‘Godee’) God said to me, ‘Go and deliver people! Go and heal people! Go and bring prosperity to people.

“There is no hunger in traditional music. Even if we can go to Mafikeng today and put up posters for a weekend show, many people will come. Plus God is not God of poverty. He is God of riches.” Shumba also reveals that he recently dumped an album project. “I was ready to release an album with Ditiro [Loero], but I quit and followed God’s calling.”

He claims that the Holy Spirit has already healed people through him. He goes on and preaches, saying that he was an artist and did unholy things, but now he has found, and works for God. It is very hard to get any applied and deeper understanding from someone who has newly found Christ because all the answers become: “It is God”.

It is almost like the artist that used to create artworks that connected deeper with other people, some who do not even understand the language, has vanished and ‘God’ has become the answer for all the questions.

Shumba has reached that stage. He looks content in his new path as Prophet Moses. He says God will help the fans of Shumba understand.

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