Over the years there have been different views and beliefs on how Motswako originated with some saying it originated from Maftown, with some saying Botswana’s Nomadic is the Motswako originator. There has been a number of issues surrounding the genre in general as it grew to be one of the best in Africa. Motswako OGs Tuks Senganga and Towdeemac who were in the country recently shared their knowledge with Arts & Culture correspondent DUMISANI NCUBE on the origins of Motswako.
“We cant’s say Motswako started at such a particular place by a certain individual. What I can say is that it started in different places around the same time. By then we already had people mimicking Americans rapping in English and there was a need to start rapping in our own language that people around us understood,” said Towdeemac. Tuks Senganga believes that as Batswana people they were already accustomed to poetry, which they loved so much and with time they decided to fuse it with some beats and melodies to come up with Motswako. Even though Tuks Senganga is one of the genre pioneers he cannot point out to a specific individual or group that originated the genre saying it is a group effort by Batswana.
Most established Tswana rappers have been pointed out as the pioneers with some such as Khuli Chana claiming they are the pioneers. “It can’t be Khuli coz the time we came into the scene there were already people that were into Motswako,” Towdeemac who is in Morafe a Motswako group with Khuli Chana said.
Towdeemac vividly stated that rapping in vernacular was important and more influential giving an example of how American rappers are more influential in their country because they rap and speak in the same way they talk in general. He however stated that at some point rapping in vernacular was not seen as a good practice.
“In Maftown we have a Motswako
Over the years Motswako rappers such as HHP, Khuli Chana, Molemi to mention but a few took over the hip hop industry as a whole which led to the rise of more Motswakolisters but with time the genre faded as English rap and other languages took charge.
“With time every musical genre changes; being influenced by the type of music that the media is playing. Motswako is not dead its still on high rotation in people’s devices. Motswako has the same influence as Nigerian music but look at how small Mafikeng is compared to Nigeria. That’s why the biggest artist in Africa is Cassper Nyovest, a Motswako artist,” argued Tuks Senganga.
As Motswako OG who helped lay the foundation, they both stated that they are happy with the work they did and how the new generation has taken over especially in the digital era world where they can do anything with their music.
The rappers had come to the country for a performance at Chez Nicolas, which was also an exchange programme where they get to collaborate with local artists.