It is the end of the year already! It has been one hell of a ride and only a few can say 2017 has been a great year for the entertainment industry. Staff Writer MOMPATI TLHANKANE & Correspondent DUMISANI NCUBE look back at a 2017 where tragedies, trends and controversies upended the entertainment industry
This is the year where Vee Mampeezy never got into his usual groove, Wabaatsile lacked the creativity synonymous with the artist of his calibre. Now we have a festive without a Vee hit. Well that’s a first.
And who can forget MC Maswe’s rant at Toropo Ya Muka Festival? The feuding between the Mosakaso artist and Loungo Pitse known as ‘King B’ overshadowed the festival and trended on social media. Maswe apologised but shockingly Gilbert Seagile of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association announced that MC Maswe would be banned in the industry. He took it personal didn’t he? But the letter was withdrawn; King B and Maswe kissed and made up.
Speaking of kissing and making up, after disrespecting the media last year promoters of the Hamptons Festival this year retraced their steps and apologised over drinks. It was a long media blackout so they finally learnt their lesson. Well, they have been forgiven it seems so everyone cannot wait for Billy Ocean when the festival returns in 2018.
JujuVine vs Amantle Montsho vs Public
Last year we thought Berry Heart and Tumi Modise took the title but the best or should we say the worst was yet to come. In one of the most baffling brawls of 2017 involved local sprinter Amantle Montsho and video comedian Jujuvine. The two were at each other’s throats after the latter made a joke that hit below the belt on social media. Jujuvine was making fun of Montsho’s physical appearance and the champion was deeply offended and ended up labelling the former musician as a ‘fake child’. Social media fuelled Montsho’s anger while Jujuvine gained popularity through this social mockery. The tables turned, the public got involved and it was JuJuvine’s wife who became the victim of the social media spat.
Sasa buries Ozi F Teddy
Ozi F Teddy was quite troublesome last year taking shots at everyone from ATI to Sasa Klaas and Vee Mampeezy. But it took a female voice to put him down. He has since reconciled with ATI and never responded to the diss track because Sasa was just too hot and personal.
The year 2017 started with a bomb when Miss Plus Size Mmangaka Tumagole, who was supposed to represent the country at the Miss Plus Size Universe Beauty in Trinidad and Tobago in March, was fired. Miss Plus Size Universal Botswana beauty pageant controversy further intensified after the second princess and daughter of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) minister, Thapelo Olopeng was the preferred replacement for the international showpiece.
The problem child this year was Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) and its never-ending controversies. Industry players like Alfredo Mos fought hard and the board that overstayed their welcome resigned. An AGM was finally held to usher in new members among others Zeus and Tomeletso Sereetsi. However, we haven’t forgotten about the long overdue report from Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) that was investigated by an independent forensic auditor, Masitara Forensic Practice.
Maybe flop is such a heavy word but there were a lot of failures this year, especially music festivals. Bruce Nkgakile’s Diamond City Concert headlined by Wiz kid attracted a low turnout, which was a disaster, especially for the event’s poor sound quality. Kast made everyone proud with Tlatsa Lebala in Gaborone, but Francistown was not ready for him and the audience couldn’t even fill up the golden circle area. BOMU awards are always a disaster and it gets worse by the year. This years’ Maitisong Festival was a disappointment that left many art fanatics let down. There was a lot of disorganisation and even more cancellation of events and acts. Trouble follows everyone and it caught up with Mingo, who was recently imprisoned for failing to pay a debt of P25,000. What a year!
It has been a rollercoaster year for ATI and he did hit hard after what has been a great comeback. BTC endorsed him in the process and everyone is singing Khiring khiring khorong khorong. He recently went to perform at Mahika Mahikeng Festival to hoist the Botswana flag high on the global stage. Another return to the industry after a lukewarm last album is Culture Spears. Kabelo Mogwe has finally awoken and his latest hit Dibeisane featuring MmaAusi is already making waves. Franco also made a return to the rhumba world with his 15th album titled, Eya Le Nna Babilone.
So many people said their goodbyes and one such shock was when BanT left Zen Promotions after what looked like a promising partnership. It’s not only him, Mingo recently left Vee Mampeezy’s Black Money Makers for the second time. Dollar Mac left Yarona FM and Mjakes quit radio for greener pastures. Bonni and Zizi Panther
Oh, how we can forget The Legend. It’s none other than Jennifer Thebe the nude model. She capitalised big and Batswana were watching. She was later mocked for failing her BGCSE exams and falling pregnant. The Legend recently posted a photo of her infant and critics came flooding.
Just like every country in the world the Nigerian Afro pop music wave hit the country really hard. Four Nigerian artists Wiz Kid, Davido, Burna Boy and Tekno headlined different events in the country this year and many people were excited.
Another Nigerian act Mr Ibu headlined the Gaborone International Music Cultural (GIMC) week, but he gave a mediocre performance. Artists like Amantle Brown tried the sound with the track, Follow and people loved it.
A number of musical albums and singles were released since the year started. The likes of Lizibo, Jojo, Vee Mampeezy, Obado, Han C, Charma Gal, Tshepi, ATI, Amantle Brown, Nono Siile and Touch Motswak Tswak to mention but a few released musical content that has been distributed and received differently. Artist such as ATI and Charma Gal’s songs Khiring Khiring Khorong Khorong and Mmokolodi respectively have been topping the charts and are the most recognised songs of 2017.
A number of art and photography exhibitions were held in the country, especially in Gaborone, notably Aldo Brincat hosted a photography exhibition titled The Promised Land inspired by how Botswana attained its independence. Photojournalist and author Thalefang Charles exhibited Maru A Pula photography collection inspired by rain clouds in different parts of Botswana and Southern African countries like Angola.
The entertainment industry lost a number of players this year. Local media personality and rapper, Mpho Vincent Tiro famously known as Steez died in a fatal car accident at Rakops and left the industry in shock and a young talent was lost forever. We will always remember you, Mochine o ichenchang. As if that was not enough, celebrated jazzman Soares Katumbela popularly known as ‘DJ SK’ also died in a mysterious fire just days before his event, the Francistown Jazz Festival. He died before he could get the Presidential Certificate of Honour for his contributions to the music industry. Fish Pabalinga’s GIMC attracts large crowds every year, but this time the organisers slept on the job and a young woman lost her life after a stampede ensued at the National Stadium. This unfortunate incident led to the Office of the President banning music festivals in public venues but Cabinet later overturned the decision.
This has been one of the greatest highlights for this year’s events in the entertainment industry. The event and project, which was dubbed a failure last year came back stronger in 2017 and rapper, Kast successfully walked 1,000 km from Maun to Gaborone in a bid to raise funds. Kast walked for close to a month and managed to get sponsors and in the end he was given a hero’s welcome at the finishing line.
Tlatsa Lebala was held at the National Stadium and MYSC paid for the costs. The event was fully packed and for the first time, a local event managed to attract more spectators without a foreign lead act.
iLove Botswana, which consists of Mophato Dance Theatre toured Germany and USA where they exhibited and staged their African-inspired contemporary dance moves. Actor and art consultant Tefo Paya was elected the new Maitisong Theatre director taking over from Gao Lemmenyane, who had been in charge of the office for a number of years.
High quality music videos
Botswana’s film and video industry may not be where producers would like to see it, but 2017 proved otherwise specially in the music industry. Vee Mapeezy’s quarter of a million-worth Champion music video is out of this world. Charma Gal and La Timmy also invested in their videos by involving the talented Jack Bohloko. DarkBoy Masey’s work with Gorilla Films from SA is a step in the right direction.
Rise of Mapantsula
Often judged by their dress code Mapantsula movement this year showed why they are elegant individuals who are not criminals like most members of the public would think. Arts & Culture has been following their meetings in different villages in Botswana and they even got to parade at the National Stadium as part of the independence celebrations last September.
It was not all bad though, DJ Fondo Fire finally got married, Charma Gal asked for marriage prayers, Amantle Brown and JuJuboy revealed that they were dating. Above all 2017 will always be remembered for social media trends such as the Pilane challenge, Kagiso Thutlwe’s fashion statement, Otlaa imentioner video, ICU challenge, Maele challenge and lastly Slay Queens.