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Han C on singing in the vernacular

Han C
He burst into scene with that catchy Sedi Laaka song by Chrispin The Drummer and Team Distant. With an incredible feminine voice, his lyrics went on to capture hearts not because of their arrangement but also because they were sung in Setswana.

This week Arts & Culture sat down with talented lyricist, Han C Magapatona to learn more about his choice of language, composition, new project and a latest collabo with Berry Bone, Mafurafura  which was recently released.

The 23-year-old artist from Mahalapye said despite being associated with singing purely in the vernacular, he wrote his lyrics in English when he first started. He said he then was advised by a close family member to sing in Setswana, looking at his melody and vocals.  Han C said it was hard to put together his first few songs. “It’s not like I really know Setswana that much, but I am a person who likes researching and looking for diane and maele (Setswana proverbs and idioms) to complement the topic which I want to write about,” he said.

Han C said he reconstructs everything because not every Setswana word can fit into a song. Han C said he made other artists believe that singing in Setswana can work and make a great song in the end. He said when people first heard his vocals, they thought he was woman. “It’s just a gift from God,” he said. He said locally he would like to work with artists like Ndingo Johwa and possibly see what might come out. Talking about his first album On My Own, released last December, Han C told Arts & Culture that completing the project was hard because it was his first album.

“My manager, DJ Boogie Sid was pushing me hard. I was used to making one song. I am a person who takes time to write my songs and produce quality music.”

While Han C has done many house songs, the singer was quick to highlight that nowadays they cannot restrict themselves to one genre. “I believe in myself too much. I believe I can do anything and I can sing in any song so I do different genres.”

“Berry Bone has produced for many artists including

MMP Family, so this time with Mafurafura he wanted to come out,” Han C commented about the single. Han C, who is a two-time YAMA award-winning artist, said his last nod in December was an honour. “I was in the category with big artists like Dramaboi and ATI so it was tough.” As for being compared with Motlha of Mmamotse fame, Han C said that he is glad that artists like Motlha and Gaone are following the trend of singing in Setswana.

“We want to take Setswana out there. I can work with Motlha, I know him and have been a supporter of the guy,” he said. Looking back, Han C said he started singing when he was five years old. He actually grew up in a musical family. “I was bound to be a musician because at primary school I was in the school choir,” he said. As he moved up the ladder of education, Han C was quick to acknowledge that he stopped singing. “I just sang for family and friends.”

Han C said he later put together music with his friends. “We met this guy who had better equipment and we managed to record there. Obviously, we hoped to one day become big musicians,” the Seileng hitmaker recalled.

Han C said he made progress when he began making sample songs to gain recognition in the music scene. “I made a house song and I sent it to a couple of artists and a few days later Chrispin The Drummer responded and loved my song,” he says.

Han C recalled how Chrispin made a beat for Sedi Laaka and the song eventually became an instant hit. Han C said the support from Batswana so far has been amazing.

He acknowledged that in the music industry they try too hard to impress the audience to attract support. “I have developed a fan base which even myself I don’t know where it came from,” he said.




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