Many would have thought the allure of being revered and prestige that comes with being a tribal leader, a kgosi, would compel local musician Astley Gops to dump the career that made him famous to concentrate on his new assignment.
Instead, after being installed as Headman of Arbitration for the Baretele Sub-tribe of Bakgalagadi at Goo-Moiphisi ward in Letlhakeng last weekend, legendary Afro-pop musician Gopadileng Shobuwa Gopadileng or ‘Astley Gops’ in the music industry has revealed that he is not about to quit entertaining just yet.
He told Arts & Culture, that he can never quit music as much as his focus now will be on the people of Moiphisi ward. “Just like my uncles advised, my music career should not conflict with my job as a Headman,” Astley Gops stated. He noted that his new role wais a permanent and pensionable job that requires him to be nearer to the tribe.
According to Astley Gops, he has assured his people that he will not disappoint as he tackles both roles. “Both jobs are God given so with music people often call us bo Rasekanta but I am a businessman. Since I started my musical career I have taken this craft seriously and all these years I have stay away from all negative things because I knew that one day I will take this role to lead my tribe,” said the Gona Jwale hitmaker. The self-proclaimed Afro Pop king said his fellow musicians can attest to the fact that indeed he is a humble and God-fearing person. Astley Gops added that juggling both jobs would not be difficult because as a musician he performs at
“As an officer I will have weekends to myself, so that is when I will make time for music amongst other things.” He further said for someone who has been in the music industry for 20 years, this is not talent but a calling from God. “All those years you have never heard that Astley Gops has flopped or quit,” he further highlighted.
Astley Gops has eight albums under his belt having started with the song Mosimanyana ga o na tsebe back then. “That song did wonders on Btv and I was one of the first artists to launch Mokaragana on Botswana Television,” he recalled. He also looked back at how music had evolved in the past two decades. “Music life was good, there were fewer conflicts and more collaboration and we respected each other. We didn’t class other artists as upcoming like they do these days,” he said.
However, Astley Gops sees himself not as a legend but rather a parent in the music industry no, wonders he wants younger musicians to be given a chance. “For the past 20 years I have realised that music needs patience and love. We need God and I always tell other artists that our problem is that we do not pray no wonder all bad things like drugs and promiscuity are associated with our industry,” he said.