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Monday 10 May 2021, 19:28 pm.
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Johnny Mokhali charms revellers

He is an old hand in the music circles, but Johnny Mokhali proved that he is indeed a power to reckon with last weekend.
By EPHRAIM KEORENG
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Johnny Mokhali charms revellers








A Friday evening that looked bleak for some night revellers, who were looking out to have fun, suddenly found themselves in the midst of an excited crowd soaking in the sonic pleasure colonising the dance hall at a new Broadhurst nightclub. It was Johnny Mokhali, sizzling the crowd with his music.  The Catch 22 Jazz Club was dwarfed by the multitudes who had thronged the arena to enjoy the legend's beautiful music.  Upon arrival, a familiar song could be heard as Mokhali, with his wife as vocalist, backed by a local band, Stream Jazz, got down to the business of playing, galvanising the revellers into action.

"Ao batho le utlwile gore ko Jwaneng
Go nale setlhopha se se godisang ditlhopha,
Se bidiwa Youngsters,"
he sung.

And as if on cue, the hall broke into song as revellers sung along with the band.  The music was coming out as  high sound quality, thanks to the live band that is made of local instrumentalists in the mould of Tumelo Mafoko, an established drummer-cum-keyboardist, Rapaki Mmolotsi on the base guitar, Modesto with the second keyboardist, Costa handling the guitar and Awilo from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Nothing beats live music.  You could see it was going to be a night of fun as the  crowd danced with gusto and you would have thought they were connected in spirit to the band.

It was a rare sight to see varying generations - from young men and women to old ones all under one roof footloose on the dance floor as they blended, music, man and woman becoming one. Perhaps it was the music that got them into action, but more importantly, it could be the fact that most of the songs that the muso harped resonated well with the audience as they were about Botswana.  To see Mokhali, a foreign artist belting out songs about our culture was great in the sense that everyone

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related with the music with ease.  It was definitely triggering memories for the crowd, especially those who grew up listening to this long-standing artist.

Take the song where he says, Modimo O Phala Baloi (God is greater than the witches)", where he delves into the African narrative addressing issues of traditional beliefs on witchcraft. He tells of an incident in which he nearly died in an accident along the Orapa-Francistown road. With the band playing out tight tunes, making their instruments speak the message clearly, Mokhali was really touching the souls of the crowd.

"Koloi ya re direla mathata, Ga re ng ga Orapa le Francistown,
Koloi ya re bontsha metlholo, Mmata wa gago wa lefifi,
Ne a batla go mpolaa,
Ga nne ke golafetse le ga nne ke sule,
Neke tla opela,
Ke be ke tsene moreneng, ke opela," he went on whipping up his captive audience into a frenzy as they sang along with passion.

At that moment yours truly found himself posting on the Facebook page to share with friends in and out of the country of the power of live music, especially the one being churned out in the Broadhurst night club courtesy of Johnnny Mokhali. Other songs addressed social issues of marriage and other things, but the most catchy was Lerato Ka Mogala, where you are being warned not to rely on technology to find a beauty. The singer says he heard a melodious voice and thought he was talking to a belle only to realise upon meeting her that she was not gifted in the looks 'department'.

"Nnyaa yoo o ka se nne ene, Yo neng ke bua le ene mogaleng (she can't be the one I was speaking to on the phone," he says.

This sends a clear warning message that on the phone as well as Facebook and other social media networks where some people hunt for suitors on the digital streets to be careful.

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