An obituary of Vees Kwaito


Back in the day, I would have said, “Hola Seven”, “Hola Kasi” or “Vatsay da Ntja Mme”, but that is all history now, so Vee, “Shalom Man of God”.

I watched the preaching video that you released a few days ago and I did not know whether to laugh, cry or shout ‘fire’ or ‘seven’ because of the attire and the mumbo-jumbo you kept uttering.

In the video you were handed the microphone and started, almost immediately, with “shatakarabamakarasotho, ragosishehakarase amakarosisemensotho.” 

I got really confused.

So I showed the video to manyora a kasi - Majita aaka ha Bontleng.  Red-eyed, cigarette burnt thumbs and index fingers, they watched in disbelief.

Well, I do not really blame you with their ignorance that you have turned ‘prophet’ because you have not been hiding it.

You have recently appeared in pastors’ posters advertising ‘miracle nights’ and ‘night of bliss’ featuring ‘Prophet Odirile Vee Sento’.  All along I thought you went to those church crusades to do your best – entertainment.

Honestly, it has been very hard lately watching your live music performances.  I was at The Village during that monster bash when you launched Supernatural Vol III album last year.  That was a great show mainly because of your guest artists.

You preached while your acrobatic dancer Coming Soon was humping on to the speakers like a bull with a raging libido.

Your performance with Cassper Nyovest was confusing. 

Before that Charger performance the new Motswako king boasted about arriving with “three motha****ng Range Rovers. One for bad bi***es”.

There is a video on YouTube where he introduces you back stage to the cameras, saying, “this motha****er is so short and he is the biggest thing in Botswana”.

You appeared happy about this. It is really confusing that you are a Man of God who is happy to be addressed as ‘motha****er’.

When introduced after that brief Charger performance, Nyovest’s first words were “Make some motha****ng noise for Vee y’all”. He called on the same crowd that you were earlier preaching to, to wake him up by ordering them to shout, “What’s up motha****ker!”

You later came on and jumped like a headless chicken with Naak Musiq and that was cool because for a moment there we forgot about Prophet Oridile Vee Sento.  You were just Vee, “doing what you do best”.

Still, last December I was in the audience when you preached at Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye during your Orange Monyaka performance.

At around 2am when some of the revellers were in their drunken stupor you came on stage and started playing church hymns. I still remember that angry Tweet by Sibs MacD saying, “Vee ka borutinyana ja ma**p* re shwele.”

Then I thought I was over with you that December, but we met again the following weekend at Duck Pond bar in Maun. You were performing at a free show in front of the bar. I remember re-stay’itse and then you went on the small stage and started with church hymns before preaching.  I was beginning to accept that that is your new style - bar preacher.

But the latest preaching video caught me off-guard and I have come to accept that the same old Vee, lenyora la kasi is no more. You are now Prophet Vee.  And therefore as an old fan I have penned this letter to Vee, as an obituary to your Kwaito music as we knew it.

Before I go on let me share with you my proud-Vee moment.

It was December 2011, I was inside Club Alberto in Moshi, Tanzania on the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was a day after a successful hike of Africa’s highest mountain and we decided to go and have beers in celebration at a local club. So sometime after midnight dripping sweat from dancing to Bongoflava sounds the DJ dropped your song Letlhale. Man, when that song ended I felt like I was Coming Soon. I had sung along to every lyric and I was proud to have heard that song in a distant East African town.

Now I reminisce. 

I remember back in the day when you created that new sound. I joined your movement from your debut albums Introloction, Lamalanga to Kasi Angels. Fusing Kwasakwasa lead guitar and the kwaito drum into some new up-tempo beat we named Kwaito Kwasa. The glorious days when you shifted attention from the local Kwasa giants Nata & Capricorn, Les Africa Sounds and the sensational Franco.

This was a sound breaking beat that saw us sweat at the dirty humid Cheza Ntemba, Afro Club in Mogoditshane, Ozone and Lizard Lounge during the Festus Mogae days when we still had Lala Vuka parties.

Back in the day when we wished to have All Star sneakers completing the colours of the rainbow.

You were the little (they used the word ‘pint-sized’) Kwaito star that went straight for the crown. The days when Eric Ramco was a kingmaker. We loved your music, that guitar and up-tempo beat shook every ‘cool’ combi in Botswana. Your newly cracked teenage baritone roared in combis across Botswana.

With your fake Zulu lyrics we sung along to Ola Kasi and for a moment we forgot South African music. We had our own new sound and you were the king. For the first time since independence our mainstream music was our own not South African nor American.

When you left Ramco Loco to join Guffy Creations we were proud. We knew you were in the footsteps of DJ Fresh and Daddy Skizo representing Botswana hoods in Mzanzi.

The relationship with Guffy was shortlived and it was a blessing in disguise for you because you then returned and focused on your label Black Money Makers (BMM).

Vee, understand that we were happy and proud when you started using your musical fame to venture into a number of moneymaking opportunities. There was the water called MaVEEta then condoms, LaVEE. From condoms you clinched deals to promote safe male circumcision. There was also that deal with Orange and cheap Alcatel phones. As fans we were very proud knowing that mpichi ya Kasi ya phomella.

Then as the money piled up you somehow ran out of lyrics and started remaking church hymns like Joko Ya Hao.

At first we thought this was what every artist goes through.

You used to shout ‘seven’ at every interject, but somehow you replaced that kasi slogan with ‘Jesus’. No more ‘seven’.

But what is really confusing Vee is the dance moves and your waiting for us to get drunk at your shows and preach at 2am.

Your music fans have accepted that you are born-again. Lead the church life, serve your God and avoid entertaining inebriated souls and ‘sinners’ in bars.  We will hold on to your classics because as you prophesised in 2004, Lethale Lea Tsamaya.

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