Musicians wrestle over Kea Gana hit

Thabang Garogwe
Thabang Garogwe

Thabang Garogwe, whose hit song Kea gana earned him three nominations at the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards on its first month of release, has taken another musician to court for allegedly stealing his hot number.

The jazz musician is suing Bapaki Mmoloki popularly known as Tarz-B for copyright infringement, accusing him of copyinh Kea gana melody and used it in the song called BUIST.

Garogwe told Showtime on Friday that before taking the legal route he had tried to consult Tarz-B without success.

“He performed the song more than twice on music television show Mokaragana. What he did was change the lyrics to the song but the melody is exactly the same,” said Garogwe.

“I called him on a number of occasions and even left messages, but all he did was just to reply saying that he does not want to meet me and that I was absolutely delusional because the melody was not the same,” Garogwe said.

Tarz-B has confirmed that Garogwe did approach him accusing him of illegally duplicating his song.

“My song BUIST is totally different from his, from what he is saying he believes that the melody and instrumental are his, the songs are different all the people who have listened to the songs  agree that the songs are different,” he said.

Tarz-B said that the issue was the biggest hurdle for the release of his album.

Garogwe has laid a complaint with Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS). 

In response to the complainant, COSBOTS chief executive officer Thato Mokobi writes in a letter titled, ‘The illegal use of your song Ke a gana’, states that “complaints against illegal authorisation use of copyright works must be logged with the copyright arbitration panel who have the jurisdiction to preside over such matters”.

He further writes that “COSBOTS however appreciates being informed of any dispute concerning works/songs registered by its members. COSBOTS’s reaction to the matter can only go as far as withholding the royalties for the song registered by Tarz-B whilst awaiting resolution of the matter”.

Another letter from the copyrights administrator, signed by Keitseng Nkah Monyatsi says, “please be advised that the complaint has been noted and it will be forwarded to the copyright arbitration panel for consideration”.

While little is heard of in Botswana of such cases, Copyright disputes are not new. In 2007 for an example, in a much-publicised case, South Africa giants DJ Cleo and Arthur Mafokate found themselves at each other’s throats. DJ Cleo accused Mafokate of stealing the tune of his hit, Sisi Ng’hamba Nawe, using it for his K’sala Abasalayo song.

In the meantime, Tarz-B’s just released a single, O nthodile meno, featuring Dr Tawanda is receiving massive airplay.

Editor's Comment
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