Promoter fears disco may die with Tshanda


While tributes continue to pour in for the veteran musician Dan Tshanda of Splash fame who died last Saturday, local promoter and close family friend Mogatusi ‘Spring’ Sebego is worried his music could also go down with him.

In an interview with Arts & Culture, Sebego said the music industry, especially disco has lost an icon whose boots would be difficult to fill. Sebego stated that as the pioneer behind the disco genre, he was everything to it.

“It’s a sad time for us, especially the disco music fans. I am not just talking as a fan of his music, but also as a friend and promoter because we related very well,” said Sebego of Springbok Entertainment.

“I don’t know how things are going to be from here, but I am scared of what may happen to his legacy, his music. Who will take over? Indeed a giant has fallen.”

Sebego remembered the Setlhopha hit maker as a humble musician who was very caring smart. He said that his success was based on his love for his music and being hands on.

“Personally I have known him when I was still in school in the late 80s. When you booked him to perform at your festival, he would make sure he comes early with his band so that he assists with preparations. He didn’t want poorly-organised events,” he added.

He said that even though he knew of Tshanda’s heart problems, he is still shocked and sad that death has robbed him of a friend, reliable partner and entertainer. He stated that he last spoke to the musician on New Year’s Eve when they wished each other well in the New Year.

Spokesperson for Botswana Pantsola Association, Mompati ‘Sparks’ Dikgomo also said that they have lost a father in Tshanda. Dikgomo said their association’s formation was due to the impact Tshanda’s music had on them.

“As you know, Pantsola is about a lot of things such as dress code, love and music. But we don’t just dance to any music but disco. There always have been many disco artistes, but it is his music that we always danced to and later formed this association. We have to honour him hence we organised his memorial service,” Dikgomo said.

Dikgomo said that they were strategic partners with Tshanda and had an agreement to appear during his local tours. He said that his music has made an impact on their lives and should live on forever.

Tshanda pioneered disco music and rose to stardom with his group Splash following the release of their 1986 classic album Peacock, which featured the smash hit of the same title.

The 54-year-old Soweto-born commanded a huge following in countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe where many called him by names such as ‘Daddy, The Boss and The Hit Husband.

Though in South Africa he was generally regarded as an artiste of the 1980s, and was no longer popular, Tshanda never stopped producing music and performing. His record label, Dalom Music, also produced smash hits for artistes such as Patricia Majalisa, Dalom Kids and Matshikos.

Locally, he also groomed several artistes such as the late Donald Botshelo. Don B joined Tshanda’s stable in 2004. They collaborated to produce many hits amongst them Re itshwarele.  He also groomed other local disco artistes like Lindah and Zangwana. Tshanda also collaborated with Vee Mampeezy few years back in the hit song Siya zenzela. Whenever he performs the song on stage, Vee Mampeezy always shows how disco music had paved his way.

After the passing of the legend, Vee Mampeezy posted a video of his past performance with Dan Tshanda on his Facebook wall to pay tribute to the disco legend.

“I had an opportunity to learn and work with the legend Dan Tshanda. I must say he was a father more than a work mate. May he rest in eternal power and Botswana will never forget #splash #Dalommusic,” read the Facebook post.

Besides artistes, Dan Tshanda’s music also influenced the original pantsula who in the past years have found their feet and gathered together to bring back the genre’s credibility to the streets and even formed an association.

Pantsulas get booked to perform at various events where they dance to disco music.

Tshanda had over 30 albums. His wife and three sons survive him. Dan’s family released details of the memorial service on Twitter and it will take place at Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg on Friday. He will be buried a week later next Saturday at Westpark Cemetery.

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