Showbiz industry pays tribute to late Polino

Polino PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Polino PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

As tributes continue to pour in for the departed Kwasa Kwasa artist and drummer Polino Baleja, the showbiz industry on Sunday held a tribute festival in celebration of his life.

Polino, as he was popularly known in the music industry, died last week Wednesday allegedly due to heart failure. The talented drummer, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be laid to rest tomorrow at Gabane. On Sunday afternoon, local artists, promoters and Kwasa kwasa fans descended on King Jagaban Lounge in Mogoditshane to pay tribute to the departed artist.

The festival, which was organised by industry colleagues including legendary Kwasa Kwasa artist, Frank ‘Franco’ Lesokwane and Phemelo ‘Fresh Les’ Lesokwane was also meant to raise funds for Baleja’s funeral. During his time in Botswana, Baleja worked with many artists and bands such as Fresh Les, Franco & Afro Musica, More Fire and Dipoko Stars as a drummer and also a gimmicks contributor. As such, different artists took turns on stage to perform in dedication of Baleja who was described as a humble and talented artist who respected his craft.

Those who performed on Sunday include Vee Mampeezy, Franco & Afro Musica, Fresh Les, Culture Spears, Charma Gal, Skelem Key, Slizer, More Fire, Danny bass and Dipoko Stars, which is the band he was currently with before his sudden demise.


Fresh Les, who is the first artist to work with Polino following his arrival in Botswana, said his death has touched him. He explained that Polino made him what he is today. “I worked with him before he went on to work for Franco. I took him in as my brother, and my mother treated him as his son after his arrival in Botswana. We worked together, he made me what I am, so I have to do everything I can to give him a send off befitting his status,” Fresh Les said. Meanwhile Franco said he first worked with Polino after Fresh Les recommended him during a festival at Mopipi. He described Polino as a talented individual who was very respectful. “I was looking for an individual who was talented but above all, very respectful.

After watching him play the first time, I was convinced by his talent and skill. I later on realised that in Polino I got exactly what I wanted. We worked together for many years and he contributed drums and gimmicks to many of my songs,” Franco said. When performing on Sunday, Franco & Afro Musica paid tribute to Polino by giving fans an opportunity sing one of his most popular rap during the launch of Franco’s Sephiri Se Dule album launch, much to the delight of the crowd.

The rap goes like “O ya bala bala thata, wa bua bua thata. Didimala tlhe muna, wa bala bala thata. A ko o ikete muna....” The video clip of that rap resurfaced and trended on social media platforms last week after the news of his death broke out. Polino joins a list of foreign Kwasa Kwasa artists who passed away in Botswana, among them Caprio Dikoko, Kazuzu and Shabani Mwanasande. It is understood that Polino’s family has agreed that he should be buried in Botswana.

Editor's Comment
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