A memorial service was held at Avani Gaborone hotel on Friday to say goodbye to the legendary musician, Momo. Family, friends, fans and musicians took the stand to provide a eulogy for the late musician.
The director of the ceremony, Benson Phuthego, said he met Momo when he was a student at the University of Botswana.
“I was the Student Representative (SRC) minister of entertainment and culture and I asked him to perform for students,” he recalled. According to Phuthego, Momo politely explained to him that his music was meant for the mature crowd.
Phuthego who is also a poet recited a short poem to honour Momo. “A great light has gone out and Momo’s legacy has moved on. In Setswana we always say go swa modimo go sale medingwana,” he said.
Phuthego also said Momo’s music was beautiful so people need to celebrate his life rather than mourn. “People like Momo are not supposed to die and we thank him for the music,” he said.
Avani representative, Martin de Klerk said Momo was first introduced to their hotel in 1997 where he became a resident entertainer till death. “He was always there for us when we needed him. We thank Momo’s family for sharing him with us,” he said. De Klerk said Momo brought people from different cultures and countries together through his music.
Momo’s caretaker Bakhwi Kragh said she met Momo in 1997 when he moved to Botswana. “He was like a brother to me and we grew very close over the years. Kragh said she was there during the days leading up to Momo’s passing. “Days leading to his passing, Momo asked me to perform various tasks and it’s like he knew he was going to pass on,” she explained.
Family representative Rosemary Mentjies said they met Momo in the Comoros in the 90s and he eventually became part of their family. “He lived with us before he moved to Botswana and we will always remember his great spirit. The clouds will clear and the sun will shine again,” she said.
Momo’s friend Robert Piva-Crehange said he met Momo in 1997. “I went away for few years and when I returned we rekindled our friendship. His music was great and it made him happy,” he said.
Musician Calvin Kaluza said he was first introduced to Momo in the early 90s. “I was very young then and I admired him and the way he played his guitar,” he said.
Kaluza said Momo was the one who helped him to do a solo career. “Momo helped me and he didn’t ask for anything and that is how selfless he was,” he said. Kaluza sang a farewell song in front of the crowd at the memorial service to honour the legendary Momo. Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) representative Dithuso Selepeng said Momo took his craft very seriously. “Most of the local artists here were mentored by Momo and he always told us to take our music professionally. He was a visionary man,” he said.
Born in the Comoros Islands in 1963, Momo leaves a wife and three children. Momo was a Muslim and his funeral ceremony will be performed at his home country.
However, his family has agreed to bring his ashes back to Botswana to perform a traditional funeral where his fans would get a chance to say goodbye.