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A superstar explodes

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A superstar explodes

Born Atlasaone Molemogi, ATI is one of the country’s most gifted singer-songwriters, blessed with a creativity and energy few can match when it comes to live shows.

Sadly, away from the music, the rapper’s turbulent personal life has been slightly less successful.

While he takes conspiracy theories around the dark world to a whole new level, ATI has been fighting demons of his own.

The ‘Khiring Khorong’ hit-maker is now a self-proclaimed recovering drug addict having checked himself into rehab in late 2018.

This week, the rapper invited Voice Entertainment’s SHARON MATHALA to his suburban home in Gaborone to speak about the latest controversies surrounding his career.

The Voice team arrive to find the flamboyant artist, complete with exfoliating face mask, cleaning his room.

Pleasantries are exchanged and the singer seems in high spirits.

Before the interview begins, however, Deputy Sheriffs and a lawyer turn up to slap ATI with summons.

He is in debt but is optimistic he will come back stronger.

In an emotional roller-coaster of an interview, ATI talks about sexual relations, drug abuse and the bitter fall out with his former manager that have led to recent rape allegations.

Q. Thank you for inviting us into your home, how have you been?

I have been good. I have been blessed.

Q. Why did you decide to speak out against your manager? Where you not afraid this would tarnish your brand?

Even more important is protecting the victims who are derailed into thinking that what they are told is A when it is actually B.

So this is more about the victims not me.

Q. But all of this allegations happened under your nose? Did you not notice anything?

I am very observant but with my manager it was like there was an energetic block.

He controlled everything around me.

Even with the people that I interacted with.

He understood my weakness and he played around that.

Q. Oh! What exactly do you mean by ‘he played around your weaknesses’?

I am one open person, I am an open book.

He knew how to play around that because I vested so much power into him.

All my relationships, he went behind my back and intimidated the people.

He had a hold on a lot of people I have tried to get into a relationship with.

Q. What exactly do you mean?

I will tell you something, I have never been in a relationship.

I have tried.

I have even tried to get into a relationship with money.

I did not understand the culture of a relationship and when I did my manager got in the way because you know people are not comfortable about their sexuality.

Q. Why?

I was dealing with abandonment issues.

I was too clingy with who I am trying to love that they don’t even have time to love me back.

My manager intimidated my partners about their sexuality.

This had been going on for too long until I decided that I should go to rehab.

Q. So you checked yourself into rehab, you were not talked into it by family?

Yes. I checked myself into rehab because nobody cared about me.

I looked at myself as worthless.

My level of self-esteem and confidence was so derailed to a point whereby I did not want to be seen.

It got so bad towards the end of last year.

I will tell you something, he painted a picture of a chaotic character.

Q. But trouble seems to follow you. Do you know this?

Yes. Yes I do.

Q. Why?

Most of the time it’s ‘purpose learnt’ it is not poor decision making.

Most of my chaos is orchestrated by people around me.

Even before the drugs I know they planned all of the bad things against me.

A lot of things have happened and were meant to happen to me.

Q. What do you mean?

The drug industry in Botswana is (….breathes heavily) I am lucky to be alive. I am lucky to still be sane.

Q. When did the drugs start?

In 2015.

Q. What made you dependent on drugs?

I was not dependent on drugs.

I tried to escape the reality of pain.

The painful part was coming face to face with drastic measures afterwards.

I had to cut the cord with everyone I know and evaluate the relationships that surrounded me, from work to love relationships.

When I did this, I found out that most of my relationships were orchestrated with malice by the one person I gave enough power to destroy me.

Q. Please elaborate further and make it clearer for me, what do you mean by this?

Circumstances always turned around to make me seem crazy.

I started questioning my reality and during this time I did not want to talk to nobody.

I was literally down on my knees and I look back now and say I am lucky to be alive.

Q. Do you think the drugs played a big part in your problems?

I don’t blame anything or anyone.

I just believe things happened the way they were supposed to.

I will tell you I am the best version of myself right now.

If happiness was to be gauged from 1 to 10, I am at a 5.

Q. Have you ever been at 10?

No. I have never been on a 10 but it is my first time at 5, that I will tell you!

Q. What drug was it?

I would not want to say.

I will tell you though that it was a drug that made me calm. Is it important to know?

Q. Why were you missing shows?

I was not well.

I couldn’t.

I was mentally unstable.

Wa nkutlwa gore ka reng? (do you understand what I am saying?) Mental health is very important.

When they found out that I was on to what they were doing with all these rapes, they literally tried to make me go crazy!

Q. Did they buy the drugs for you?

No! I bought the drugs for myself.

I mean I was addicted, I still am but I am recovering, you know what I am saying.

I am recovering from a mental problem.

Q. But your fans did not know all of this.

They were screaming your name and you did not come.

That is the thing, that is what I am telling you that [screaming fans] it is just not enough.

I was losing my mind.

I mean if I missed a show because I broke my leg it would be easier to understand, right?

What would you rather lose, your mind or your leg? The mind is everything.

Q. Are you in debt?

I am still trying to pay off all that I owe especially from last year when there was a lot of chaos.

Just right now you saw that I got a summons but I don’t live life by sulking.

I take it with grace and I am going to move through this.

Q. If you could undo one thing, what would it be?

I would not change a thing.

I would not because the level of understanding, what I like and what I don’t like, has heightened right now.

I understand now what it is that can advance me from point A to point B and I do understand what manipulation is.

I have lots of knowledge right now that I would have not known if I had not gone through what you say is a negative space in my life.

I mean I have tried to commit suicide but I am still here.

Q. You attempted suicide?

What I mean is that I now understand what a child who says I am going through depression means on a personal level because I have been through that.

I now understand that it is not the drugs we should be fighting, the fight is to help one accept what one does not want to accept.

It is what I call healing the inner child.

Q. Any plans of having a family of your own in the future?

Depends on what you mean by family. I don’t know what family is.

Q. Children of your own?

Umm, NO!

Q. Do you have a financial advisor?

No but I have had a financial restrainer and that was my mom.

She used to co sign with me.

Q. Have you ever been broke?

I define poverty on a spiritual level.

I have been poor with money in my pockets.

That whole time of ‘Khiring Khiring Khorong’ what I did at the time was the most suicidal thing ever.

I kept myself busy as opposed to dealing with what I was going through.

Same as taking the drugs; I always felt guilty for taking drugs because I felt bad when taking drugs and then coming to have a conversation with you.

I knew that was not me. It ate at my spirit.

But all I want to do is do good.

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what will you be up to?

Probably in the studio making music.

*ATI’s manager refused to comment on the allegations against him.

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Entertainment

Dipping in with Dipsy

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Dipping in with Dipsy

A legend of the game

When local football fans are asked who the country’s greatest ever footballer is, many will respond without hesitation, Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane.

Certainly, the 42-year-old Gaborone native’s achievements on the footy field are rivaled by precious few.

From playing abroad for five years – in Denmark and America – to starring in South Africa for almost a decade, at club level Dipsy enjoyed a stellar career.

However, it is his exploits with the national team that the striker is best remembered for.

Having captained the Zebras to their maiden (and to date only) AFCON appearance, Dipsy forever carved his name into the annuals of history, coolly rolling home a penalty against Guinea to score Botswana’s first ever goal at the tournament.

Voice Sports Portia Mlilo sat down with the legend for a look back at his footballing career as well as his current endeavors.

Q. When did you start playing football?

As far back as I can remember.

I grew up in a family of football lovers.

My mother, Getrude Selolwane, is known as a big fan of football supporting Gaborone United.

Growing up, GU players would come to our house all the time and I was inspired.

I started playing football on the streets of Extension II in Gaborone with brothers in the hood.

I went to Benthema Primary where I played for the school team, turning out for Arm City, Liverpool and Manchester (Notwane development team) in Chappies Youth League.

I think that is where my talent was recognized.

I was called for U/17 when I was playing at Nanogang Junior School and when I was at Gaborone Senior, I played in 2nd division for Nyangabwe, who are now called UB Hawks.

Q. When did you realise that a career as a footballer was a real possibility?

When I was playing for national U/17.

During international games, we came up against youngsters who were playing professional football and I started to believe that I could also do it.

I was inspired by Aaron Mokoena of South Africa when we played against them at U/23 level.

We had a chat and he told me he was quitting his studies to move to the Netherlands.

Football in Botswana then was more of a pastime than a job.

It was inspiring to hear a youngster almost my age talking of turning professional.

Q. Of all the games you played in, which one brings back the sweetest memories?

All Zebras games I played for the country and when I was playing at SuperSport, a game against Al Ahly (Egyptian team).

I played for my country with pride and I earned my stripes as a Zebra.

I am very proud that I led the team as the captain and we qualified for the AFCON.

That was our biggest achievement as the nation.

Q. And personally, what do you regard as the greatest achievement of your career?

Honour of Meritorious Service to Botswana awarded by the former President Khama.

That’s the best time and best award ever; to be honoured by your President was huge for me!

The other achievement I would say is playing at AFCON, making the country’s maiden appearance and scoring our first ever goal.

That really means a lot to me and my nation.

Q. And on the opposite scale, what are some of the disappointments of your football career?

Quite a few to mention but they have all led me to the greatest moments of my life so I never dwell much on them.

I had applied for Botswana National Sports Council elite scholarship to study at America and also pursue my professional football career.

The process was too long, I was sent from pillar to post.

I was already admitted at the university and what was left was for BNSC to release the funds for my trip and studies.

A day before my departure I was told the right procedure was not followed and I needed to apply again.

I have never been hurt like on that day!

My family had to call an emergency meeting and managed to raise the money for my flight ticket.

I left here with US$200 (P2, 000).

When I got there I found a piece job as a Valet in a hotel and worked for a Nigerian who had a studio at the mall not far from my house trying to make ends meet.

After three months that’s when I was told BNSC had approved my scholarship.

Q. Tell us about the nickname ‘Uturn’, how did it come about?

It came after the turn and strike against South Africa in 1999 at the National Stadium.

I made a quick turn before scoring a wonder goal that marked the start of my impressive career.

It was during COSAFA Cup preliminary game and I was only 21.

I scored a brilliant goal beating the then Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Brian Baloyi.

That was impressive!

Wow, I’ll have to YouTube it!

Q. You mentioned moving to America in 2000 at the age of 22 – what stands out most in your mind about that time?

That football has opened doors for me.

It was very tough at first when I arrived because I did not have a sponsor.

I worked extra hard on the field to market myself to be signed by a professional team.

I had to quit my studies because I could not turn down Denmark, a lifetime opportunity.

I did not want to live with the ‘what if I had not gone’ question hanging over me.

Q. What was the best thing about living in America?

It was an eye opener.

There were lots of opportunities and it made me see life differently.

I would say that is where my professional career started.

They had the best facilities for my career development.

Q. You played in Denmark for a while – what was that like, both on and off the pitch?

I was there for seven months and it was a big learning experience.

The football is not the same as ours.

Q. What do you remember most about your first Zebras call-up – you were only 20 at the time!

I sat on the bench and was grateful not to make an appearance.

I scored on my debut against Lesotho in a friendly match.

Q. Having captained the national team in qualifying for AFCON 2012, you missed the first game through suspension.In the second, you scored the country’s first ever goal at the tournament – a 23rd minute penalty to equalise against Guinea. Stepping up to the spot, what was going through your mind?

The time is now. God had brought the moment to make history.

That was the most difficult and biggest task in my football career.

Q. Fast forward to today, what do you think the Zebras are struggling so much? Where are we going wrong?

The mentality and desire is not the same.

Q. Do you think Amrouche is the right man to take the national team forward?

He is a coach with a huge CV but we have to come to the party to help him move the national team forward.

It is just that the mentality and desire is not the same as ours when we qualified for AFCON.

We were playing for the nation, appearance fees were not even an issue; we were very passionate about our careers.

Q. Toughest opponent you played against?

Mogogi Gabonamong.

He remains the only player that frustrated me to a point where I was given a red card.

He is very intelligent and could read my moves.

My uncle bought me soccer boots in Germany and they didn’t fit me so I gave them to him because we are friends and I always treated him like my younger brother.

When we played against Mogoditshane Fighters, he stepped on my toe to win the ball and I became so angry.

I think it’s because he did that with the boots I gave him!

I shouted at the referee for not protecting me and I was given a red card.

Q. Dipsy today v 21-year-old Dipsy: what’s the difference?

I’m a wiser man now!

Q. It is rumoured you intend to stand as a BFA National Executive Committee additional member in August’s elections. Any truth to this?

(Laughing) What would be wrong if I decided to run in BFA elections?

On a serious note I have not made up my mind but I believe it is high time footballers run football.

Q. Tell us about your football academy and what inspired you to start it?

I want to share my football knowledge and help players live their dreams in football as well as give back to the community.

We also teach them life skills because there is life after football.

They are coached by Vincent Kgaswane.

It is unfortunate that due to Covid-19 pandemic we are not training but we gave them a training programme to follow at their homes.

We will bounce back once WHO give us the green light.

I want it to be a world standard academy and produce professional footballers.

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?

I will be just home with my family and my beautiful two daughters.

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Entertainment

Amantle Brown teams up with Gigi lamayne for “sedidi”

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Amantle Brown teams up with Gigi lamayne for “sedidi”

Defers sophomore album to September

Brownies as she affectionately calls her fans, can brace themselves for Amantle Brown’s sophomore album, which was delayed by the global pandemic, COVID-19.

After a four-year hiatus, Brown’s album will finally drop in September.

Her debut album ‘Sa Pelo,’ which had chart-topping singles such as ‘Moratiwa’, ‘Black Mampatile’ and ‘Sa Pelo’ shot her to the top and won her many awards.

The album, Amantle Brown has confirmed will have 13 tracks.

Voice Entertainment caught up with the petite singer after she released a teaser to the upcoming album, featuring South Africa’s elite rapper Gigi, Lamayne (25) for her latest offering dubbed “Sedidi”.

“I started working on the album as early as last year. When looking for whom to collaborate with, I reached out to Gigi Lamayane and she agreed to set up the meeting. Early this year she came to Botswana for radio interviews and we decided to meet up and record the song,” Amantle Brown said.

“As you can imagine the lockdown has affected a lot of my plans, including the release date of the album. I literally had to go back to the drawing table with the team. There is a lot that goes one behind the scenes before releasing an album. I know all eyes are on me now, first of all it has been a while since I released an album and secondly I have to top the first album, and that is pressure on its own,” Amantle Brown further shared.

Targeting a younger audience with her latest offering, Amantle Brown has switched to a more upbeat tempo.

“We decided to take the dance route. Without completely losing our original touch, we have infused Afro Pop and dance beats into my sound,” she said.

Commenting on her recent controversial post about female hygiene on social media Amantle Brown said, “I was trying to give advice to my ladies about hygiene. The truth of the matter is a lot of us ladies have bad smell down there, so I was trying to share with my followers what has worked for me. I wasn’t expecting it to blow up that way. I have since deleted the video. The backlash was really bad.”

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