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Music industry bleeds as COVID-19 strikes

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has dealt the local arts industry a heavy blow. By Tuesday morning social media was awash with statements of either postponements or cancellation of many festivals scheduled for the coming weeks.

Government too issued a statement announcing the suspension of social gatherings that include conferences, Religious activities, Night clubs/Bars, Parties and music concerts as well as public gatherings of more than 100 people.

Responding to the frustrating news, BEPA Secretary General, Sidney Nzala (Boogie Sid) who was fresh from an impromptu meeting called by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYSC) Tumiso Chilliboy Rakgare with artists and promoters on the very issue said, “We totally understand the position of Government and we will abide by the rules.

It is really impossible for us to say NO or to act otherwise because this is a health concern. We are just hoping and praying this total shutdown will not last long.”

Voice Entertainment reporters SHARON MATHALA and KABELO DIPHOLO take a look at an industry on its knees.

#GIMC family Fun Day

An event that kick starts excitement ahead of the one weeklong Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) main events dubbed the (GIMC) Family Fun day has been halted.

This was confirmed by the brains behind the event, Thapelo “Fish” Pabalinga.

He said, “The GIMC Family Fun Day that was scheduled for Saturday April, 4th, 2020 at Bojanala Waterfront has been postponed to a later date to be announced in due course.

The Corona Virus, (COVID-19) is a serious health hazard that cannot be risked and certainly not with children around,” Pabalinga said.

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GIMC FOUNDER: Thapelo Pabalinga

#Jameson connects Botswana

An event that was set for April 25th at a secret venue dubbed Jameson Connects Botswana has also been put on hold.

The organisers of the event have said that an alternative date will be communicated later on in the year should the COVID-19 pandemic subside.

“Communication regarding refund for ticket holders will be shared accordingly,” reads a statement from the organisers.

#Avani lifestyle with DJ Zinhle

Dj Zinhle was awarded the coveted Forbes Woman Africa entertainment award just a week ago after enjoying headlines with her ever-public split with rapper boyfriend AKA.

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BEPA SECRETARY GEERAL: DJ Boogie Sid

Dj Zinhle was however expected to grace the Avani Lifestyle event scheduled for April 18 but the event has also suffered a major blow.

The event organisers have not shared an upcoming date.

#Mascom horse race derby- Maun

The annual event billed for April 11 dubbed Mascom Horse Race Derby set to be hosted in the tourist town of Maun has also been placed on temporary suspension, The event will now be hosted on July 19th.

Held annually at the Shashe Horse Race Tracks venue the event has over the years been a favorite over the Easter holidays in Maun.

#Fashion without boarders

The annual Fashion without Boarders (FWB) event which was set to mark its 6th year since inception has also been pushed to August 2020 from the initial date of April 13th.

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FASHION WITHOUT BORDERS CO-FOUNDER: Serge Kabisoso

The event, which was set to also include the much anticipated Fashion Unpacked master class featuring South African socialite Mohale Motaung, Kaone Kario, Mothusi Lesolle, Thula Sindi , Peter Yuri and Pat Dambe has also been called off for now.

#Toropo ya muka

What would Francistown be without the annual TYM in May?

The event, which conveniently coincided with the Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair on May 30, has been postponed to Independence Eve on September 29th.

Founded by Bonno Ngaka aka DJ Colastraw, Toropo Ya Muka (TYM) is on its sixth year and is one of the biggest events in the second city.

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TOROPO YA MUKA FOUNDER: DJ Colastraw

From its inception the show’s mandate was to empower Francistown based artists by giving them a platform to share the stage with key industry players.

#Rock the block fest

The Dinokeng Block Party planned for the 11th of April was supposed to feature two Francistown based DJs in DJ Chronic and DJ Deuce in Ramonaka.

Headlined by Master KG, African Yard and Ancestral Rituals, it was supposed to be their biggest edition after successfully staging it for the last three years.

An event organised by Modiri “Mod Mo” Mokgothu and Thuto “DJ Stu” Thebe from Gold Vinyl Tainment and Labrious Entertainment respectively, the Rock the Block Fest is one of the few local gigs hosted twice a year.

It alternates between the five villages of Malolwane, Sikwane, Ramonaka, Mabalane and Mmathubudukwane.

#Meet and greet

An intimate session at Cresta Thapama’s ‘The Room’ has been indefinitely postponed.

Organiser DJ Cue of Cue Beat Productions confirmed this.

The quartet of YDJ, Lerato Modiega (Yarona FM), Regalo Zawadi and DJ Cedeea were supposed to bring the house down this Friday.

Cue had to pull the plug on the popular Friday gig as night crawlers are encouraged to stay indoors.

#Easter bash

Planned for the 11th of April at Kwa-Bai Farm in Lenstweletau MC Maswe, Slizer and company were also forced to postpone their event in line with the advice given by World Health Organisation and The Ministry of Health and Wellness.

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Entertainment

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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We’re doomed: an MC’s covid-19 tears

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We're doomed: an MC's covid-19 tears

There’s not a single confirmed case of COVID-19 in Botswana, but the effects of the CoronaVirus pandemic are already being felt by businesses and individuals alike.

The entertainment industry in particular has been the hardest hit, with night clubs and bars ordered to close, and no festivals allowed to take place in the foreseeable future.

For bar tenders, DJs, promoters and Masters of Ceremonies who’re mostly used to money coming in every weekend, this indefinite dry season spells doom.

“It is a nightmare,” said Dineo Keoreng, an upcoming MC and Events Promoter.

Known generally as MC Mis D.

The 31- year -old promoter is among the many individuals hard hit by the cancellations of events in the country and beyond borders.

“If you take a moment and think about the many bartenders, club DJs and people like myself who make money through events coordination and emceeing, you’ll realise just how much this COVID-19 has affected the industry,” she said.

“How are we going to pay rent? These bartenders have kids to feed,” she lamented.

The fast rising MC in Francistown says she had to watch helplessly as over five of her bookings came to naught.

“I was scheduled to MC the Organised Family Tour in Katimamulilo-Namibia in April, but it has since been postponed to July,” said Keoreng.

The energetic “hype lady” said she also had to postpone another event in Bulawayo slated for 18th April at BAC featuRing local DJs Cue and Cheng.

“This would have been the first ever event organised by Mis D Promotions under Keoreng Investments.

“I’m yet to set a new date for the Bulawayo gig. My worry however is that when this COVID-19 pandemic blows over, there’s going to be congestion. There’ll be too many events at the same time, and budgets would have doubled by then,” cried Keoreng.

Mis D however urged her colleagues in the industry to stand firm and use this time to refresh, hone their skills and observe all the health tips to help stop the virus from spreading.

“My focus right now is growing this brand. It’s a pity this virus struck just as I was about to venture into SADC, but I’m certain more opportunities will come,” she said.

Having emceed some of the biggest events such as Toropo Ya Muka, Goledzwa, TRL Soul Sundays, African Attire on Fleek, Orapa Spring Fest, Bulawayo Train Party and many others Mis D feels the time is right for her to take even bigger events, including corporates.

“I’ve worked with reputable companies such as Engen, Alexander Forbes, Mascom, KBL and recently with Star Lite in their promotion of their locally made Mayonnaise,” she said.

“So basically I’m the go to girl for almost everything. If you need promo-girls for your events I’ve got you covered,” added a giggly Mis D.

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