By Tilo ngwana Rashaka
I may not be Tswana by birth right and neither have I set my foot in Botswana but I like their cultural music. The extent to which I like their cultural music sometimes scares me and wonder if that’s normal.
But believe me, Batswana’s culture is rich in all the different directions and that’s probably the reason their culture has caught my attention.
Following the country’s musical giants, Culture Spears, gigantic achievement with their second album, Kulenyane, in 2006, more than ever before, I fell in love with Tswana music and found myself wanting to get a glimpse of all Tswana music I could lay my hands on.
Can you blame me? Kulenyane and Khudu are the best ever produced Tswana cultural music and I doubt there’s be any album, either produced by Culture Spears or other groups that will surpass these two projects by standard. It became evident with Culture Spears’ latest project, Kuweletsana, that Kulenyane and Khudu will forever hold on to their giants titles. Maybe one day they’ll prove me wrong but I doubt.
Whether people consent to it or not, but the truth is Culture Spears paved a way for, and marketed other Botswana artists abroad, like in my home country, South Africa, for example. Following the release of what I deem as “Southern African cultural music anthem,” Kulenyane, countries in the region started experience an influx of Tswana music into their countries.
And two of those groups that benefited from Culture Spears’ massive achievement are Dikakapa and Shumba Ratshekga. Their hit tracks, Bo Malome and Makhirikhiri, respectively, launched them outside Botswana’s geographic boarders.
Even though it seems that their lime light was short lived, I don’t know for what reason, but they really had a great music. I still remember Dithubetse and Mmalebeto from Dikakapa. These two were, and still are, my favourites.
Le tla shwa di ntja ke lona. Le tlile go jewa ke manong le tshela. Batho re swere bothata. Ke dithubetse rona ga re robale.
Mokone wee, Mokone wee, Mokone wee Mmalobeto Mokone wee.
Wow! Splendid. Forgive my spelling. I’m Pedi but the music is great, I like it.
When it comes to Ratshekga’s Makhirikhiri, ijo, the song used to be a hit in my village. People liked it to bit. I mean who would not listen to such good music?
Nna ke sa le ke bua le batsadi ke re ke nyaka mosadi, mosadi nna ke mmone…. O tletse makhirikhiri, o tletse makhirikhiri, o tletse makhirikhiri o na le metsanotsano.
Those were the old good days. I wish these artists could revive themselves and make a comeback with real hits. The problem that I’ve realised in many artists is that they produce a hit album that launches them but then fail to keep up with fame. Once to fail to deliver to your fans’ expectation, you take a fall and I think that what worked to Shumba’s detriment.
I will be waiting for the day Culture Spears come back with a well-directed video that surpasses Khudu by standard and at the same time showcase the richness of Batswana culture.
As for Ratshekga and Dikapapa, where are you?