Promoter Seagile says he is merely responding to popular demand
Merely a few days after the re-opening of the performance industry, promoters have angered some local artists by headlining with a foreign act. One particular show that has exasperated Batswana artists is “The People’s Festival” that will headline Limpopo dance musician Makhadzi at Molapo Piazza on 22 October.
The artists’ bone of contention is that they should not be overlooked in preference for foreigners after 18 long months of abjection dejection when their means of earning a living was effectively outlawed. “It is disappointing that the minute the industry re-opens, promoters look outside when we have the right talent right here at home,” one told Time Out. “But it is their funds and they can do what they want.”
But the promoter behind “The People’s Festival,” the outspoken president of the Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) Gilbert Seagile, is unfazed by the criticism, saying he is only responding to popular demand. “As promoters who are in business and not social responsibility, we observe the trends and our customer’s demands,” Seagile says. “Makhadzi’s demand was created by radio and that is who our people want on the stage.”
“Makhadzi is the only headlining act and 99 percent of the lineup is made up of our local artists. We have already confirmed some of our artists who have been putting in the work and are in demand. They are La Timmy, Team Distant, Eskimos among many others.”
The objection of local artists aside, Makhadzi (real name Ndivhudzannyi Ralivhona) has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with, release of her much awaited studio album, “African Queen,” in September to wit. The album features some of the biggest powerhouses in popular music genres, including Botswana’s Odirile Vee Mampeezy Sento.
If the 25-year old queen of Limpopo dance music is not trending on social media for her ‘zany’ moves, she is putting in the work making music that resonates with her fans. She is branded the most streamed female artist on Apple Music for 2021 for her last album, “Khokhova,” which is still on the charts.
But that does not take away from the fact that for several years now, local artists have been fighting what seems to be a losing battle to become headline acts in major music festivals. As a result, some artists had struck out to create their own shows until the Coronavirus brought the industry to a grinding halt last year.
The trend may continue because after the industry re-opened over the weekend, some artists went on to create their own music shows. One such artist is Franco Lesokwane who launched his latest single, “Motho Yo Ke Ofe,” at his farm in Kumakwane last weekend.