Where are the Festive Songs?

  • Key promoter says artists are de-motivated
  • Modibe calls for strong support structure for artists


The year is drawing to a close but there is no sound of a local hit song within earshot to usher in the festive season.

By this time last year, both local and foreign artists had released new songs that went viral, keeping people in a festive mood as they jigged and cavorted on the dance floor.
Not this time around. The local music industry hasn’t been productive enough to legitimately rival Afrobeat as the currently popular sound in Africa.

“Artists are not recording and releasing new music as often as they should because they are de-motivated,” music industry expert, veteran promoter and founder of Total Music Group, Seabelo Modibe, told Time Out.

“If you look around, there are a lot of events but there hasn’t been any kind of counselling for the artists since the COVID-19 lockdowns. The new National Arts Council has a lot of work to do in terms of the psychology or the state of mind of artists.”

New Music
While there hasn’t been a song to take the festive season by storm yet, local artists such as Charma Gal, Franco Lesokwane and Vee Mampeezy have been trying to make their mark with new music releases.

Only last week, Vee Mampeezy – who is currently preparing for his “Last Man Standing” show that is slated for 10 December – released a brand-new song styled “Mjolo Wame.” Music enthusiasts have been slowly warming up to the new release while Charma Gal has only hinted that she may release new music soon.

Over the weekend, Franco launched his 19th album titled “A Lwa le mZambia” at Fora Farm near Kumakwane. Local duo, KhoiSan released a new single tilted “Ke Samile” last week. In an interview, Oratile Kofa of KhoiSan said “Ke Samile” is a love song – a conversation between a couple where the girl tells the boy how she loves him regardless of the situation they are going through.

The new song is gaining traction on social media platforms such as Tik Tok but it remains to be seen if it will be among this year’s festive jams.

Strong Support Structure
According to Modibe, the government should create a stronger support system for artists, now that they are demotivated. Even so, he lauded the government for bringing new TV platforms on board to support creatives and raising the level of local airplay to 80 percent and urged the private sector to play its part.

Said Modibe: “There is corporate greed locally because the same companies are doing far much better in terms of support systems for creatives in other countries. Botswana should have a law that compels these corporates to have social responsibility programmes that support the people. They are having a free lunch in this country.”

He dismissed the notion that Botswana’s market is small. “If we are indeed so small, why don’t they close shop?” he queried.

2021 was a music year
The year 2021 wasn’t much of an improvement on 2020, but it will still go down as the year that artists really started to gain proper traction across the continent with their music.

Mavericks closer to home such as Makhadzi, DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small, Focalistic and Major League DJz became continental superstars with their music blaring loudly and proudly in far flung places.

Songs such as Skelem Key, Phakade Lami by Nomfundo Moh, featuring Ami Faku and Sha Sha, Bopha by Mellow & Sleazy, Felo Le Tee ft. DJ Maphorisa and Young Stunna, Nkao Tempela by C’hicco and Mellow & Sleazy, Asibe Happy – Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa ft. Ami Faku and Adiwele by Young Stunna ft. Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa were anthems that marked the 2021 festive season.