The past few days, local social media commentators went on a rampage aroused by the usual Botswana music industry hubbub. From Sunday morning, animated social media trolls took to their digital media accounts to air their grievances or commendations regarding a public spat that ensued between one Thapelo ‘MC Maswe’ Maleka and Leungo ‘Andre’ Pitse.
The bone of contention was a video captured at the ‘Tropo Ya Muka’ music festival held in Francistown this past weekend by Botswana’s best-selling newspaper, The Voice, which went viral and whose protagonists were MC Maswe and Leungo. The video clip exposed a hysterical and fuming MC Maswe having a foul-tasting go at Leungo, the co-presenter of Botswana Television’s (BTV) Friday music show, Flavadome.
In the video, MC Maswe who was among the many artists booked to perform on the day charged at Leungo (the compere) for apparently failing to introduce him to the copious crowd at the Francistown stadium.
It was this surprising behaviour which apparently infuriated MC Maswe compelling him to lose his marbles and in the process attack the young MC on stage, in the full glare of a filled to capacity Francistown stadium.
Judging from the Mpaqanga musician’s enraged antics as vividly captured in the video, his supposed ‘inferiority complex’ must have gotten the better of him as he accused Leungo of not inviting him to the show he co-hosts (Flavadome).
Well, it seems there’s still a lot of education that needs to be instilled within our folks. Or maybe, our Ghetto-based musician has simply been bottling a lot of issues, which we are not privy to and we may just never know about.
There’s also this supposed ‘North versus South’ figment of ‘beef’ where many continue to argue artists in the Northern part of the country are side-lined as opposed to their Southern counterparts; with a few arguing this could have acted as an ignitor for MC Maswe’s ticking time bomb.
Really now, music just like any other business needs one to be focused, work hard and carve their own golden niche. You will never be given anything on a silver platter. The formula is always different; one artist to the other. In a typical ‘life is what you make it’ or ‘you reap what you sow’ fashion, you go out and get your own. You hire a professional manager, get a kick-a$$ producer, sign up under a dope record label, secure a nifty distributor, cultivate solid media contacts, be it radio, TV, print or online and generally produce good music.
The greatest investment one could ever make is being consistent in their craft. Until you have all of the above in place, don’t tell me about you being a dope a$$ MC or musician, band or whatever. Music being your greatest Unique Selling Proposition (USP); or Unique Selling Point, you cannot afford to publish and circulate uninspired tracks that sound like they were produced in a makeshift studio. Our greatest demise as a country is that we continue to sugar-coat our words or utterances when dealing with our kind, especially in matters relating to our creative industry.
Even when something is straight up B.S; we strive too hard to make it superficially attractive or palatable before the eyes of our kind. Are we fraught on protecting the somewhat little moral fibre left in us that we describe ‘poor’ as ‘good’, so it becomes pleasant or acceptable in our small little society. Why do we lie to our friends, relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins, neighbours? Why do we embolden mediocre? How long will we allow them to live or wallow in their own figment of imagination?
Are we happy to continue to help them satiate their raging and hallucinated omnipotence, thinking they’re truly ‘it’ when in actual fact they’re not. How long should we continue to tell or live this lie? Why are we beset on rescinding the legacies of the late Ratsie Setlhako, Duncan Senyatso and many others who left us hits and records that are still relevant to this day? Why do we have music administrators who know ‘fokol’ about the industry leading the pack? Why do we have people who can’t sing given 5-star ratings in our sundry media reviews? Why is our music industry divided? What happened to the Godly notion of calling a spade a spade? Until, y’all answer these questions, please spare me your rantings.
Back to the Leungo/MC Maswe saga; the question on everybody’s lips for the past few days has been “Who’s MC Maswe.” But I guess the real question should be who am I – or who are you. Yes I’m taking about you social media troll whose singular or mutual mission is to drag everyone down the murky and muddy waters of your lonesome dull lives to quench your raging maltreatment thirst.
There’s a brewing yet sad culture/trend within our digital media midst where everybody thinks his or her opinion matters and as such they contend they are entitled to it. What we tend to forget is that there are news makers, thinkers, demagogues, decision makers, rabble-rousers, fence sitters, those who matter, and generally those who don’t.
So our kind in their forlorn desperate state to appear important always join in the popular clarion choir by churning status after status, post after post, tweet after tweet in matters that mean nothing to them and neither are they associated with.
We tend to spend more energy and resources on matters that will not; no matter how much time we spend in, repetitively that is, shrill after shrill – the price of bread at Spar will still remain P7. 00 and if you’re a suburban like many of you usual posit and prefers Woolies, you’d still pay around the same price for your bread. Reason why we must divert our energies into something more tangible, like coming up with a #BlanketDrive or #JerseyDrive and helping the poor and have-nots deal with this nippy and remorseless Winter weather.
Let me put this in proper context; often times we hear our kind argue that, “I’m entitled to my opinion”, which all too often is used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. Most of the time it becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.
Going back to the Tropo Ya Muka saga, one may forgive DJ Colastraw aka Bonno Ngaka for coming up with this noble and dope idea which has instead of positively raising the level of music awareness in the second capital city of Botswana, Francistown instead degenerated into something off-putting. However, Kudos to you sir for hosting such a momentous event.
MC Maswe has since admitted he was wrong and has repeatedly tendered his apology. The two were also heard on RB2 via DJ Sly’s ‘Easy Drive’ show where they smoked the peace pipe. The issue is done and dusted. Can we move on?
It ok, it’s fine. His unwarranted brawl with Leungo was simply a classic example of an artist feeding his ego and it happens everywhere. Just next door to our neighbours, we saw Black Coffee ‘kaffir-klapping’ AKA’s floor manager. Musicians and artists like to feed their inflamed egos and it’s ok.
A lot of things usually happen behind the scenes, backstage that is, and it was just unfortunate that this particular one was caught raw and on camera. We must also in our hastily animated rants respect MC Maswe. Producing seven albums is no easy feat. This man has arguably over the years contributed immensely to the growth of the local music industry and he must be accorded all that respect. We can’t use a silly mistake like what transpired on Saturday night as a gauge of his character.
Sentiments that he must be banned for almost two years and recommendations that he be shunned by all potential sponsors is totally uncalled for. Why the punitive and unwarranted actions from the very same people who from time to time cry foul that the local music industry is dealt a heavy blow.
Who is fooling who here? Why bottle our very own personal issues and react untoward at any opportunity that arises. How can we be trusted as leading administrators when we attack and devour the very same people we should be seen to be liberating? Are we somewhat fraught on getting a few Facebook likes at others’ expense that we rush to react to issues via these platforms when similar issues could have just been solved internally? We can’t be judges in our own courts.
I will discuss Botswana Promoters Association (BEPA), Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) and Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) on a different piece, someday. Until then, read to understand and sit down!