GABORONE, Botswana, June 2020/ — And then one day, while sitting at the President Hotel, he looked me in the eye and praised me. And that praise had nothing to do with the cold St. Loius Larger before him. Or the Armstel I was sipping on at the time. It had to do with his heart.
His good heart. Apparently I had said something that had impressed him. In a newspaper interview with Moses Kago Maruping, while he was still at the Voice newspaper, he had asked me how old I am. And my response had been gore ” my mother says I’m so many years old”. At the time I didn’t think that was anything to write home about. Or drink home about. But on that day, that evening, over those drinks he told me it was brilliant. For obvious reasons I think.I was very happy about that. But of course he would later annoy me the very same evening.
The same way his good heart, his patience anoyed me every Wednesday and Friday at the President Hotel. The mistake people make is to think that we became friends because he was a huge radio personality. And I, a music producer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Thuso Letlhoma and I crossed paths way before anyone of us even thought about the entertainment business. We met in the corridors of the only true God, Jevohah. A God we would later both disappoint. The God I disappoint to this day.You see, Thuzoski comes from a line of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was raised that way, while I myself would come into contact with the true God when I finished my O’Level in 1986.
I came back home from LobSec only to find that my mother, an ass kicker of note had just changed. I observed her. That’s when I realized she had become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She had changed. She was seriously adhering to bible principles. No man. No nyatsi. Nothing. That’s the kind of change one can not hide. So I became one.And that is how Thuzoski and I crossed paths.We would see each other at the kingdom hall. Or at conventions. And it was just the usual “hello mokaulengwe”.And then tragedy struck and befell the Letlhoma family.
His older brother passed away in a horrific car accident. And I found myself in Molepolole at the family home. Pre funeral. That is how Thuso and I bonded. I think it was either a Thursday or a Friday. And because we were the younger men of the time, we were assigned to tlhagola ko pele ga jarata. I can still see him in his shorts, ka matshwekanyana. On that day, between that grass and those spades, we really got to know each other. We bonded. This could have been the late 80s. Or early 90s. As in 87,88,89,90. And we never discussed music or songs or dipina or ndjimbo. Nothing. And after that we parted ways.
We went our separate ways. I worked for Bank of Botswana, left Bank of Botswana and tried business. Failed. Worked for a publication called Motswana Woman. Got fired for the length of my my tongue. Then I went to run the advertising department of the Botswana Guardian and the Midweek Sun. After that I started Eric Ramco Records. But somewhere in between there I came across him again. He had found his way into Information and Broadcasting. Then one day I heard this fools voice on radio. I was like “what the…”.
I was so happy for him.Then we started to really meet. The tavern at the President Hotel in the 90s or late 90s was the go to place for all people in the media fraternity. Mostly for people with a journalism background. It was always on Wednesday and Friday. And all the usual suspects would be there. Please allow me to paint a picture of a typical Friday at that place: Gale Ngakane in a corner discussing some shit with some dude. Joseph Balise in the area like he was TKZEE. Marcos Matebele fale… Joel Sebonego. Rampholo “Chamza” Molefe with his wife at another table. And many more media people. Then there would be Eric Ramco, Thuzoski, Dithuso Selepeng, Al Mokopane with his later wife Gill. The star of the show was always the Clement Jackson Crew : made up of Clement Jackson, Eugene Mxolisi Jackson (his son), Nutty Girl, Alex and Mathudi Dikobe (while she was still Hellen). A side note: it was at this joint that I tried to hit on the very young Hellen, only to realize later that she had a very hawk/eagle/bird eyed boyfriend.
The bullshit part was that I had to drop both of them off at some flats in Extension 10. Nxa. And once in a while the pre Yarona FM DJ O’neal would be there. Back then I could tell there was something great about him. I just didn’t know it was about what he later became.The Clement Jackson Crew had a very beautiful set. Thuso and I were there just for that. Sina Makosa, Shauriyako, Skatana sele ( one of my favourites). But there was always one problem: Clement Jackson being a peacock. A star.
And he is a star. And this is where Thuzoski used to really annoy me. Because this band would never start on time. Maybe I didn’t really know what time they were supposed to begin playing at. And I had hoped gore Thuzoski as a radio personality could just put them to order. Because he had the voice. But instead after I had fumed to him, he’d just laugh and say in his seleme “Maedla akedle ga dle na di bente. Dle dla idla jang”. He called me Maedla. (So I started to copy him. And in the end I wasn’t really sure gore between him and I ke mang o buwang seleme).
A bo a ntenne, because at just the right time, Clement Jackson, like a peacock with a watch, would get up, pick up his guitar, tune it and change the night. But just before the band would start, a character named Thuzoski would grab a microphone and introduce the band. Professionally. And I’d be sitting there thinking gore “this is some bullshit. I’ve been complaining to you, and here you are prancing all over the place o boka this nikka”. But that became a cycle. The following week I’d moan the same way about time, he’d give me the same answer, and later jump on the stage and introduce the band. At which point I’d say ” this is some bullshit”.
That was never the end of it all, because after that, when that joint closed, we’d all drive to Gaborone Sun, where Momo had just had a hit called “Oule'” land on his lap. Or to Take 5, one of the best joints ever, ele mo mabogong aga Soares Katumbela.My life with Thuzoski deserves a book ka bo yone fela. Just before he passed on he sent me some stuff on WhatsApp. Bible stuff. He told me later that his sister Julia had sent it to him. And when he got it, he says, he thought of “his people “. And I understood him. Because he wasn’t referring to Thato Matlhabaphiri’s “My People”. Or ATI’s “Batho bame”. What he was talking about instead, are people like myself. People that got to know the true God, only to let the tentacles of this octopus called the entertainment industry get a grip on them.
Maybe because they like things that grip. Even then, just before he left, he was trying to bring me to order. Bring a mad man to order. I think because he knew in his heart that, that’s the only place I could find peace from. Because he had found it.As Jehovah’s Witnesses we believe that when someone dies, they, as the bible says, just return to dust. From which they came. No immediate heaven or hell. And that makes me happy, because as far as I know, my friend is sleeping. Awaiting a resurrection of the dead.What makes me happy about that is this scenario: 7pm in Heaven. Thuzoski, Soares Katumbela, Brooks Monnanoka, Rampholo Chamza Molefe are sitting there talking talking about the good times at “the old place”.
The President Hotel. And then they start talking about people they miss. And let’s say Thuzoski drops my name, only to be overheard by an eavesdropping, overzealous angel who then quickly flies to to the far western eastern northern southern side of Heaven to tell God some shit he shouldn’t be telling God. And as he tiptoes into God’s office he starts off:Angel ” I think I know what Thuzoski would like for his “arriving day” present”. (Arriving day being day the eo gorogileng ka yone in heaven. As in birthday) “What?” Asks God. Eavesdropping Angel:”he says he misses some fool down there. Gatwe Eric Ramco”.God: “do you know him?”.Angel: “yes. His mother named him Seroke. Eric Seroke Ramogobya. But he now calls himself Eric Ramco “.
God: ” ok. Is he doing anything important there. Down there?”. Angel: ” no he isn’t really. Something called Mmino wa Setswana. Him a four vulgar guys called Matsieng”. God:”well in that case make sure he’s here next year this month. The same day Thuzoski arrived. Make it look like an accident”. Bloody Angel: “your wish is my command God”.And suddenly next year this time Sidney Baitsile is busy writing : “I first met Eric Ramco when he brought 3rd Mind to RB 2”. Fuck that.I ain’t trying to read that shit.Sleep well my friend.