Revellers serenaded . . . as international flair floods Botswana

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Bakang Mhaladi

Gaborone – It was a weekend to remember for music lovers who were spoilt for choice on a weekend where international acts flooded Gaborone.

The main attraction was the Hampton Jazz Festival, featuring headliners, Billy Ocean and Salif Keita in the capital on Saturday.

But across town, there was also Zakes Bantwini and Dr Tumi, both from South Africa.

Bantwini got the busy weekend rolling as the star attraction at the first Mascom Live Session of 2018 on Friday night.

He was ably supported by a local act, Juju Boy of ‘Hurt Me’ fame.  The Botswana Craft venue was not filled to capacity as has become the norm with Mascom Live Sessions, which have attracted greats like Ringo Madlingozi, Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo and Zahara.

Record producer and House music artist, Bantwini began his set with new songs, which were unfamiliar to the crowd, before he moved gears up, as he played popular hits like ‘Carolina’.

Juju Boy, although he did not move the crowd much, did well and performed ‘Hurt Me’ as well as his 2017 hit, ‘Follo’ in which he worked with his girlfriend, Amantle Brown. Juju Boy invited Brown on stage to perform ‘Follo’, which has heavy Nigerian lines and sound.

Just a few kilometres down the road, on the same night, gospel music fans thronged the Molapo Stanbic Bank Piazza for Dr Tumi’s show.

Local gospel artists, We Must Praise Choir and Vusi Mtukufa kept the ‘spiritual’ crowd warmed up ahead of the arrival of the main act, Dr Tumi.

The man from Limpopo found the stage ripe for his inspiring gospel set.

He has been gospel’s man-of-the-moment after he filled up the 20,000-seater, Ticket-pro Dome in South Africa. Botswana fans were fed what they wanted with Dr Tumi belting songs, even from his debut album ‘Heart of King’.

Dr Tumi is a medical doctor who runs a surgery in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.

The show of the weekend was on Saturday at the Duma FM grounds where a swelling crowd was treated to timeless classics from Ocean and Keita.

The show was supposed to take place last month but was postponed due to permit hitches.

On Saturday, before the show started, South African singer, Amanda Black announced that the organisers, the Hamptons, had failed to pay her.

“To all those who have been waiting for me to perform at the Hampton Jazz, I am so disappointed to tell you that I won’t be performing anymore. Organisers did not make payment,” the artist posted on her Facebook page on Saturday morning.

Despite, the setback, the other 15 artists who remained in the line-up, made up for the Black loss.

Ocean, performing in the Southern African country for the first time, brought a different feel to the show with his laid-back hits, including ‘Colour of Love’, ‘Nights’, ‘Lover boy’, ‘Caribbean Queen’ and ‘Are You Ready’.

The crowd sang along, as the Trinidad-born pop singer took them down memory lane.

Zahara, who always gives her best when performing in Botswana, was again at the top of her game, belting tunes such as ‘Bengirongo’, ‘Loliwe’ and her latest offering, ‘Mgodi’.

From Lesotho, Bhudaza showed why he was much loved around 2005, playing hits like ‘Bo Maphefane’ and ‘Ntjontjobina’.

Local acts who performed included jazz artist, Socca Maruakgomo, Shanti Lo, Thabang Gabarongwe and ATI.

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