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Mmolawa back with Dear Africa

13 Jun 2024

Remember Thusego Mmolawa?The Afro Jazz industry should remember the gentleman by his 2007 debut album, also named Sebaga sa Lorato, which he recorded and released in 2007 at the age of 29.

The debut, which was a hit in the Afro Jazz music back in the day, earned him two nominations; Best Jazz and Best Newcomer, same year. 

The guy is planning a comeback after a long break from the music industry, and his reintroductory single, Dear Africa promises to be a sensation.

Mmolawa, for that is his stage name, is an Afro Jazz artiste and full time professional banker born in Serowe, but raised in Tonota by his grandmother, who took him in at the age of four.

Growing up, Mmolawa was enthusiastic about dancing and singing, and he sure joined traditional dance group at Tlhabologo Primary School under the tutelage of the legendary and cultural activist, Judith Sefhako, who ensured that he danced his way all the way up to junior secondary school, where his group won several awards.

His passion for traditional dance and song was replaced by gospel music when he joined the Scripture Union, which development won him a space on the stages of some gospel artistes in 1999 as a background vocalist.

“In 1998/1999 Matheke Leteane, the founder of Family Joint band chose me to be part of his backup crew to record his debut album in South Africa, that was my first studio experience and it was amazing, more so that I was dreaming of one day recording my own album,” he said.

Brenda Fassie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Derrick Nzimande influenced his artistic journey as he used to sing along with when growing up, but before any encounter with professional influences was his grandmother. 

“My grandmother was a beautiful singer and she used to sing while I lay on her lap and her tapping my back as though it was a drum, that is where the African rhythm was born,” he said.

His relocation to the UK in 2005, he said, exposed him to a lot of Malian and Senegalese festivals and immersed himself in learning and embracing other cultures, which ignited his passion for jazz music.

Seeing how proud other Africans are of their heritage, Mmolawa started to embrace his own and used music to promote the identity, lift the flag and preserve the heritage and languages of Batswana.

“I was always drawn to the Malian and Senegalese instruments. That is when I discovered my identity as an artiste,” he said.

In an interview, Mmolawa said the new single Dear Africa, was not only his comeback and his reintroduction piece to the industry He said it was also a promotional piece for the full album he was working on, and also a start of his journey of cultural activism to take Botswana to the world through my music. 

Dear Africa was inspired by Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe’s book titled Dear Africa.

“I seem to be inspired a lot by book titles,” he said, alluding to his previous works.

When asked about themes tied to the song Dear Africa, Mmolawa said the song’s three verses emphasised the importance of resurrecting ones dreams and encourage the black child to stand their ground and awaken their dreams.

 “Let us dream again, let us see a prosperous and energised Africa, let us be the positive, the catalyst of change on our land.”

Mmolawa is currently working on a full album titled Modikwa’s medley, which he said talks to everyday life; the joys and the struggles. 

The album will feature such songs as Keledi ya Mosadi and Pula, touching on social issues, spirituality, love, ethnic heritage and God.

“I have also recorded a song in a Johannesburg studio called Dhonota, which will also be in the album,” he said.

 Mmolawa’s majoring in English and History at school influenced his artistic journey so much that he was able to discover his gift of song writing. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Itumeleng Naane

Location : RAMOTSWA

Event : Interview

Date : 13 Jun 2024