Making moves away from music
Being a music artist in Botswana is not for the faint-hearted.
There’s precious little Pula to be made; very few make a decent living out of the industry, with most resorting to side-hustles to help pay the bills.
Voice Money caught up with four such stars combining their music careers with more mundane income-earners.
Inspired by Jamaican great, Beenie Man and known on the streets of Ghetto for his Dancehall tunes, Ras T has been making music since 2016. With five albums and 19 singles to his name, the singer, whose brightly branded car is a common sight in the second city, has enjoyed a relatively successful career.
However, he still felt the need to diversify, and two months ago started selling ‘morogo wa dinawa’ (dried morogo).
Originally, the Dancehall diehard sold the local delicacy in cups but recently started packaging the product, which he orders from the old women who plough in Nata.
“They harvest it, cook and dry it then I buy it in full in a bucket and package it. I am also a graphic designer, I print clothes, make banners and flyers for people.”
Having built her reputation as a talented traditional singer with the moves to match, the ‘Moiyabana’ hit-maker ventured into construction in 2021.
Named after herself, Jojo started the company after realizing she could not rely on music alone.
“Our music booms seasonal but we need money everyday thus I started something else. My business does building and construction, bush clearing, civil works, mining, electrical service and general supplies,” she explains, adding her dream is to help create employment and empower youth.
Having gained quite the following as a backing dancer for Franco, last year Mado decided it was time to go solo.
She already has three singles to her name, being: ‘Ke a le bitsa’, ‘Babereki’ and ‘Choncho’.
As well as making the move from dancer to singer, 2022 also saw Mado launch her catering business, but it failed to take off.
Not one to give up, this year Mado tried her hand at selling second-hand clothing, mainly trousers, dresses and tops. Based in Mogoditshane, she gets her stock from Zambia.
Although he has been a mainstay in the BW Afro Kwasa scene since 2002, releasing six albums and four singles, Skupu struggled to sustain himself through song.
With no other choice but to expand his revenue streams, in 2021 the music veteran opened Rralenaos Kitchen, a fast-food business selling fried chips, burgers, hot dogs and soft drinks. Located in Gabane, the enterprise makes enough money for Skupu to take care of his family.
“So far so good, it’s going well and pays the bills,” he says.