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The music man

Oleosi Kgosi

Bomu awards back with a boom

Last Saturday, the Botswana Music Union (BOMU) Awards turned 11 in spectacular style, returning with a boom after a two-year Covid-19 enforced lay off.

Held at the Grand Palm, the well-attended glitzy event adds yet another feather to Total Music Group Managing Director, Seabelo Modibe’s impressive hat.

A seasoned big shot in the entertainment industry boasting over 20 years experience, Modibe is no stranger to staging big events, having previously put together: Botswana International Music Conference, Boosta Bash, Rejuvenation, UNIGEM Corporate Launch just to name a few, as the list is endless.

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Unfolding his remarkable journey, Seabelo caught up with The Voice’s OLEOSI KGOSI

Thank you for slating time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Kindly tell us a bit about yourself and your occupation?

My full name is read and sounds like so…. Seabelo Segale Maleke Tabane Modibe II. I am named after my mother’s uncle, who was of the Machama Regiment from Mabodisa Ward in Mochudi.

And how did your interest in the music industry come about?

It was a coincidence! If I was serious about sport I believe I would have excelled in football or athletics. So it has been 22 years in the music industry.

Generally, how was the reception and support when you started?

The industry in Botswana was so tiny, it was a taboo to be in the music industry generally because Batswana used to believe a Degree or a full time job is a meal ticket.

So how did you make it work?

For me it is humility, the love for people and just having time for my craft and continuously up skilling myself.

Who financed you?

Nobody. I think my biggest break was setting up Lekoko Entertainment with my late friend Hip Hop Pantsula (JabulaniTsambo).

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Where are you based currently?

I am based in Botswana and my company Total Music Group is a Botswana Company. We have also registered in South Africa because as you know Johannesburg is the melting point of the creative industries in Africa. All the big players are based there so I want to be close to the action.

Who do you normally engage in your work and how do you empower them?

I work with people I like. I will not work with you if I do not like you, period! I do not believe money is the real currency to reward people. I believe giving people knowledge about the business and helping them start their own thing is my biggest joy.

What remains your biggest highlight to date?

They are many. Are you aware Hip Hop Pantsula was the first ever African Artist to be nominated for a BET Award? This is before Black Coffee and all these Nigerians got nominated and won them.

I did not! What challenges do you face in your line of work and how do you overcome them?

In Botswana if you are hardworking and successful, people stigmatize you and label you corrupt. For me my biggest challenge is finding people who are passionate and fired up. It looks like these days people are motivated by money and not doing great and iconic things.

As one of the big players in the BOMU Awards, can you shed some light on the past controversies the event has been caught up in?

The previous committee ran them to the ground. You see one of the biggest problems in the music industry is self-sabotage. People sabotage themselves so much with their behaviour, attitude and actions.

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The music man

How long have you been doing the Awards?

This was the second year.

And how did Saturday’s edition go?

We have managed to rebuild the brand, managed to also win artists’ confidence, improve the production and aesthetics of the show but there is a lot of work in the future.

What do you mean by ‘improve the production’?

We created the Botswana Music and Entertainment Week to try and make sure the Awards are not a one day event. This will go a long way in developing soft skills of our artists.

What are your aspirations in terms of nurturing and developing the entertainment industry?

With Total Music Group, I am hoping to partner with like-minded minds to identify talent in Botswana and blow it up internationally. Botswana population is small and hence our artists do not appeal to streamers like Itunes, Sportify, Deezer, Boomplay etc.

We have to play at that big boy’s level if we want to create millionaires in the music industry.

Speaking of millionaires, what is your take on the DJ Fresh/DBS tour?

It is massive. Let me tell you, there is no media personality who is bigger than DJ Fresh in Africa. If you know someone please name them. DJ Fresh is the best thing after sliced bread.

Look at how many artists he has discovered on the road. Who has ever done that in Botswana? This roadshow has closed many gaps in the game.

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People draw motivation from you and have set you as their role model, how can you advise them?

I am not a role model! My advice to people is to stick to what they love and what they know. They must not try and be a Police Officer when actually they like cooking and rather be a Chef and be happy.

So what advice can you give to artists who are going through depression?

Seek help from professionals. Depression is real and it has taken away many lives.

How does your calendar look for the rest of this festive?

I am going to the Cattlepost because the guys who work for me are going for Christmas so I will be standing in for them until they come back.

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Besides organising big events, what else do you do?

I am a farmer and have interests in other businesses in media, film and property.

Are you a married man?

(Laughing) Mma o tlile go mpotsa gore kenyetse basadi bale kae after I answer this waitse!

Finally, Thank God it’s Friday, what will you be up to this weekend?

Bro been on the road with DJ Fresh so hopefully will cross to Mafikeng to check my godson, Leano Khanye.

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