Kwasa Kwasa Legend Frank Lesokwane, popularly known as Franco by legions of his fans has dropped his 17th album ‘Mene Mene Tekele’ a title derived from a Biblical story about a miraculous writing on the wall in Daniel 5:25 foretelling the destruction of a king.
From his debut album in 2001 titled ‘Ke Lela Le Lona’ which instantly shot him to stardom, Franco has been unleashing his musical talent on the receptive public ever since.
This week the man who would rock up on stage with colourful tattered pants and cornrow lines and leave his audience mesmerized with his stage presence met up with Voice Reporter, Sharon Mathala to reflect on his musical career so far.
Q. You are arguably one of the most successful and most popular musician in this country, why is it that you have never won a solo music award?
A. To be honest I do not know why.
What I know is that for all these past years I have actually not registered to compete for an award because the way I see it the awards have lost credibility and meaning.
Q.Tell us about your 17- year -musical journey.
A My first big break came with my debut six track album tittled “Ke lela le lona” since then I have been releasing at least one album every year.
This is because with my genre of music one song can take up to 8 minutes.
Over the years I have managed to dish out chart topping albums amongst them Spekere, Koti –koti, Robala Nnana and my very latest one mene Mene tekele.
It has not been an easy road as I had to take a musical break in 2010 when I lost my wife.
Q. Your music and lyrics seem to be thought provoking, What would you say inspires your writing? Do you write your own songs?
A. Of course I write my own music. I would say what motivated my pen really would incidents around me and in my space.
My past experiences. Some of the ‘stories’ if in my songs however fictitious and not necessarily real life based.
Q. What would you say has been your most memorable performance?
A. Definitely The Mascom Live Session at the Botswana Craft venue.
I was sharing the stage with veteran singer, Oliver Mtukudzi.
I have performed with him at shows before but that would have been my favourite, at least it is the one that comes to mind now.
Q. You had a near death experience not too long ago when unknown suspects broke into your house and dropped what looks like a petrol bomb, how far along are investigations into that incident? Has anyone been arrested yet?
A. No one has been arrested.
The Police have not pinned the incident on anyone, it is frustrating really because I have been calling the Police to find out how far they are and I get the same answer all the time that there has not been any leads.
Q. But do you personally have any suspects? Word on the street is that it was an attempt on your life by some dancers that you owe?
A. I have heard of those rumors.
Some say maybe I am involved with someone’s girlfriend, some say it is some of my former disgruntled employees but I have nothing to substantiate those claims.
Even today for the life of me, I cannot pin this on anyone.
I honestly do not know who would have tried to kill me even up to this day.
Q. How much did you have to pop out to repair the damages?
A. Because there were cars and other belongings destroyed, I think I had to use just about P 60 000 to fix everything.
There is however one car I have not fixed because the engine had caught fire.
Q. Word on the street is that there has been years of tension between yourself and House Kwasa star, Vee Mampeezy. Is there any truth in this?
Honestly there is a bit of tension between the two of us.
There is definitely fierce competition too, I do not wish him dead or anything like that, The competition has to be there just like in any other business but yeah I admit that there is definitely ‘somethinyana. Gone go teng.’
Q. Do you consider yourself as the all time best artist and performer in Botswana?
A. No doubt! Yes!
Q. Your latest album ‘Mene Mene tekele” how did that come about?
A. Mene Mene tekele is taken from a scripture in the Bible, which when loosely translated means ‘the writing is on the wall”.
And this basically sums up my music career that I am the best at what I do, the writing is there on the wall for all to see.
I have a whole history to prove it.
Q. Kwasa Kwasa has lost its appeal over the years as compared to about 10 years back when you were still fresh in the industry, why do you think this is so?
A. Music is ever evolving, genres over time have proven to change ‘fashion’ or appeal.
In Botswana it is even more difficult so what we have decided to adopt as a strategy is to always remind the fans of the music.
We are always on the road and giving out the best during every performance.
So the trick is to always make sure your presence is felt so that people do not forget you.
Q. It is no secret that you come across as a no nonsense artist, Do you recall any ‘rude’ encounter with a fan?
A. It would have to be a few years back when I had two shows on the same day.
One was in Francistown and another in Maun.
When I was ready to perform in Maun the organizers had not set up the sound until around midnight.
At that time tempers were flying because I had to be in Francistown in three hours, I ended up compromising and performing but the sound was horrible.
The people who came to the event did not take kindly to that and when I got off stage to dash to Francistown they started to throw all sorts of fits.
I sort of understood their frustration, the situation was worse in Francistown because there I was five hours late for the performance.
Q. When you are not on the road or producing music, what is Franco up to?
A. I am usually out in the field.
You see I stay away from the city so I am usually playing football.
I have two teams that I play for and that is Franco Investments FC and my Sunday soccer team Gabane masters FC
Q. Thank God its Friday, what will you be up to this Friday?
A. I have two shows this coming Friday.
I will be performing at Charma Gal’s show in Mahalapye and at Sojwe after that.