Botswana is a really small country. Less than 2 million people live here. You know the ability to walk all around NYC and not see anyone you know? Not possible in Botswana. Even if you go to Gaborone, the capital, it's inevitable to run into people you know--or at least, people who know you by name even if you can't remember who they are. Similarly, it's easy to walk through Gabs unaware that you are passing people who are radio personalities and locally famous.
Because I got to be friends with some of the people making music in Gabs, I was around for the making of a music video. One of the up and coming groups is called Fancy Path Music Group. A couple guys from FPMG, Motswaki Vic and Khwezi, collaborated with Nomadic, a rapper based out of Johannesburg, to record "For the Love (Motswako Music)." Motswako is a genre of music--hip hop in Setswana, adding in other languages. They usually mix English in with Setswana, but can also use Xhosa, Zulu, Kalanga, etc. It's pretty cool stuff...and it's relatively new. Rapping in Setswana makes the music accessible to most Batswana and brings it closer to home. These artists are truly owning their art of hip hop in Botswana by making it personal, infusing their rhymes with metaphors in multiple languages.
The "For the Love" video is below. And if you watch the whole thing through, you'll see me near the end! :)
If you are interested in learning more about Botswana hip hop, you can check out FPMG on Facebook by searching for "FancyPath Music Group." BATSOFE is another local group. Those guys work with FPMG on a lot of tracks as well. Their blog is batsofe.blogspot.com.
Understanding the music scene in Gaborone and getting to know new artists is not something I thought I would be doing during my service. But it has been amazing. Understanding youth culture makes me feel more like I have a life in Botswana. It feels more real. This isn't just Peace Corps service. This isn't 2 years of going to the clinic, going to meetings and coming back to my house, biding my time until I can come back to the states. I live in Botswana now. Embracing that and making it my home by becoming close friends with locals has been one of the most fulfilling parts of service.