Music of Botswana

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Botswana is an African country made up of a number of ethnic groups, although the Batswana are the majority of the population. Music is a large part of Botswana culture, and includes popular and folk forms. Botswana church choirs are common nationwide. Music education is an essential component of the Botswana educational system, and children of all ages are taught traditional songs and dances.

Popular music[edit]

Just like other African countries, popular music in Botswana is called "jazz"; however, it has little resemblance to the African American genre of the same name. There is an initiative to focus on revitalizing the Botswana music industry, instead of relying on foreign releases. Popular music in Botswana still comes from South Africa, the United States, Europe or elsewhere in Africa. Gumba-gumba is a form of modernized Zulu and Tswana music, mixed with traditional jazz. The word gumba derives from township slang for "party".

On the Dave Matthews Band's Live at Mile High Music Festival, vocalist Dave Matthews commented on the origin of the song "Eh Hee": "I made some friends down in Botswana, in Southern Africa, and they inspired this little song".

Botswana hip hop[edit]

Main article: Botswana hip hop

Hip hop. The national hip hop radio show Strictly Hip Hop, hosted by Draztik and Slim (of the Cashless Society Crew and co-founders of Unreleased Records), has done much for the Botswana hip-hop scene. Dagee Records[1] and Phat Boy are a noted hip-hop record labels.[2] Motswako is also a popular genre.

Folk music[edit]

Tswana music is primarily vocal, performed without drums and makes extensive use of string instruments, particularly the guitar. In the absence of drums, a clapping rhythm is used in music with a typical call-and-response vocal style. The absence of drumming is noticeable, and unusual for an African tribe.


  • Borankana
  • Chesa
  • Huru
  • Mokomoto
  • Ndazola
  • Phathisi
  • Selete
  • Setapa
  • Stibikoko
  • Tsutsube
  • Polka dance


  • Hanif Bhika
  • House Embassy
  • Culture Spears
  • Dikakapa
  • George Swabi
  • Jonny Kobedi
  • Kwataeshele
  • Machesa Traditional Troupe
  • Matsieng
  • Mokorwana
  • Poifo le Wonder
  • Ratsie Setlhako
  • Shirley
  • Shumba Ratshega
  • Speech Madimabe
  • Spiderman
  • Stampore
  • Stikasola
  • skim same dance
  • Rannetu Rannetane

Kwaito music[edit]

This genre originates from the townships of Johannesburg. It has now found its way into Botswana, where it is becoming popular. Kwaito artists include Ghavorr, Mapetla, P-Mag, Skazzo, KIN, MMP, SEVEN ELEVEN, FOCUS.

Kwasa kwasa[edit]

An African version of rhumba, popularised in Central Africa, kwasa kwasa has a strong following in Botswana and has produced a number of musicians. It has a slower rhythm than original rhumba (increasing in tempo towards the middle of the song) and is calmer in style than its parent form, Afro-rhumba. Unlike rhumba, kwasa kwasa has a simple foot pattern with more emphasis on erotic movements.

Some artists have attempted to speed up kwasa kwasa and make it more danceable. Artist Vee is one; his style is known as kwaito kwasa, a combination of kwaito music and kwasa kwasa rhythms and guitar.[3] Kwassa kwassa artists include:John Quaine and Gofaone El'Jeff Mfetane

  • 12 Volts
  • Alfredo "BBB" Mos and Les Africa Sounds
  • Bee Musica
  • Biza Mupulu
  • Franco and Afro Musica
  • Frankata
  • El'Jeff and Bango Africa La Musica
  • Fresh-Les
  • Jeff "IGWE" Matheatau and the Yakho Band
  • Tumza and the Big Bullets

Rock and metal[edit]

Main article: African heavy metal

The development of rock music's popularity in Botswana has been gradual.[4] The music has begun to gain momentum, partly due to mainstream media such as MTV, Channel O and the internet. The native Batswana have demonstrated an appreciation for this genre, and since 2000 many new bands have been formed; most play locally, but a few have toured southern Africa. Rock culture has been recognized with a number of bands uniting in a "Rock Against AIDS" tour. Notable bands include:

  • Amok
  • Crackdust
  • Disciplinary
  • Dust 'n' Fire
  • Metal Orizon
  • No!semakers On Parade
  • Nosey Road
  • Overthrust
  • Remuda
  • Skeletal Saints
  • Skinflint
  • Sms Blues Band
  • Stane
  • Stealth
  • Vitrified
  • Wraith
  • Wrust

The National Music Eisteddfod is held annually in Selebi-Phikwe.[5]


  1. ^ Mmegi  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Botswana". African Hip Hop. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved 2005-09-28. 
  3. ^ Culture and customs of Botswana by James Raymond Denbow and Phenyo C. Thebe. Greenwood Publishing Group:2006(page 214)ISBN 0313331782.
  4. ^ "Africa is the last frontier for metal: Botswana's metal heads still rocking". CNN. Retrieved 2014-08-20. 
  5. ^ "National Music Eisteddfod". Retrieved 2005-09-28.