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Music of Botswana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Botswana is an African country made up of different ethnic groups, although 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.

Tswana people were the earliest inhabitants of the land that is today known as Botswana and played its first music. Beginning in the 19th century, Immigrants from the United Kingdom began arriving in large numbers and they called the colony Bechuanaland.[1]


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 music of Botswana is minor in the world music scene. Botswana music is introduced from the British music media and French music media.

Botswana hip hop


Hip hop is a cultural movement, of which music is a part. Hip hop music for the most part is composed of two parts: rapping, the delivery of swift, highly rhythmic and lyrical vocals; and DJing and/or producing, the production of instrumentation through sampling, instrumentation, turntablism, or beatboxing, the production of musical sounds through vocalized tones.[135] The national hip hop radio show Strictly Hip Hop, hosted by Draztik[2] and Slim (of the Cashless Society Crew and co-founders of Unreleased Records), has done much for the Botswana hip-hop scene. Dagee Records[3] and Phat Boy are noted hip-hop record labels.[4] Motswako is also a popular genre.

Folk music


Tswana music is primarily vocal, performed without drums and makes extensive use of string instruments,

particularly the guitar and bow harp. In the absence of drums, a clapping rhythm is used in music with a typical call-and-response vocal style.

Music, dance styles




This genre has been influenced by South African artists. It found its way into Botswana, where it is popular. In Botswana artists found a way to incorporate South African Jazz, disco music, and Botswana traditional dances and songs to make it more appealing to local and international audience. Afro-pop and Afro-Jazz artists include:

Kwaito music


This genre originates from the townships of Johannesburg. It has now found its way into Botswana, where it is becoming popular. Odirile Vee Sento's first album was released from Black Money Maker label.[5] Kwaito artists include:

Kwasa kwasa


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.

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.[6] Kwassa kwassa artists include:John Quaine and Gofaone El'Jeff Mfetane. Franco and Afro Musica was popular in Botswana.[7]

Rock and metal


The development of rock music's popularity in Botswana has been gradual.[8] 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 bands uniting in a "Rock Against AIDS" tour. Crackdust was famous Metal band in Botswana.[9] 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.[10]

Industry and economics


Radio stations in Botswana often broadcast popular music. Each music station has a format, or a category of songs to be played; these are generally similar to but not the same as ordinary generic classification. Many radio stations in Botswana are locally owned media.

An independent music industry (indie music) does exist and artists remain at an indie label for their entire careers. Indie music may be in styles generally similar to mainstream music, but is often inaccessible, unusual, or otherwise unappealing to many people. Indie musicians often release some or all of their songs over the Internet for fans and others to download and listen.



Music is an important part of education in Botswana, and is a part of most or all school systems in the country. Music education is generally not mandatory in junior schools, and is an elective in later years. High schools generally offer classes in singing, mostly choral, and instrumentation in the form of a large school band.

Holidays and festivals


Music is an important part of several Botswana holidays, playing a major part in the celebration of Christmas.

Botswana is home to numerous music festivals, which showcase styles ranging from house to jazz to hip hop. Some music festivals are opened in local areas.


  1. ^ Morton, Fred; Ramsay, Jeff, eds. (1987). The Birth of Botswana: A history of the Bechuanaland Protectorate from 1910 to 1966. Gaborone, Botswana: Longman Botswana. p. needed. ISBN 978-0-582-00584-6.
  2. ^ "Botswana's First Annual Hip Hop Music Awards". AfricasGateway.com. 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  3. ^ "US-based studio boss set to visit local artists". Mmegi. 19 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Botswana". African Hip Hop. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved 2005-09-28.
  5. ^ "Vee's first album". Botswana Unplugged. Rudeboy Nectar. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  6. ^ Culture and customs of Botswana by James Raymond Denbow and Phenyo C. Thebe. Greenwood Publishing Group:2006(page 214) ISBN 0313331782.
  7. ^ Mokganedi, Mosah (2006-12-05). "Culture Spears steals limelight at BOMU music awards, Afro Musica sidelined in Franco video?". Mmegi Online. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  8. ^ "Africa is the last frontier for metal: Botswana's metal heads still rocking". CNN. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  9. ^ "Crackdust - Discography - Metal Kingdom". metalkingdom.net. Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  10. ^ "National Music Eisteddfod". ISTC.org. Archived from the original on 2004-01-20. Retrieved 2005-09-28.

See also