Rising South African gospel singer Koliwe Mpaneng refuses to just come to Botswana to benefit from sales from the shows but would rather give back to the nation that has enabled her to penetrate a different market.
Following her visit last year for the local media to sample her album, Uyinkosi, where she made a commitment through the influence of her sponsor, a transport magnate, Malakia Maseko of Chande Transport Tour and Enterprises to empower locals, Mpaneng has stayed true to her word. Through her performances in Botswana, Mpaneng will not bring any vocalists from her native South Africa but rather utilise the services of locals who were auditioned the past weekend. A total of 62 Batswana turned up but only 12 got the final nod from Mpaneng. This group of aspiring artists will be part of her big launch in September, which comprises a mouthwatering line up of the likes of Phempherethe Pheto, Pastor Joel, Gabo Thotobolo and Spirit of Praise. By end of this month, Mpaneng would have come back to Botswana to connect with the recently auditioned vocalists and start working with them.
While it is still unbelievable that an artist who comes from a musically flourishing environment would choose to start from scratch, Mpaneng says the benefits although not visible now will be long term. “Although our market at home is booming, it is clustered as such when you start something you don’t easily find your way through. But if you start from scratch from somewhere, you can easily monitor your progress and gauge if you are doing things right,” said Mpaneng. Mpaneng’s love for Botswana began when she invited one of Botswana’s promising artists, Poifo Motladiile for her launch in South Africa last year. Although it had never hit her that she could warm up to Botswana this way, she says having met Motladiile, she thought Botswana could be a place to explore. It was immediately after that she reached out and made contact with a local agent who had done very well for her fellow home girl, Winnie Mashaba.
As the saying goes, the rest is history, she sealed a deal with Pagson Ntsie, to be her agent. Ntsie says when approached by Mpaneng, he saw a potential not only for him to grow as an agent but also open doors for local artists as it has already occurred. Just recently when Mpaneng travelled to Lesotho, which is also one of the countries she is on an intense drive to penetrate, Ntsie invited the likes of K –Bos, Fosta Juliano and Mafitlhakgosi to perform at one of the radio stations there, Ultimate Radio Station.
These efforts have since borne fruit and the artists have been invited for more performances. According to Ntsie, they are establishing relationships with various groups and communities through Mpaneng’s music and as such have made a commitment to show appreciation for her support. She will enter into contracts with some local churches where a certain number of her CDs will be given to the church to sell and a certain percentage of the proceeds will remain with the church towards youth development. These are just some of the projects in store, while others on the cards include donating cement for the construction of a building for Difofu Association.