Malefo Mokha aka Stampore’s departure from this world has left a void in the lives of those who worked closely with him. Known by the nickname Charles Man by those who closely worked with him, he penned hits such as Ha modimo o ka nthusa, Ba tlogele, Turni banyana, and signer Ditlhogo.
His favourite expression at all his shows was, A le teng (or Are you there) while he was doing the sound check. The expression would send his fans, who would be eagerly waiting for him, into a frenzy.
While the public might have gotten the chance to experience these special times, Thabo Sthibo Kgosiemang, who is the Artist Coordinator for Small House Records counts himself lucky to have spent a considerable amount of time with Stompore and come to love this legend for the gentleman that he was.
Just like the rest of the country, Kgosiemang grew up listening to Stampore’s music on Radio Botswana. His first encounter with Charles Man was in 2007 when Small House Records signed him. Being the man who liaises a lot with the artists signed to the company, Kgosiemang divulges that he will forever treasure some of those moments. Some of these moments include seeing the birth of Stampore Trio and seeing how the group took the country by storm.
A man on his own mission, Charles Man proved to be something else in some rare occasions. Kgosiemang funnily recounts how in the beginning of his relationship with the legend he would call him for rehearsals.
“I would inform him about rehearsals on time for some of our shows. And when I called him to find out where he was, he would not answer his phone. I would end up driving all the way to Molepolole where I would have to look for him. And when I tried to find the reasons for not turning up for the rehearsals, he would inform me that he did not feel like coming,” those he said were trying times because by then everything had been booked including his accommodation and the venues for the shows.
But with time, he said that Charles Man got to understand that their popularity and whether they made money depended on these shows.
Another rare glimpse about his character was during his trip to London for the Premiere of Mma Ramotswe. As a smoker and being stuck at OR Tambo Airport prior to their thirteen-hour flight, Charles
Man sneaked to the toilets where he locked himself inside and enjoyed a few puffs. “Part of my role included knowing where he was at all times. After looking for him for a few minutes, I saw him and he informed me that he had been smoking in the toilets,” he laughs remembering how terrified he was that they might be caught for violating one of the laws of smoking at a prohibited area.
He would also move to surprise him one time when he was performing in Maun. Once he was done with his show at the three-day festival, he decided that he wanted to stick around and listen to a Rock n Roll band which was on stage. Apparently he enjoyed listening to this genre.
Kgosiemang also burst out laughing when he remembered another moment with him. He said that they decided that he would not indulge in alcohol before his performances. This did not go down well with him.
“I remember how he asked Solo B, who, between me and him, was a celebrity. Solo B told him that it was him (Stampore).
And he said since I was against him drinking before shows I should be the one performing,” said Kgosiemang, noting that there were no hard feelings though as they wanted to make sure that he gave his fans a good performance.