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TswansHall: A Setswana infused Reggae Sound

Tswanshall Generals

Gatoga Mogala TswansHall! A Movement of Setswana Infused Reggae and its Generals

Gatoga Mogala simply means: Let the music play or Leggo da tune or Run it!
So, Gata mogala = Pull up!  Gatoga mogala = Leggo da tune!

While the world is on lock-down, gripped by the global epidemic igniting fear and causing a shift in the way of doing things, South African Reggae artists have been mostly affected, struggling to keep up with the new method of online streaming. But somewhere in Africa, in the North west province of South Africa to be precise, there is a movement called Tswanshall which is bubbling under.

The North West province (Tswana: Bokone Bophirima; Southern Sotho: Leboa Bophirima; Northern Sotho: Leboa-Bodikela) has a population of just over 4 million and ranked 7th in the 9 provinces of the country. The province is located to the west of the major population centre of Gauteng and the small independent country of Botswana lies in the North East. The majority of the province's residents are BaTswana people who speak seTswana, just like in the neighbouring country Botswana. It is also the home of The Magaliesberg mountain range which extends about 130 km. This province is the birthplace of prominent political figures: Moses Kotane, Abram Onkgopotse Tiro, Ruth Mompati, J. B. Marks and others.

This has also become the home of Tswanshall, an offshoot of Reggae Dancehall, a sub-genre and culture that is bubbling under, quietly ticking like a time bomb, mobilizing and planting a seed, ready to explode the Mzansi Reggae Dancehall scene. Tswanshall, as one of its protagonists defines it, is: “a Setswana infused Reggae Sound. It is reggae music intended to be comprehended as of truly Afrikan origin in Afrikan tongue and ear.

It was specifically at the height of this pandemic period that the movement has been at its busiest, producing music, releasing videos, collaborating with like minded artists from across the globe, representing in the International Reggae Day activities and basically working together to shine the light on the culture. It comes in the time when most SA Dancehall artists are locked in Facebook squabbles and battles of who is the Dancehall King and lamenting about lack of Support and Unity; the generals of Tswanshall have been putting in some ground work, working as a collective and supporting each other, because after all is said and done, it’s the works that speaks volumes.

The Motto of the province: Kagiso le Tswelopele (Peace and Prosperity) is clearly reflective of this new generation of Reggae Dancehall movement called Tswanshall.

MzansiReggae reached out to some the main protagonists (the generals) of this movement to give us more insight into Tswanshall, we let them, in their own words, shed some more light on the nature of the movement; from top ranking generals to the youngest general.

Cover Photo by LNT

Red I Scorch - The Colonel

Red I Scorch - Tswanshall Artist

@RedIScorchDiFirstFire
What is Tswanshall, how would you define it
Tswanshall is reggae music delivered in our own mother tongue, Setswana in particular, with a little bit of patios. With its message deeply rooted in Rastafari roots and culture.

When and how did this name come about?
The idea has always been there, singing in our mother tongue, but not coined as Tswanshall. Because most of the people could not understand patois. So It made sense for us to do it in Setswana. That is before we all came together in Botswana as early as 2012 to agree on setting up this movement " I remember when the late Jah gene said to me "Monna Red I Scorch ke Tswanshall hela go tloga jaanong" meaning its only Tswanshall from now. Encouraging one another to write more in Setswana.

Can you mention the main players in the scene
Red I Scorch - Tswanshall colonel, Recording Artist and Producer at Grounded Roots Records.
Chantty Natural Tswanshall General, who does most of our engineering and owner of Live Wire records .
Ras Pablo is our day one MC and owner of Bamboo Adventures and also does Artist Management together with Ras bush.
Ragga damdee one of the pioneers and BinghiBoots Records boss.
Jah Gene (RIP) who is responsible for most of Tswanshall's tag lines such as "Gatoga mogala"
We also have big artists like Ras iyets (Tswanshall Lieutenant), Blakka Yut (Tswanshall Future), Empress Maffie Gee (First Lady), Jah Sabbath and Alphy X and Ancient Fyah and more youths are rising in the movement.

Selektas we have Wiseman hailing from Rustenburg . Sanzalixious Selekta SA is responsible for spreading the music around Johannesburg in particular.

Don't you think it kind of like separates you from the rest of the massive, especially when it comes to language?
Not at all because most of the southern African languages are almost similar. Basotho in the Free State , baPedi in Limpopo can understand Setswana and the language can reach as far as Namibia.

Why do you feel the need to brand it Tswanshall?
Most of our fans and supporters can relate to it as it carries their roots and culture. And it is a brand that will sell us to the broader market because of the authenticity within the vibes.

Where do you see Tswanshall in the future?
Tswanshall music is the future that everyone is looking up to. Because it’s not just a music thing but a full on movement with its own life style.

We notice that most of yous are collaborating with outernational producers/DJ's, Why is that?
Well the aim is really to take Tswanshall all over the world. And collaboration with both international and local acts is a step towards that. And to really seek a broader market. Like now I've just released Upliftment Time in June featuring Fury, a female Jamaican artist, produced by Chil4ril from Zimbabwe and it’s doing great.

Do you guys feel that you are being excluded from the general Mzansi Reggae scene, that's why you look outernational.
No the recognition is there, being booked from Cape to Durban, kuruman to Free State but there are times, during big stage shows where you wouldn't see any Tswanshall artist representing The line-up is always the same with Jozi (Johannesburg) artists mainly. So we go where music leads us, which is the international market through people who see and acknowledge our works that we put out online. Still I big up all the promoters who book Tswanshall artists.

Can you list all the Riddims that came out of Tswanshall
Yes Fire Keepers which is a collaboration project between Binghiboots Records producing the first one, and Grounded Roots records producing vol2 (Jah House Riddim)
Another one from Grounded Roots is a dancehall riddim titled 3rd Degree Riddim, Blessed Riddim due to drop in August featuring various Tswanshall artists and Sanzalixious Selekta SA featuring Spirit from Jamaica. Tlhaloganyo le Maikutlo Riddim from Live Wire Records produced by Chantty Natural.

Where exactly is the centre (geographically) of Tswanshall?
Well Tswanshall head quarters is based in Ramotswa Botswana at Live Wire Records. With camps in Lichtenburg under Grounded Roots Records, Binghiboots Records in Ventersdorp. And in terms of fan base and Tswanshall activities Mahikeng is the glue that sticks all these places together, to give out a real Tswanshall experience.

Do you host Tswanshall Events?
Yes we do have our own annual Tswanshall events from the Black History Month commemoration held every February in partnership with the local Nyahbinghi Rastafari Houses.
Fire keepers concert in Lichtenburg NW in Summer,
Tswanshall Explosion in Ventersdorp towards December.
Tswanshall Salute, that is Chantty Natural's Earthday Bashment.

Chantty Natural - The General

Chantty Natural

@chanttynaturalmusic
What is Tswanshall, how would you define it?
Tswanshall basically means Reggae and Dancehall in an African language, mainly Setswana and patois fusion, Southern African rhythms and bubbling (Dancehall/ rap).

When and how did this name come about?
Tswanshall is an initiative by Phemelo Albert Moikabi / Chantty Natural who saw it fit to do Reggae and Dancehall in an African language, for our people to get what is being said rather than using a language that they do not get all the time. At first people were skeptical, that being because they were used to reggae in English and patois.

Can you mention the main players in the scene
Chantty Natural Founder, Producer, Artist, Sound Engineer. Label: Live Wire Recording Studio
Artists: Red I Scorch, RaggaDamdee, Ras Iyets, Blakka Yut, Ccta Maruana. Chantty Natural
Poet: JahGene [RIP]
MC: Ras Pablo
DJ’s: Wiseman, Sanzalixious
Note; Everybody from Artist, Poet, MC, DJ’s have Businesses they run on daily respectively.

Don't you think it kind of like separates you from the rest of the massive, especially when it comes to language?
I personally don’t think it’s a hindrance cause of the authenticity of our own language. However, I do believe that it makes me prominent as an artist because my followers can know my roots and I can embrace and uphold my culture as a proud African.

Why do you feel the need to brand it Tswanshall?
Basically, Tswans means Setswana, as per the Motswana artist Chantty Natural. It seemed relevant to sing and promote myself in my mother tongue before other languages. Bear in mind that the artist is also very keen and eager to use other languages across the globe just as long as his followers understand his roots as a Motswana.

Where do you see Tswanshall in the future?
Tswanshall is the future. In the past dancehall artists in Africa have been struggling with patios and not all of them could understand or pronounce it right. But as it is now, we can all become reggae /dancehall artists in our own capacity and comfort zone (language).

We notice that most of yous are collaborating with outernational producers/DJ's, why is that?
For me its to get a wider market of my craft in pushing the brand Tswanshall.

Do you guys feel that you are being excluded from the general Mzansi Reggae scene, that's why you look outernational?
Being excluded from the general Mzansi Reggae scene has got to do with personal preferences/Likes of promoters and events organizers but that will soon change. People on the ground want it.

Can you list all the Riddims that came out of Tswanshall
Tlhaloganyo le Maikutlo is the only Riddim compilation out of Tswanshall and Fayah Keepers is a production for Grounded Roots still doing Tswanshall Music.

Where exactly is the center (geographically) of Tswanshall
Live Wire Recording Studio, Ramotswa Botswana

Do you host Tswanshall Events?
We have a yearly event name Tswanshall Salute in Botswana on September celebrating Chantty Natural Earthstrong And Tswanshall Picnic in December.

Ras Pablo - The MC

Ras Pablo - Tswanshall MC

@Raspablo
What is Tswanshall, how would you define it?
TswansHall is a Setswana infused Reggae Sound, it is Reggae music intended to be comprehended as of truly Afrikan origin in Afrikan tongue and ear. TswansHall interprets our everyday life experiences ,vision and goals.

When and how did this name come about?
Reggae in Setswana has always been existent since the late 90s/early 2000s, but the name TswansHall was later coined by Chantty Natural (Phemelo Moikabi)

Can you mention the main players in the scene
JahGene JahGun RIP (DubPoet and Engineer)
Chantty Natural (Artist, Producer & Sound Engineer)
Ras Pablo (Radio Presenter, Promoter and MC)
Tearless (Artist)
Ras BushMan (Organiser, Promoter and Technical Engineering)
St Leungo (Artist)
Red I Scorch (Artist)
Ragga Damdee (Artist)
Ras Iyets (Artist and visual image )
Jah Sabbath (Artist)
King Alphy (Artist)
WiseMan (DJ)
*The Army is growing

Don't you think it kind of like separates you from the rest of the massive, especially when it comes to language?
Every Massive in Mzansi or Outernational have longtime rise to the occasion of embracing their mother tongue within Reggae, there is already Reggae in isiZulu from Gauteng and isiXhosa from the Eastern and Western Cape. TswansHall is merely claiming its position within this circle. The world is open minded and eared now in terms of lingua.

Why do you feel the need to brand it Tswanshall?
The first and foremost element of culture is language. Reggae is culture music, this music is expressed in our culture and has to be branded with a cultural outlook.

Where do you see Tswanshall in the future?
TswansHall itself is the ancient future, a future which shall draw back the moral fiber and social reconstruct. Tswanshall shall elevate to be a subject in school, a sermon in church, a foreword of every author.

We notice that most of you are collaborating with outernational producers/DJs, why is that?
Every Artist, Producer or Media worker always look for something fresh, unique and tangible to work with. The energy TswansHall artists and producers put into their work has demanded outernational recognition.

Do you guys feel that you are being excluded from the general reggae scene, that is why you look outernationally?
Nah. TswansHall does have recognition in Mzansi Reggae Scene. TswansHall artists do get invited to shows and collaborate with other Mzansi Reggae artists, but there is an obvious element of holding back from other players in the Scene toward TswansHalists and that will soon come to pass.

Where exactly is the centre (geographically) of Tswanshall?
The concept aminated from Ramotswa,Botswana and North West Province,South Africa respectively, as the area is a Batswana territory which was only separated by the british colonial Border.

Do you host Tswanshall events?
Yes We do host various TswansHall Reggae events around Botswana and the North West province of Mzansi.
In Mzansi We host Black History Month - FireKeepers TswansHall Xplotion

Ras Iyets - The Lieutenant

 

Ras Iyets - Tswanshall General

@Ras Iyets Muzik

What is Tswanshall?
Tswanshall is Reggae Music in Setswana basically as the common language being used by Tswanshall artists.

When and how did this name came about?
Reggae in Setswana has always been there so the idea of the name Tswanshall was to build a brand that suits the style that we are using which is singing in Setswana. The name Tswanshall came with Phemelo Moikabi who is well known as Chantty Natural from Botswana.

Can you mention the main players in the scene
Ras Iyets (Music Video Producer and Artist)
Chantty Natural (Sound Engineer, Producer and Artist)
Red I Scorch (Producer and Artist)
Ragga Damdee (Producer and Artist)
Anciant Fyah (Artist)
Empress MaffieGee (Artist)
And more rising artists are in motion.
We have DJ wiseman and Sanzalixious selekta SA;
MC position is held by Ras Pablo who is a Reggae Presenter at Mahikeng Fm who is also working together with Ras Bush in terms of Management.
The recording labels are:
Live wire records in Botswana pioneered by Chantty Natural
Grounded Roots Records and Binghi Boots Records in S.A

Don’t you think it kind of like separates you from the rest of the massive,especially when it comes to language?
No,looking at our fan base you will realize that people enjoy Tswanshall, people love Tswanshall.

Why do you feel the need to brand it Tswanshall?
Most of our fans are from Botswana and Northwest where the common language is Setswana so Tswanshall is something they relate to, it is the culture; so instead of saying Reggae in Setswana we just call it Tswanshall.

Where do you see Tswanshall in the future?
Well I say the future is already here because the works of Tswanshall continues to shine the light even brighter, when I look back from where we come from I see growth, so yes we are being recognized from near and far, the future of Tswanshall is very bright.

We notice that most of you are collaborating with outernational producers/DJs, why is that?
To create a wider audience for our artists and marketing
the brand, we want Tswanshall to grow world wide.

Do you guys feel that you are being excluded from the general reggae scene, that is why you look outernationally?
Not at all, some of our Tswanshall artists get to perfom every now and then even if it’s not big shows hopefully our works will get us there it is early to judge the Mzansi Reggae scene, works must talk.

Can you list all the Riddims that came out of Tswanshall
Yes its Fyah Keepers Riddim, Tlhaloganyo le Maikutlo Riddim from live wire Record; 3rd Degree Riddim which is currently out And Blessed Riddim to be out in time, both produced at Grounded Roots Rec.

Where exactly is the centre (geographically)of Tswanshall?
Tswanshall was born in Botswana Live wire Records based in Ramotswa, that is the centre of Tswanshall the Home of Tswanshall.

Do you host Tswanshall events?
We have our own annual events, hosted in Botswana is Tswanshall Salute; in Lichtenburg we host Fire keepers, in Ventersdorp we host Tswanshall Explosion and Black History Month is celebrated in Mahikeng.

Blakka Yut - The Future

Blakka Yut

@Blakka Yut Muzik
What is Tswanshall, how would you define it?
Tswanshall is Reggae music based upon the roots and culture, we sing Reggae Dancehall and bubbling/rap mainly in Setswana and patois fusion.

When and how did this name come about?
Since early 90s/2000s and the name Tswanshall was later coined by Chantty Natural alongside the late Jah Gene

Can you mention the main players in the scene
Myself Blakka Yut as the Tswanshall future and the youngest player: Chantty Natural, Jah Gene (RIP) ,Red I Scorch, Ragga DamDee, Ras Iyets, Ancient Fyah, Tearless, Empress Maffie Gee, Alphy X and the list goes on.

Don’t you think it kind of separates you from the rest of the massive, especially when it comes to language?
No, it connects us with the massive because those who live to learn will get to know this authentic Setswana language, and a variety of other African languages too because it’s growing larger and broader.

Why do you feel the need to brand it Tswanshall?
As we all know in Jamaica they have Dancehall which is a big name already so we in Africa have Tswanshall for a little change or difference hahaha .

Blakka Yut - Tswanshall Artist

Where do you see Tswanshall in the future?
Tswanshall is the future , it will be on every ghetto youths mouths.

We notice that most of you are collaborating with outernational producer’s/Djs , why is that?
It’s all about building the brand, and apparently the work that we put in has demanded outernational recognition.

Do you guys feel that you are being excluded from the general Mzansi Reggae scene, that’s why you look outernational?
It feels good to be odd, we are members of a rootical sound, we are greater in outlook that’s what makes us look outernational.

Can you list all the Riddims that came out of of Tswanshall?
Tlhaloganyo le Maikutlo “riddim compilation” outta Live Wire Recording Studios. Fyah Keepers 1 outta Binghi boots Records. Fyah Keepers 2 outta Grounded Roots records.

Where exactly is the centre {geographycally} of Tswanshall?
Live Wire Recording studios, Ramotswa Botswana to the ends of North West province, South Africa respectively.

Do you host Tswanshall events?
Yes we do annual events, Tswanshall Salute in Botswana, Black history Month and Fyah Keepers in the North West province

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