Musical activist Elemotho not done yet
Windhoek- You rarely hear his music being played at local clubs, or blasting out of the jukeboxes that decorate the majority of sheebens in popular Eveline Street and other entertainment spots in Katatura.
But singer and songwriter Elemotho G.R. Mosimane, simply known as Elemotho is one of Namibia’s successful musicians.
His is the only Namibian artiste to have won the prestigious Radio France International (RFI)/France 24 Discoveries Award in 2012.
This is a competition that is open to artistes from Africa and Indian Ocean islands which is said to have launched the international musical careers of the likes of Malian Rokia Traorė and Ivorian reggae star Tiken Jah Fakory.
Today, Elemotho has toured over 25 African countries, and abroad including Europe. Last year he performed at one of the world’s biggest musical stages – in front of 28 000 people at the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WAMOND) in the UK.
“Performing at the WAMOND, the biggest world festival was a big deal because I played in front of a big crowd, and I really gave it my best,” the Kalahari born singer said in interview.
Apart from that, last year he had performances in Valencia, Spain and Pretoria in South Africa as well as many gigs in Namibia.
“I have been on the road. I performed in Spain, I’ve been in Pretoria, I did lot of private gigs here at home in Swakomund, I performed in Katututra at the World Aids Day, so I have been busy,” he said.
This year, and to mark 25 years of Namibia’s independence, Elemotho had two gigs in London, at invitation by the Namibian High Commission in the United Kingdom.
And he got another important performance lined up on March 26-28. “I am going to play for a crew in a Canadian-American cruise ship – The World- coming from Luderitz to Walvis Bay. It’s a private gig and I am excited. I am also going to perform in the dunes for the same group.
I got called up by an American producer, the director of Afro Pop Music that ‘I love your music, we are coming to Southern Africa, if you are interested’. It took a while to negotiate, but now we are done negotiating and I think towards the end of March I am going to be performing doing two gig for these guys on the cruise ship and at the dunes between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund,” he said.
“It’s an important show, it is also an acknowledgement for my work. So you do your work, if you keep working no matter what, things will come by. And I am glad to be where I am, it has been a long road but nothing comes cheap, you have to sweat, and I am glad that I sweated to be here and for a brother from as far as US acknowledging my work is big for me”.
According to Wikipedia, The World is a private residential yacht serving as a residential community owned by its residents. The residents, from about 19 different countries, live on board as the ship travels the earth—staying in most ports several days.
Elemontho, who sees himself as a musical activist who sings in his vernacular Setswana and English blended with other local languages said he is working on his fourth album, which he plans to release by the end of the year.
“I got new songs, I am still working on them but I am really excited about the songs. I’ve played them in Pretoria, in Spain and here at home,” he said.
He said one of the new songs called ‘Beautiful World’ has been getting good reception. He also decided to name his new album after the song.
“I think when my new album comes out, hopefully towards the end of the year and I am hoping to call it ‘Beautiful World’, because no matter what you are going through, the world is beautiful. I have travelled a lot, and I’ve seen some amazing places, and meet amazing people. For me beautiful world is also a testimony to the human spirit, to my grandmother, others before me, and many other people. The struggle we go through to get where we are,” said Elemotho.
Elemotho has three albums to his name – Human, Ke Nako (It’s time), The System is a Joke and a collaborative work of his three albums called My Africa, which has sold been sold worldwide.
“It might be the most personal album, the most engaging. It will be personal for me, because of what I went through. I want to put it out there – my observation of the world and also the observation of myself and what we have to go through, because in travelling you see amazing things, sometimes you don’t even have words for it, ” he said.
There is sentiment that Elemontho is more popular abroad, than in his motherland. Although he is not convinced, he believes it might be due to his music, which does not fall in the category of popular music.
“I think I have worked hard enough to be both. I am not really the type of an artist who does popular music. There is popular music out there like hip hop, kwaito, RnB and reggae. Some of my music is more critical, like The System is a Joke, Politics of the Belly, The Dose of Reality – they might not be readily welcomed. It is not the type of music that is always danceable, or you play at the clubs. I think that’s why things took a long”, he explained.
“I have been working very hard. But I am glad to be where I am now, and it’s a good place where I am right now. I can laugh with lot of people from the young and old, and different colours.”
Elemontho is one singer who cannot categorise his music to a certain style and still stands by that conviction.
“I cannot classify my music. I grew up with a radio; I grew up with lot of influence from where I grew up and the influence changes once I kept moving. I would say music is music, what moves me, that’s what I go for. It moves me it moves you, I go for that, I am not worried about what type of music I am doing.”