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A distinct famo music group



MASERU – TŠEPANG Makakole is proud to lead a small famo music group that he claims has not experienced bloodshed.

Makakole, popularly known as Nyaka-Nyaka (Hurly-Burly), established the Lekhotla-la-Nyaka-Nyaka in 1995 when he was still a young man and still a greenhorn in the famo music genre.

“We have been in existence for 27 years and we have never experienced violence, something that is unheard of in any famo music gang,” said Makakole.

Makakole is a man of many talents. He is a radio personality with Mo-Afrika FM, an artiste and unionist.

His group, Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka is a famo outfit strictly focusing on recruiting famo artistes.

“We are focusing on recruiting and promoting artistes to produce music as a source of living.

“Women and men who are artistes from all over the country are welcome to join this association,” he said.

No other artistes from other music genres have joined his group.

Like other famo music groups, Lekhotla-la-Nyaka-Nyaka has a distinct attire that differentiates it from other groups. Members wear red blankets and white gumboots with red soles.

Women members have their own attire — a red half waist seshoeshoe dress with red collar shirts.

The red colour is usually associated with the Mohale’s Hoek district.

But Makakole says his group is “for all the people who understand its principles irrespective of the district they come from”. Nyaka-Nyaka hails from Mohale’s Hoek district in Mekaling, Phatlalla.

Formed in 1995, the group has not registered any death resulting from the raging famo violence that has wreaked havoc both in Lesotho and South Africa, claimed Makakole.

“Our principles as a group have saved us from violent tendencies that continue to rock the famo music industry. We do not produce music that is manifested with rivalry.

“Instead our songs are romantic or based on socio-economic hardships. We do not sing about other singers, either criticising or praising them,” Makakole said.

His most popular song is “Serurubele mpepe,” a romantic song depicting him riding on the back of a beautiful butterfly that carries him to the love of his heart.

The rhythm on all his songs are far from most famo tunes from the southern part of the country, where the genre is marked by makhele, the kind of songs that promote violence or mostly complain about acts of a rival gang.

“We do not respond if someone provokes us in their songs. We pretend as if nothing has happened,” he said.

“Before anyone can join our group, we sit down with them and share the principles of the group.

“We tell them about our code of conduct so that they understand how the group is run,” said Makakole.

Among other tenets, those joining members are told to avoid alcohol when going to functions, especially burials.

“Even after the functions, those who drink should not do so in public spaces. We try as much as possible to avoid things that can irritate the public,” said Makakole, adding that the group leaders encourage members to steer clear of criminal activities and instead work hard to put bread on the table.

No money is needed as subscription fee for one to join this famo music group. The group does not offer any financial assistance to members who wish to record their music.

Makakole said he formed the famo music group just for the love of the famo music.

“I actually started to sing when I formed Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka in 1995, he said.

Another prominent famo artiste who is a member of his stable is Lempe Leteketa, also known as Boima (Heaviness) from Tajane in Mafeteng but originally from Mantšonyane in the Thaba-Tseka district.

“But there are hordes of members who are just ordinary members drawn from all over the country. We do not have members who are in South Africa so far,” he said.

Members in many famo gangs, widely known as Zama-Zamas, are known to be illegal gold diggers who work in disused mines in South Africa.

Makakole said they have one member who was a good singer who defected to form his own famo group because he did not like the type of music promoted by the Lekhotla la Nyaka-Nyaka group.

That man, he said, loves Makhele songs “not the type of music we sing”.

Makakole’s songs are enjoyed more by women who dance to them in the way they do litolobonya, a form of song and dance exclusively for girls and married women.

Litolobonya is exclusive to women because it gives them a platform, at the onset of motherhood, to express their sexuality and share their innermost concerns with other women without fear of being judged, according to Malefane Soai’s article titled “Litolobonya music in Lesotho”.

Many such famo musicians whose songs are mostly enjoyed by women because they enable them to dance their litolobonya include Lebohang Letšohla, Apollo Ntabanyane, the late Lampi le Lehlohonolo, the late Mosia and the late Abiel Hatlane who was also a gospel songster.

Makakole said he did not join other famo groups that were already in operation because he believes he has leadership skills to lead his own group.

“I was born a leader. Joining other famo gang groups would have frustrated me,” he said.

He said one of the major challenges faced by famo artistes is that people are not buying their music on the shelves.

“This is a challenge that affects almost all the artistes.

“Today, artistes spend more money to produce music and get nothing in return,” lamented Makakole.

Makakole said most of their music is pirated.

“It is expensive to go to the studio to record music yet artistes are wallowing in poverty and pain because of people who steal their music,” he said.

Makakole said there are times when he gets angry at people who keep on provoking his artistes with insults because of the soft famo music they present to their audience.

“Some artistes from other famo gangs can insult you for just produce pure music,” Makakole said.

Majara Molupe

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