He was once considered a mad man because of his love for the guitar but that did not deter the Mamelodi hit maker from his passion for music.
He soldiered on until he recorded a single resulting in him making a name for himself in the entertainment industry. However the road was not smooth as he was cheated by producers at South African studios.
He came back with nothing except a Gold Disc which proved that indeed his albums were doing well while he had no Thebe to show for it. He is currently working on an album to re-launch himself which is set to be released at the end of the year.
To sit down for this interview it took more than three weeks for Voice reporter Daniel Chida to track down the famous man in his tourism village, Maun.
Arriving an hour late for the interview at The Voice office at the Natlee Centre in Maun, the outspoken singer let it all out in no time.
Q. Why is it hard to track you down yet you are so popular?
I stay far from town and I prefer staying at my place instead of going out. It is either I am at my place or at the studio recording my album which will be released in December at Kelly entertainment studios in Maun.
Q. All the people I asked on your whereabouts asked me to go and look for you at Chibuku depots or shebeens, why?
Normally I go to depots to check on my relatives who own them or looking for a friend of mine Yellow, he is the one that likes playing in shebeen.
Q. Do you drink?
I do drink but not that much, maybe when people see me in depots they will be thinking I am drinking. I know longer drink in shebeens because of the behaviour of some youth who insult people after drinking.
Q. How would you describe yourself?
I am a soft and easy to relate to type of a person. I’m the first born in a family of two. I survive through music as a guitarist and a music composer.
Q. How and when did you land in the music industry?
I used to play a homemade guitar as a small boy until I met King Kong from Mahalapye who taught me how to play modern guitars and I recorded a song for Dipina le Maboko programme at Radio Botswana. The song, Katsire, which I recorded in the 80s, did put me in the limelight.
Q. How was it then compared to now?
There was no money and people used to assume that we (those who played guitars for living) were mentally disturbed until I recorded a full album in 1997. Today there is money and you also get respect from the public unlike in the past.
Q. What was your first album and how did it do?
My first album was called Khubama; it was recorded at Downtown studios in Johannesburg in South Africa. It did reach Gold Disc in sales but I got nothing from it because I was cheated. I was happy to see myself recording not knowing that there is a contract to be signed.
Q. How many albums are you having under your belt?
I have eight albums, Khubama, Mamelodi, Mashitakozirwa, Bana ba dikole, Sethukothuko, Xhuka Xhoke, Khoi Khoi and Zekondo
Q. There was a band called Stiger and Sister what happened to it?
My sister, Mayorees got married and that resulted in some band members leaving too thinking the band was dead. The likes of Snake Poison left to pursue solo projects and my sister too turned to gospel music. I’m now looking for women who can back me up and maybe call our band Stiger and the Eagles.
Q. What made you to have that kind of a band?
We had seen the potential we had in our family and wanted to have our own band but it did not last.
Q. Are we going to see the band releasing another album?
That band is dead but I will bring in different people whom I am still looking for because playing as a solo does not entertain people that much.
Q. Back to you, why did you refuse to take part during 2012 Independence celebrations which were held at the stadium?
I had been booked by some organisers who even paid me in advance. Those organisers who wanted me to perform at the Independence celebrations came at the last minute and their payment was not attractive at all.
Q. Do you think the payment you get from playing at drinking spots is better than what was being offered?
I have stopped playing in bars and shebeens because the owners do not take us serious. Apart from the payment being too little, it does not come easily. Shortage of public halls like in Francistown kills our music here.
Q. Some of your songs were popular in Motsweding FM in South Africa; did you get your royalties?
I did not get anything but there is a time they asked for my bank details and I gave them the Botswana Building Society (BBS) account which they turned down saying they need of an international bank. I opened an account with Stanbic and I’m still waiting for them to deposit though I do not know how much it is.
Q. How did you feel when you were considered to be a popular artist at Motsweding FM than with local radio stations?
It pains a lot and when you ask local presenters they will tell you that your songs are being played, what is the use of playing someone’s songs at night when there is few or no listeners at all. Some people were on my case thinking I was rich just because my music was played in Motsweding.
Q. RB1 used to play your song only after 2pm news, what do think could have been the reason?
It was a great move by the station and I urge them to play our music no matter how bad it is at least we will get recognition and improve as time goes on.
Q. Some of the people who were famous like you, the likes of Kgobola and Kotaeshele are far from being the people we thought they would be, what could be the reason?
Some of the artists do not have patience and when money does not come as early as they had expected they turn to alcohol and lose focus.
Q. How can that be avoided?
Stay grounded and avoid loitering because people will not take you serious. I play my guitar until it drugs me when I’m happy or bored and that should be the case.
Q. Stampore is making it big in corporate events in Gaborone while you are not; your reaction to that?
I had financial problems after I was cheated and my current producer is helping me to record for free and I do not want to lose focus by looking at what happened in the past did.
Q. Do you have enough in your bank account as savings from music?
Yes, yes there is something for the family to rely on in case disaster strikes again.
Q. Local artists have a tendency of relocating from their places to Gaborone for greener pastures but we saw you heading to Francistown, what was behind that?
After being cheated in South Africa I thought doing business with a Pastor in Mpho Nakedi would help but the people he engaged to sell our products cheated us and ran away with our money. Francistown also came in because it is close to home unlike Gaborone.
Q. How many albums did you record there and how did they do?
I recorded three, Galalela, Bana ba dikole and Sethukothuko. Galalela sold 40 000 copies which was not bad while the other two flopped badly selling less than 700 copies.
Q. Why did you come back?
My mother got sick and I had to come back and that was in 2003 but unfortunately she passed away six years later.
Q. What has been the highlight of your career?
Performing with a live band in 1997 during a Corporative and Artist music show is the one I won’t forget. Master Dee’s band was my backings and the stadium was filled to capacity.
Q. Who are some of the big artists you have shared stage with?
Oliver Mtukudzi and Mahlathini and Mahotella Queens though I cannot remember the years.
Q. And the lowest/
It has to be between and 1999 and 2000, when everything fell apart with band members leaving and I had no income at all.
Q. You used to have a full live band but of recent you play solo, what happened?
They left because I couldn’t manage to pay them.
Q. Are you a member of Botswana Music Union and what are the benefits?
I am a member and it helps when you want to sign a deal you do not understand because they help.
Q. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I will be playing Jazz Music because my style is slowly loosing rhythm bit by bit and with Jazz you can relax a bit on stage.
Q. Anything you want to say to your fans?
They should wait for my hot album which will come out in December this year.
Q. How are you going to spend your weekend?
I will be playing my guitar and having drinks with my friend Yellow at my place.
Full Names: Monaga Stiger Molefi
Date of Birth: 12 June 1959
Place of Birth: Shorobe
Marital Status: Single
Favourite Drinks: Coke and Hunters Dry
Favourite Hangout: Home (Botshabelo)
Favourite local and international artists: Franco, Alfredo Mosimanegape and Steve Kekana
Role Model: Johnny Mokhali
Your Best track of all the time: Mashitakozirwa and Zekondo
Number of kids: 5 (1 boy and 4 girls)
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