Breakfast with Elemotho ahead of the Kalahari invocations tour
The rains have been quite brutal and honest recently, and today the crispy morning yawns out of yet another soaked night.
Within the coldness of it, a stream of traffic and impatient working class city folks compete in the rush hour and as the sun projects its geometric rays on the cityscape, this writer jumps past newspaper headlines awash with the news of yesterday’s State of the Nation Address.
Slowtown Coffee roasters is also waking up within the precincts of its own cutting edge simplicity.
I can make out Elemotho Mosimane’s lone figure slouched in one of the chairs and he is just on time.
The space around him this morning has been invaded by clean shaven figures donning executive looking drab suits, occasionally sipping on Slowtown’s sobering hot beverages midst hushed conversations.
This has become almost like our ritualistic rendezvous, and as I cross over, the singer seems to be contemplating on his upcoming tour that will take him to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) first before the next flight ticket to Caceres, Spain.
HIFA is Zimbabwe’s prestigious annual crowd puller which often drags into nights suspended with a carnal aura of intoxicating pleasure engulfed with the vibrancy of culture.
The festival is all about the world meeting Africa and for a country that has come out of political transition brought about by one of the most remarkable military take overs in present history, Elemotho has the message of nothing else but hope.
He is a social activist by right and might and his sounds of positivity have more than once taken a jab at the elite, batting on a wicket of social harmony.
As this writer pulls over a chair, the songster beams into a lazy huge smile extending his dry hands for a firm hand-shake, asking about the morning as well as how the SONA was like.
Today, he would like to begin the conversation on how Namibia’s economy is faring without delving much into the politics but rather the impact of such on the country’s soul and development.
As he comfortably places his tablet on his lap and takes a bite at his early breakfast, he dives into the subject of this encounter, HIFA and Spain.
"Am so excited. On a personal level, I really love the music of Zimbabwe like the mbira and such musical instruments, the Black Spirits and those guys. So it’s always gonna be great. It’s a southern African festival and it’s growing big,” he begins.
Inspite of the cultural, social differences, however small or big they may be, Zimbabwe is nothing but the home next door for him.
And I can tell the longing in his teary eyes as they seem to glimpse into some not so distant past of his first interface with the country’s musical pioneers.
“I remember from the early days in Bulawayo with the Ragga muffins, I have many friends. The music of Zimbabwe has always been my repertoire. I borrowed my sounds.”
The Ragga muffins made their mark on the country’s radio but have since sunk down their activity with the emergent Zimdancehall phenomenon blasting current speakers.
Yet the mbira remains as enigmatic as ever, with youngsters incorporating it into the new sound adding depth and cultural color to their renditions.
Meanwhile, this year’s HIFA will be held from 1 to 6 May 2018 under the theme, “We Count”, Associate Executive Director of the festival Tafadzwa Simba from Zim has confirmed
“The fact that it’s happening in Harare is a big deal and I thank AirNamibia that is flying us there. Much love for AirNamibia for coming on board,” he jovially says munching on his food with so much gusto.
For him music is always and has been a reflection of the past, future and present and in Zimbabwe his Kahalari Invocations will be all about mounting the stage to unite, heal and inspire a generation.
It is in light of that understanding that his band will be in Spain at the Womad festival (11th of May).
“Kalahari invocations are melodies of medication and that is part of the theme. We have political and economic turmoil globally. I don’t think it’s for Zimbabwe. We have right wing situations springing up in Europe, Brexit,” he says.
A waitress comes around balancing a coffee mug which she carefully places by the table and disappears back into the restaurant.
Tunakor will be assisting with his plane to Europe, he says, shouting out some thanks and praise for their generous gesture which he again calls “a big deal”.
“Womad is a big festival in Caceres, Southern Spain and we are headlining on our night,” he runs his fingers on his tab to check for dates, “It’s a big deal!”
From Womad the band will move on into a couple of other University and town gigs within Spain with some funds going towards the Save the Rhino campaign.
Speaking of his European tour, Elemotho says he takes with him the sounds and stories of home, “I want to make sure that the language crosses over.”
“I want to engage in the global economic, political or spiritual space. Every society has its problems. My problems are no bigger than yours,” he says.
He sees the media as found wanting in creating illusions that misrepresents the world that he has come to know as a “writer and a traveler.”
As the interview drags on and the coffee starts getting cold and so the clouds too begin to gather building a premonition of yet another likely downpour.