The physical beauty of the Kalahari only enhances its true allure - the liberating silence and solitude found in so much open space. Elemotho, a Tswana musician, shares his Kalahari...
“When I am far from home, singing to a crowd in Germany where endless horizons are hard to find, I lose myself in my songs, as the lyrics beckon me back to the Kalahari and the place of my birth.
I am originally from the Eastern part of Namibia, was born in the capital of the Omaheke Region, Gobabis, but I grew up a farm in this same region with livestock and wildlife equally.
When I return home, I always like to take long walks, cutting paths in the deep, red sand and reconnecting to the earth and the source of my music.
I also dearly enjoy the home cooking from the fire. We have got “kika” (meat stomper) that is traditionally cooked in my region and “Bogobe Jwa Mabele,” a type of sorghum porridge. In the old days you were not supposed to eat your clan “totem”, and since for example my family’s totem is the Kudu, we were not supposed to eat them and therefore we conserved this species.
But much more than the food, it is the music of the region that molded me into the artist I am today. The Batswana are characterized by being very good singers and dancers, and I grew up with a lot of it. The rhythms used are hand clapping and 12/8 hip/feet dancing. When you dance and sing like this around the fire, it is intoxicating. It is this feeling that I try to replicate in my music, whether I am playing in Windhoek, recording a new album or sharing my music with audiences in Europe who are hearing it for the first time.
Back in Windhoek, you might catch me performing at Nice Restaurant, the Franco Namibian Cultural Center (FNCC) or at the Namibian National Theater (NTN). If you want to hear the hand-clapping rhythms and see the hip/feet movements of traditional dancers, visit one of our annual cultural events, like at the /Ae//Gams Festival that takes place every September in the Capital, Windhoek.
The endless horizons, the red sand and blue skies of the Kalahari could lead me to write a list of endless songs. It’s my main inspiration to come back to this earth after long tours outside the country. The Kalahari is a place where you can really find yourself, and I never get tired of it. You should share my Namibia, and find this inspiration for yourself.”