‘My music not affected by politics’

MASERU — Veteran famo crooner Mantsá says his dabbling in opposition politics has not adversely affected his music career.

Mantsá, whose real name is Lephoi Elias Mohale, was the opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s parliamentary candidate for the ‘Maliepetsane constituency in the 2007 general elections.

He lost but remains a key figure in the party.

Last month another famo artist and ABC member, Lephatsóa Lebajoa, accused the state broadcaster Radio Lesotho of blacklisting his music because of his political affiliation.

He blamed the “ban” for his waning popularity, only to make an amazing about-turn a week later to say his music sales had been badly affected by tough economic challenges.

Mantsá this week told the Lesotho Times his political activities had not impacted on his musical career at all.

He said his music remains on the state broadcaster’s playlist.

“Politics have not had a negative impact on my music,” said Mantsá.

“I have been able to separate the two successfully.”

Mantsá said his music cut across political differences.

“My music has never been barred from the national broadcaster at any given time,” he said.

“I create music which brings people together.

“In a world where politics play a huge role in creating divisions, my music is an effective remedy and a unifying factor.”

Mantsá, who has been an influential force in famo music for almost two decades, dropped his latest offering, Mantsá ka Lerumo La Chaka: Motho, three weeks ago.

He claimed the 10-track album, released under his own Tajane Music label, has already sold 6 000 cassettes and 3 000 CDs.

The label produces other famo artists such as Lerole La Tajane, Thamae and Mapesela.

“I am impressed with the album’s performance,” Mantsá said.

“But it could have done better were it not for the retrenchment of thousands of Basotho workers from the mines in South Africa.

“Our fan base as famo artists is mainly in the mines.”

One of the new tracks, Umkhonto Wa ka Shaka (Shaka’s Spear), is a Sotho song with a heavy flavour of maskandi and Zulu lyrics fused into it.

Mantsá described the song as a special tribute to the Zulus for the support they have shown him throughout the years.

“I’ve been supported by all tribes throughout my career, but the Zulus have been exceptional in their loyalty to me,” he said.

“This song was a way of paying them back and strengthening the relations between the Zulus and Sotho people working and living in South Africa.”

Other tracks to watch out for are Ntsi Mpokane, Motho, Ke Holisitse Bana and Calvary.

Mantsá has been nominated in the famo category of the Lesotho Haeso Music Awards, expected to take place on May 30.

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