Botswana’s favourite rap artist, ATI has dropped “stimamolelo” a track that has hit single written all over it. Suspicious minds will no doubt speculate that the dramatic events leading up to the release of the catchy tune’s release last month may have been an elaborate PR stunt designed to hype up the song.
This year, ATI born Atlasaone Molemogi embarked on a campaign through which he sought to address societal ills he feels the government is neglecting. At the core of his musings was a burning desire to meet with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, although it was never clear what he wanted to discuss with the president behind closed doors. The “Khiring Khorong hitmaker has also revealed plans to form his own political party. Only time will tell if the party, ‘Batho Bame Resolve Party,” will actually get off the ground.
In a brief telephonic interview with the The Voice newspaper, ATI was quoted as saying;
“I have been delayed by this lockdown. As soon as I am able to I am going to register the political party.”
Serowe-born ATI’s hopes of meeting the first citizen were however dashed, much to his displeasure. Instead, the Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang referred him to the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tumiso ‘Chilliboy’ Rakgare. The rapper subsequently committed the cardinal crime of posting a live Facebook video of himself parking up at the president’s official residence, the State House. Naturally, he was arrested and thrown in the slammer for a night. He was charged with “failing to comply with directions given by an authorised officer in a protected area contrary to section 5 (3) of protected areas act.” According to The Voice, his charge sheet read;
“The accused person on the 23rd day of June 2020 at or near the State House without lawful excuse or right took photographs and videos of the State House without permission.”
The hugely popular 31-year-old rapper’s upset hordes of fans flouted COVID-19 guidelines, gathering at Extension 2 Magistrate Court and demanding the singer’s release, with chants of
“Free ATI, Re bata lekhete” peppering the air. Embarrassingly for the Botswana Police Service, the charge was swiftly thrown out by presiding Magistrate, Kamogelo Mmesi. This came after his lawyer, Advocate Duma Boko argued that the charge sheet was ‘defective’. Boko, who is also the President of opposition party Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), had submitted to court that the Police rushed to charge ATI without adequately ‘informing themselves’.
“Their charge sheet is fatally defective. They should be given time to reflect and come up with proper charges. There is nothing desperately urgent about this case,” insisted Boko.
Magistrate Mmesi agreed, asking the prosecution;
“Why is your charge sheet silent? There are important facts that should not be a secret. They should be stated in the charge sheet and they do not come out clear in this charge sheet.”
The Police were quick to retract the charge, asking to amend their charge sheet, telling court they had intended to seek ATI’s continued remand as they suspect he may not be of sound mind.
“He poses a threat to himself and the public. We had hoped to take him for a psychiatric evaluation,” revealed Tshebo.
Sadly, many others who shared this sentiment. ATI’s recent emotionally charged ramblings on social media have led some observers to believe he may be going through a meltdown, possibly because he was hitting the bottle again and/or back on drugs. By his own admission, the multi-award-winning star has previously battled drink and drug demons. Back in 2018, he spent a 2-month stint in a South African rehabilitation centre due to ‘health reasons’.
Video courtesy of Cyc Jouzy via YouTube – ATI – Stimamolelo (Official Performance) – 98,044 views•Premiered Jun 16, 2020