Earlier this month, 27-year-old artist Sarona “Sasa Klaas” Motlhagodi passed away in a helicopter crash. A musician, actress, and media personality, Sasa Klaas built a reputation as a female rapper, earning herself the title of the “Queen of Rap.”
One of Botswana’s most celebrated talents, Sasa was recognized by former Botswana Musicians Union president Pagson Ntsie as a pride of the Botswana music industry. She has released a number of singles, including ‘Mma Mongwato’, ‘Playing with Myself’, ‘You’, ‘The Best Things’, and ‘Vapors’, her most recent release. In addition to her contributions as an artist, she was also a public figure and role model to many of Botswana’s youth, particularly young women.
As a successful, young female rapper who had penetrated a male-dominated music industry, Sasa used her platform to have an open and honest conversation on sensitive topics and issues in Botswana. In her last interview with 20th Avenue Podcast, Sasa addressed issues ranging from mental health to domestic violence and sexual assault. During the interview, she encourages women to become more independent, to bring each other up, to arm themselves with knowledge and to empower one another. Her confidence in the way she addresses issues can be seen in her music, in particular ‘Vapors’.
Rapping in Setswana, the national language of Botswana, and English, Sasa exudes confidence in her delivery of the lyrics and in her body language. As much as the song is about her own success, it also represents her identity as a woman. As she so eloquently and articulately stated during her appearance on the 20th Avenue Podcase, it is a matter of consent, what she so chooses or not to do with her body and with whom. And she exhibits this in a spectacular fashion.
While the loss of Sasa Klaas is quite tragic and felt amongst her supporters, both in Botswana and internationally, perhaps we should dwell on the impact that she has had on those who may come afterwards; those who were so inspired by the young and gifted talent that they might be encouraged to take steps toward changing their own communities. So, maybe, it might be better to appreciate what Sasa has left us and look towards the future, never forgetting and appreciating her sacrifices and contributions while always looking ahead to what may come for Botswana.
And to Sarona “Sasa Klaas” Motlhagodi, thank you and may you rest in peace. 5 March 2021.
Apple Music: Sasa Klaas