Touch the Sky like Zeus

One of the biggest names of the hip hop scene in Botswana is Zeus. His debut album released in 2008 and was largely a success, with his music video for the song “Gijima” winning Channel O’s Best Hip Hop video award. Since then he has released several other popular albums but his most recent work was with SkyGirls. An organization that describes themselves as “a sistahood that helps teen girls stay true to themselves and stand up for what they believe in. It is about how to stay true to yourself and knowing who you are, not who someone else wants you to be.”

This ethos is strongly represented in the lyrics and music video for the song titled “Touch the Sky”.

The video echoes the sentiment of staying true to who you are and what your values are. This message is especially significant in the hip hop community where many of the most famous artists focus on trivial topics such as sex, drugs, or money. Notably in the video, the teen makes several significant decisions such as focusing on her passion, creating the music that she likes, and saying no to drugs.

The themes of “Touch the Sky” are found in much of Zeus’s work. His focus on using his skills and audience to discuss real issues and shared experiences is a common trend, and I believe what makes him one of the most successful rappers in Botswana and in Africa.

The Queen Takes Her Throne

Sasa Klaas released her first official single in the winter of 2013 and quickly gained in popularity both in Botswana and internationally. Now she sit’s high and mighty as the most prominent female member of the hip hop scene in Botswana, and easily beats out many of the men as well.

Her first song, H.A.D.S.A.N set the stage for her success. The lyrics exude confidence, and carry out a strong, powerful feminine narrative. With lyrics like:

Don’t compare me to Niki and I ain’t trying to be Kim

All I’m trying to be is everything that I’ve always been.

She adds positivity and energy to her lyrics that is highlighted best in the video accompanying her first single.

In the video she portrays several versions of herself. In the opening scene she dons loud, colorful, and possibly provocative clothing, seeming to invite the viewer to fully engage with the music and accompanying video and set her apart right from the beginning. Throughout the rest of the video she goes between a queen sitting on her throne in a crown and dress, and a plain t-shirt and accessories seeming to indicate that her “top class” and “bright future” aren’t a product of her title or position, but instead because of her own power and commitment to herself and her community.