Artist from Botswana, Steez, has become synonymous with prideful but critical messages in his rhymes. The late artist, was able to share some of these messages in many of his songs prior to his recent passing. The song titled, “Pula” is introduced during the 50th celebration of Botswana’s independence. Pula, meaning blessings, is a representation of the pride that the citizens of Botswana should have, and appreciate the accomplishments that have been made in the present semi centennial. The first indication of the appreciation of Botswana culture, is the use of Tswana language with a mixture of English. Using both languages is symbolic of uniting cultures that used to be opposed, or a result of Botswana being a protectorate of Great Britain. This tradition of Motswako rap has been a key characteristic of connecting to one’s own roots while still delivering a unifying message.
The main social message in this song is a call to come together as citizens, and admirers of Botswana. Visually, the video features overlays of historical figures that contributed to Botswana gaining independence, creating a juxtaposition of historical context with the modernity of hip hop and the present day circumstances, showing that the two can exist in harmony. Additionally, the setting of the music video is mainly placed in a central place where people of different shades and backgrounds are congregating to participate, contributing to this juxtaposition. Moreover, the song title and hook “Pula a ene” speak to the blessings that have been received and should be appreciated, according to the artists. A shot from the video that features a pose in front of the Three Dikgosi Monument.
Lastly, the song features an element of welcoming tourists to the country. It highlights the different touristic features, such as the Three Dikgosi Monument, that serves as a monument to commemorate the independence of Botswana. This is important to the social message as, while the song is a celebration of Botswana independence from another country, Steez and King Tux are still encouraging foreign visits, and potential influence. The difference now, is that these citizens want to showcase the pride and beauty that exists in the country.
While Steez is no longer with us, his words and social messages live on.
Steez on Twitter: @BWSTEEZ