Setswana matters in Tsoness’ music

Setswana matters in Tsoness’ music

Jou ma se taal: Tsoness prefers mother tongue into her music

Tsoness is a rebel with a cause. She intently uses her mother tongue, Setswana, to drive her passion for music. She’s adamant that not even a recording deal would defect her aim to use her language as a medium. “That would be the earlier signs that they won’t understand me in future,” she says.

Kgomotso Matjele (her real name) of Molapo, sees using Setswana in her music as a niche because many musicians don’t express themselves in the language. “Batswana pull back. They think people might not understand them.”

Although she sings many genres, she is more comfortable with Afro-soul.

Tsoness was startled when she was performing in Cape Town. Xhosa speaking people were blown away. “They wanted to know the meaning of the words I sang. This is the exchange of languages,” she highlights.

To her this is bigger than just the language issue: “It’s a personal journey. I was disadvantaged growing up, thus had to learn Setswana from my grandmother. Now I want to challenge my imperfection, so that I can be corrected.”

Who cares about a language when most people aspire to have money instead? “We end up being people with money and no identity. In future it trips us. You can’t take pride in your identity if you don’t know who you are.”