My name is Abel Tshepo Monnakgotla (a.k.a. AT-M). I was born in South Africa (Ditsobotla District, Botshabelo Village – now known as Putfontein) on the 30th August 1970. I am an entrepreneur in the Transport Industry. I run the AT&T Monnakgotla Group of Companies as the Administration Director. The Group comprises of six companies that I partner with my wife (Talita). I am a long-term fan of Township Rollers FC and a staunch member of the Lutheran Church. I have been a proud Gaborone resident since 1973 and would prefer to be called a Gab-nian since I don’t have any other place that I call home than Gabs-City (GC). Contrary to this position, I am a Son-in-Law of Hukuntsi Village i.e.; my alternative home village.
DJ LEXY J: I’d like to know your relationship with music, when did the love begin? How far back can you remember?
MONNAKGOTLA: My love for music started in the early 80’s when we used to have Pantsula Competitions at Naledi Secondary School, Gaborone Secondary School & Lesedi Community Hall. Well, I did not make it as a dancer but I used to support a friend of mine called Reuben Makgato. He would enter competitions and compete with the likes of Dakota (Theophilus), Mzekezeke, Lebeka-phanzi etc. During those times we listened to South African music e.g. Sipho Hot-Stix Mabuse, Senyaka, Brenda Fasi, Mercy Phakela, Yvonne Chaka-chaka, etc.
DJ LEXY J: What kind of music do you love and how often do you indulge yourself?
MONNAKGOTLA: Well, coming from a Disco Music era, I have evolved as a person to Reggae & Ragga in the 90s and now I am an African Jazz lover. Finding African Jazz joints in greater GC is not a problem but my biggest enemy as a business person is time. When I find time during weekends and long holidays I visit places like the famous Millennium pub in Mogoditshane, Chilli-bar in Matebeleng, Gabane Beer Gardens etc. As is clear, I like going out of Gabs-City to near-by villages since I find a relaxing atmosphere there and avoid a ‘clash’ with fun-makers from the younger generation. Besides visiting these places on Sunday afternoon after Church, I like chilling at home in Oodi, sitting at the balcony in my house, listening to Jazz Programmes on RB2, Gabz FM and Motsweding FM (my home radio station). I would like to confirm that Reggae/Ragga has not disappeared from my music taste as I still listen to the RB1 Reggae Programme on Fridays (22h00 till 23h00), RB2 on Saturdays (around 12h00 till 13h00) and finally Motsweding FM at 14h00 till 15h00. Reggae is my soul music!
DJ LEXY J: How has music influenced your life over the years?
MONNAKGOTLA: Music has assisted me to mature into the person I am. South African Disco Music took the Teenage-hood out of me ie; I had friends that I enjoyed dance practices and Pantsula competitions with. In the 90s (while attending college in the UK), I fell in love with Reggae and Ragga due to my interaction with students from the Caribbean. We went clubbing, partying, you mention it (you know what I mean – adolescent life). When I finally came back home from Coventry (UK), I decided to marry my long-time sweet-heart (Talita) and this forced me to tone down into African Jazz at the time when Bra Hugh Masekela was a hit, the time when African Jazz Pioneers were re-launching their albums, the time when we started recognising Jonas Gwangwa’s music. This type of music (Jazz) helps me to un-wind business stress, not forgetting my Reggae Classics.
DJ LEXY J: Does the music you listen to now differ from what you listened to growing up?
MONNAKGOTLA: Yep…. Very different. Actually I always wonder as to how I found Disco Music interesting. Currently I pay attention to lyrics, I pay attention to instruments; I look for and follow deep melodies from different instruments. Jazz-Jazz-Jazz (in Uncle Shima Monageng’s barry-tone).
DJ LEXY J: Can you think of any particular music/song that you associate a memory, mood, or place with?
MONNAKGOTLA: “Chikisha”….. Sipho Hot Stix Mabuse. This song flashed party mood, happy-people, dancing. This song up-lifted my teenage-hood spirit. Even today, I can afford to jerk-up my aging bones and dance. This actually surprises even my nephews and niece (Batlogolo), as they think I never danced in my life.
DJ LEXY J: What is your all-time favourite song(s)?
MONNAKGOTLA: Chikisha – Disco (Sipho Hot Stix Mabuse); Two Sevens Clash – Reggae (Joseph Hill & his Culture Group); and Chileshe – African Jazz (Bra Hugh Masekela).
DJ LEXY J: Who is your all-time favourite Artist, and why?
MONNAKGOTLA: Bra Hugh Masekela….. I have lived with his music festival in Gaborone Extension 2 (African all) in the early 80s. This guy used to practice his trumpet day-in, day-out and as kids (10 year olds etc.) we used to think he was crazy. I came to realise what he had been doing all those years when he rocked to fame in the late 90s. I had a collection of his music from then and I attended most of his shows in GC. He is an inspiration and baffles me with the energy he still displays at this time of his late age.
DJ LEXY J: What’s on your playlist and how do you choose the music that goes onto it?
MONNAKGOTLA: Well, I have left the playlist to the Radio Announcers Fridays & Sundays. But, I get happy when I hear Bra Hugh, Jonas Gwangwa, Bra Soccer Moruakgomo, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Joseph Hill. The list is endless!
DJ LEXY J: So long, have yourself a super duper day!