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Phoka preaches peace in new album


Famo Artiste Phoka
Famo Artiste Phoka

Mohalenyane Phakela

FAMO musician, Phoka, has implored warring gangs within his genre to seek peaceful resolutions to their disputes in his recently-released 22nd album.

The 10-track Phoka Special No. 5 was released on 29 June 2016 and also dwells on the themes of love and hope.

According to the Leribe-hailing musician, the famo turf wars were not only eliminating musicians but also decimating the genre’s followership as well. Famo turf wars have claimed dozens of lives and left scores of people injured over the years in Lesotho and in some parts of South Africa. The violence has been spearheaded by Mafeteng-linked famo gangs who use their songs to insult rival artists and their followers.

“The famo wars plaguing this nation are not only killing the talent and human beings, but Basotho are now afraid to support us because they fear for their lives. As a result, we are now unable to sell our music in this country,” Phoka said.

“Some famo musicians have since looked to the South African market, but it is not every Famo artist that can afford to distribute their music in the neighbouring country. So, the others have been left stranded.”

He said peaceful resolution to the conflicts was the only way forward.

“I believe as Basotho, we should sit down like the olden days and find solutions to whatever caused these disputes. Over many years, famo has been regarded as the embodiment of Basotho to the rest of the world, and we should not destroy that.”

In the title track, Letjeketjane, Phoka makes an analogy of a cricket chirping in the forest and being heard in villages, saying in like manner he was hoping his message of peace would be heard too. The album also features such tracks as Phepi Motsoala about forgiveness and Kea Belaela which urges restraint.

The Phoka Le Sehlopha hitmaker said he was able to appeal to a cross section of audiences because he did not use vulgar language adding that the songs speak of issues people can relate to.

“I am part of the community within which I live, and whenever I compose a song I first consider whether my audiences will be able to decode the message irrespective of their status or age and that has ensured that my message is relevant to my fans,” he said.

Over the years, Phoka has notched a number of accolades which include the Best Sesotho Musician award for the album, Lipoho Tsa Bochabela at the South African Traditional Music Awards held earlier this year. In 2012, he also won an award under the same category with the album, Hlabeng Tsa Butha Buthe No.6 – Bophelo Bo Thata.

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