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Focalistic flying South Africa’s flag high at the 2021 MTV EMAs

Eyewitness News logo Eyewitness News 2021/11/13 Mpho Lakaje
© Provided by Eyewitness News BUDAPEST – When he first burst onto the music scene in 2016, Lethabo Sebetso was quite intentional with his actions. For example, he applied for a travel visa. The reason? He knew he would travel the world one day. But, of course, he didn’t expect everything to happen so soon. He released the mega hit Ke Star in 2020 and it went on to achieve gold status, which means it sold over 25,000 units.

But that was only the beginning.

His amapiano sound, a genre that was born in South Africa’s townships, thrust him into the global music arena. He found himself performing in Europe and other parts of the world. But it’s his MTV European Music Award nomination that got music lovers talking. Focalistic told Eyewitness News that his success means local artists are attracting global attention.

“They are watching us now. If they are looking at me, that means God is around the corner. Everyone else is being watched. So, for me, that’s what I’ve been saying, that’s what I’ve been preaching.”

Sebetso was born in Ga-Rankuwa, near Pretoria in 1996 and in his childhood played soccer. But it was his artistic talents and ambition that propelled him to success.

“I think for me, there’s a 10-year plan. We have to occupy the top 10 spaces of global billboard charts. We have to work harder.”

Monde Twala, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa, said there was a shift happening across Africa that has captivated the world. He add that young Africans should use the strength of art to help develop the continent.

“Music has the power to unify us. Music has the power to create this cross-border collaboration, which we’ve seen. We came into the market as MTV and established the African Music Awards. For the first time, a Nigerian artist could collaborate with a South African artist, with a Kenyan artist, with an Angolan artist, with a Mozambican artist and really giving a unique signature to African heritage and African culture, especially youth culture.”

But it’s going to be an uphill battle for Focalistic. In the Best African Act category, he’s up against Nigeria’s Wizkid and Tems, Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania and Ghanaian songstress Amaarae. Other megastars who have bagged nominations include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Ed Sheeran, Shakira and Drake.

The ceremony takes place in Papp László Budapest Sportaréna in Hungary on Sunday.

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