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Raletsatsi lives past tragedy.

Two years after surviving a tragic accident that claimed the lives of fellow band members, Basebi Raletsatsi is not looking back.He is determined to soldier on, if not for the love of music,then for the comrades who fell to a road acident when they were returning from a show in Ghanzi.

'I was among the band members who got involved in that accident. Fortunately for me when others passed on I survived with minor injuries,' he said of the tragedy that befell Charma Girl's band in 2016.

His story with music goes a long way back. While at primary school back in 1995 , the 32 year old made himself a guitar from an old Caltex oil tin, a wooden plank and strings which he then played around the village, mimicking popular songs he heard play on radio.

After not doing well in his Junior Certificate ,the Serow-born guitarist then joined a mission house in his home village,playing marimba .

One day he borrowed a bass guitar from a friend and started mixing the strings with marimba.

That alone caught the eyes of the then Vice President of,now former President Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama who then bought the band an electric bass guitar.

It was then that a new band from the mission house was formed called Afro Marimba Band.

'After seeing the need for a bass guitar, the president who was by then our patron bought us a guitar and it was through that same guitar and my stay at Afro Marimba Band that my playing skills were sharpened,' he said

In 2006 Raletsatsi now trading by the name Sebastian Bass was recruited by Jeff Matheatau to be a member of his Yakho band,playing with them for three years till 2009 when he left to join

Tanzanian Nathaniel Mwamboma's Nata Capricon doing mainly corporate shows.

He also had a short stint with Alfredo Mos' Les Africa Sounds before joining and working with Culture Spears as a full time bass guitarist in 2012.

'I recorded for Ekentolo's Mokgwenyana album adding bass for all tracks including the popular Sekuta song. My fingers really impressed Charma Girl who then decided we record another album, Mmokolodi together .

Raletsatsi says his musical instrument,the guitar, has taken him places ,led him to different characters and personalities,high profile individuals like presidents,ministers and international music gurus from across the world.

'I rubbed shoulders with bigger groups like UB40 ,Zahara,Casper Nyovest,Alick Macheso,Jah Praiser just to name a few,' Raletsatsi said.

He said the UB40 show is one of the highlights of his career as he got some complements from some of the band's crew when he descended the stage after a marvelous performance.

'Getting complements from the UB40 crew really boasted my self-esteem around the guitar, now I am able to play a variety of genres,' he added.

Raletsatsi further said through his interactions with other musicians and guitarists from other countries he has leant how to handle the pressure that comes with performing among the best in the world stating that he once played in the same set with Mpumalanga Gospel Exports.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:May 10, 2018
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