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Entertainment industry mourns Tops

On Sunday, 14th February 2021, the great promoter of Botswana entertainment, Tops Masole departed from this world.

The 62-year-old breathed his last at Princess Marina Hospital, where he lay hospitalised for three weeks leading up to his death.

Tops as he was known, lived his life to the fullest.

The larger-than-life figure owned nightclubs in Maun, Kasane, and Gaborone, making his presence felt every time he graced an occasion.

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He was known for keeping the company of beautiful young ladies, expensive alcohol, and an errand boy’ around him.

The Voice Staffer, DANIEL CHIDA speaks to some of the thousands who interacted with him.

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Zenzele Hirschfeld – Promoter

Losing an iconic mentor and Industry Father as Tops was a blow to my face.

Tops served the entertainment industry with passion, love, talent, and dedication.

He has not only mentored me but has given a lot of Botswana and Africa’s artists an opportunity to showcase their craft.

He knew how it is to have nothing and always made sure the next person he sits with gets a little opportunity.

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He shared more, laughed, worked, and joked hard.

He was a lover of finer things in life.

I carry many memories of our times here on earth.

He was good at negotiating and getting himself a larger piece.

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Loretta Mekgwe – Friend and Artist

Words seem so feeble in moments like these but Motswalle would have wanted us to express ourselves and reminisce about the good times!

Slovo was a man on a mission.

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Money was never an issue for him; this is a man who could run the biggest show in the land without a cent.

His innovative spirit and colorfulness drew people to him, and he knew how to build teams to execute his grand plans.

Tops knew how to manage his relations with everyone, including the hawkers in front of his club.

He was a people magnet bursting with charisma!

I am grateful for the lessons and the pep talks he always gave me.

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“O Gold Kabetswe, O Gold!! BoZinzily ba ko tasi,” he would say, and we would laugh and continue to brainstorm.

I am reminded of the peacemaker he was, quick to apologize and always reuniting people.

Until we meet again in laughter on the other side of the stars Tswatswi…2 Kings 20:5

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Mercy Thebe

The thing with me and Tops is that we related on a friendly level and we would mostly hang out at chill sessions at my place and birthday celebrations.

This was years after I had lied to my parents saying I was going on a school sports trip to Maun but going for Tops wedding with my friend Neo More with the only P7.00 on us.

He was a very fun person to be around and oozed great energy.

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I still can’t believe he has transitioned.

I’m so saddened by his passing.

Even though we mourn his home going we also celebrate all the brilliance he left behind and the many hearts and lives he touched and transformed.

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Dose Mosimanyana – Promoter

He literally raised me, DJ Smalls, Tambai, and DJ Bunz, and taught us almost all we know about the entertainment industry.

When he came to Maun we were just hustling young DJs Smalls and I, and he showed us that entertainment could actually be a business and full-time employment.

Tops organised big gigs and always made sure he gave us a chance to perform, no matter how big the stage.

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My first ever event as a promoter, that featured international artists, was a joint venture with Tops.

We hosted Trompies in Mahalapye and Maun.

That’s when he taught me how to take care of artists before, during, and after the show.

We made successful shows together and also lost some money together, but Buddy was always one way, cheerful and positive as ever even when we lost money.

He taught me to never ever give up.

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Gilbert Seagile – Promoter and BEPA President

Convincing Tops to change his mind was something we all failed to do, he was a hard nut to crack!

I remember there was a time we hosted an outdoor show together, the show flopped because he didn’t listen to us when we complained about the venue being unsuitable.

After the show, Zeus, who didn’t take nonsense when it comes to payment, went to Tops’ place to demand his money.

Guess what, when he arrived, Tops thanked Zeus for being a generous person who saw it fit to check on him unlike other artists who didn’t care about his well being after such a loss.

Zeus was defeated by Tops words and left without anything.

Kaunda Kawanda

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It all started with Uncle Tops aka Motswalle , the late Source Katombela and Prince Chengeta headlining the entertainment industry back in the Ghetto.

This was in the early 90s, Uncle Tops was specialising with live shows and I was doing the sound engineering for him – back then I was still an amateur radio and TV technician plus passionate in music.

From Francistown we landed in Maun and lived together at Maduo Lodge for a couple of months.

We took Maun by storm with a chain of powerful events, not forgetting a particular show in 1999 Sept 30 where I was the only DJ alongside Brenda Fassie, Les Afrika Sounds just to name a few and I realized how I was top of my game.

Motswalle was a kind, loving, mentor, businessman and caring man that I came across, he loved to hang around the young and vulnerable just to have them guided into finding their own path.

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He turned unknown names into brands, the likes of DJ Big Pun, Bunz, Tambai (MHSRIP) and many.

The story is endless but to me Tops brought happiness to many and he will be remembered by many.

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Reaboka Mbulawa – Former Hip Hop Star and Businessman

Tops was a very great man, a hustler, and a fun guy.

I remember somewhere around 2008 when he was running club Trekkers in Maun, back then I was driving a pimped Short White Mitsubishi Pajero on 22-inch rims with a heavy sound system and LCDs, I visited the club and Vee was supposed to have a show in the club.

For some reason Vee arrived very late in the morning, I think after 0130 hours, and the club was packed but nearing closing time.

As I was sitting in my car in front of the club, the big man came zooming into my passenger seat carrying a sack full of gate takings and asked me to fly him outside the scene to his house, hiding, leaning back so no one sees him through my dark tinted windows.

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We got home where he hid the moneybag. On the way back to the club as I was confused about what was going on, he kept laughing saying, “Motswalle ke Basimane, baa tshameka, bare re baa nknocka mme ke ba iteile.”

Vee played around two in the morning just when the club was about to close and people were angry.

Tops were back blaming Vee saying the show was a flop and people never paid because all artists came late, meanwhile he had all the money and I don’t think any of those artists took a single Thebe off him at all.

(Laughing) That was how gangster-minded the real Tops I knew was!

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