MB is one of the polers who guided our group of artists and crew into the Okavango Delta to shoot the music video for “Mmaballeng Montlenyane.” Having grown up in Shakawe, a town near the Delta’s panhandle, and worked as a mokoro canoe guide for 22 years, the Delta’s bounty has provided MB with a livelihood that he now fears may be dwindling for his children.

He’s seen the rainfall decrease and the life-giving winter floods recede significantly since his youth, when his community freely traveled to Maun via mokoro to sell their reeds and grasses. Today, the community has had to purchase a vehicle, pay for maintenance and fuel, and maintain a long series of bridges to the village, in anticipation of floods which just don’t occur anymore.

Mbangwa sees hope in music as a way to communicate the causes and effects of these changes, and what can be done to make the most of a shared resource like the Delta during such times. He offers John Makhali as an example of an artist who helped to teach him and shape his life, contributing to his lifelong drive to be a good and balanced man.


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