In our latest city guide, we head to Southern Africa to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone. After being recommended to us by friend and creative director, Tanlume Enyatseng, of the queer art platform Banana Emoji, we invited DJ Spinz, who has been spinning an eclectic mix of sounds in his local city and afar for over 19 years, to curate a local mix and guide to his city. Including where to cop some local Botswana street wear labels, check out the natural beauty around the capital, local dishes to taste and where to go out and witness the city’s vibes when partying is back on! Put on the mix and be instantly transported to a warmer and music soaked city.
Have a listen to the mix whilst getting to know more about the city through DJ Spinz’ answers below.
Favourite place to buy records (old and/or new)?
Well back in the day (mid to late 90s) there was a store called CD House and that’s where I got my music from. It’s actually where I bought my first few vinyls. As online shopping developed, I was then buying more records from Juno Records in the UK.
For local music, there was a place called Ko Setlhareng which means Under the Tree and it was basically that. These guys set up a store under a tree in the centre of town at what is called the Main Mall area, it’s not really a mall but more offices now but it has areas where hawkers set up shops and sell all sort of local music, art and craft.
Favourite live music venue?
I would have to mention two of the Botswana Craft for bigger shows and The Number 1 Ladies Coffee House for more intimate sessions.
Best soundsystem / favourite club?
I don’t go clubbing as much as I used to but the best sound system would probably been at SKY Lounge. I like more lounges and café set up, more intimate settings. I’d have to say one of, if not my favorite spot in town was a place called Khwest which unfortunately closed down some years back.
Best party in the city? (do also mention any pop-up/outdoor parties)
Best party in the city for me is probably the Night Market at The Number 1 Ladies Coffee House and the Day Market at Culture Art Café. They are like market events that also as the night goes turn into massive parties. So early on you can some locally made art, some craft jams, sauces, organic foods, African print clothing etc and then as it goes into night the party start.
In terms of outdoor parties I’d the Rasesa Social Picnic hosted by DJ Bakito, (I’ve never been but everytime it happens the city buzzes.)
Describe Gaborone in three words.
Pretty Effin Chilled
Best view of the city?
A restaurant called Table50Two, it’s on the 20th floor of a building that is pretty much smack in the middle of the city.
Best spot for a picnic?
Is there somewhere you like going to escape the hustle and bustle and take some time away for yourself?
What is a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner in Gaborone?
BreBreakfast I guess is like everywhere else in the world, you either have your eggs, bacon and toast type of breakfast or cereals. Similarly Lunch and Dinner are the same, you either cook dinner at home or go out to a restaurant and depending on your taste you can pretty much find anything from Asian cuisine to western style steak houses and burger joints. During lunch you also find ladies that cook street food in business or industrial areas to cater for people that can’t go home for lunch.
What are the best local dishes?
I would say for me topping my list is Seswaa with Bogobe Jwa Lerotse. Seswaa is pounded meat, almost like pulled meat, but its normally either mutton or beef that is cooked for a long time until it is super soft and then pounded. It is normally served with maize meal or a thick porridge made with pulp from a melon called Lerotse in Setswana. Mophane worms are pretty dope as well.
The Daily Grind just all-round dope café, The Deli at the Craft Market and K’reo Café.
For great seafood and Portuguese food I’d say The Caravella and then Rodizio, for Indian cuisine I’d say Embassy Restaurant and then for steaks grilled stuff probably Beef Baron, Rodizio, TwoSixSeven. If you’re looking for vibey restaurant then TwoSixSeven, Rhapsody’s, Primi Piatti, Zest, Corner Couch and Culture Art Café are the places to check out.
For me they are more like tapas bars/ restaurant so I’d say TwoSixSeven, Zest, Touchdown, Bull & Bush,
What are the best local dishes or street food in Gaborone & where to eat them?
I think for everyone that grew up in this city Pop Inn is the spot to get all greasy comfort food you need. You get fatcakes, chips, sausages, deep fried fish. Then for a more traditional delicacy there’s Dudu’s Take Away for a dish called Serobe which is made from cow entrails. Also a comfort food type of dish and guys here call it the hangover cure.
Best place to experience something unique to Gaborone?
I think Mokolodi Restaurant, you get to see some wild animals while you have a meal and drinks. Zebras, Antelopes, Warthogs etc.
What iconic building(s) in your city should one go take a look at and why?
I think the iTowers because they are tallest buildings in the country and on one of the towers there’s a restaurant where you can see the whole city.
Any cool non-record and non-music shops worth checking out?
I’d say Diamond Dust, a local clothing label with some pretty dope threads. Botswana Craft for Botswana inspired art, craft and memorabilia. Thapong Visual Art Centre for more arts and craft stuff. Sanitas Gardens if you’re into trees and like tranquil spaces.
Are there any markets to visit in Gaborone?
You can go to the Main Mall as I mentioned, there’s also a thrift market in an area called Kagiso Centre and the various market events that happen around town
If we had to buy one local thing from your city to take back, what would it be?
What do you associate most strongly with Gaborone?
Its pretty chilled actually super chilled!!
First thing you miss after leaving Gaborone?
The peace and quiet, clean air and the sky at night, see all the stars in the night sky, the warmness of the people.(that’s if I find myself in a big city). People in big cities tend to be cold).
Where are the most beautiful spots in Gaborone?
Gaborone Yatch Club, Bokaa Dam, these are all around big bodies of water which make for amazing scenery.
Best place to see another medium of art other than music?
Botswana Craft and Thapong Visual Art Centre
What is your city’s traditional musical sound and dance style and where do you recommend going to see either or them?
It’s all really urbanized and people just go with trends as they come and go. I’d say also our historical linkages to South Africa and the closeness to Johannesburg creates a path for trends to flow up to Gaborone so you’d find that what is popping in Johannesburg would probably pop in Gaborone too.
Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting locals to have a chat with?
Everywhere, Batswana are generally very chilled people.
Is there any activity you must do when visiting Gaborone?
Go to the Gaborone Game Reserve or the Mokolodi Nature Reserve to check out some wildlife. The animals roam freely and it’s all pretty rugged so one can the sense of being on a mini safari unlike zoos where the animals are confined to spaces.
What’s the best and worst thing about living in Gaborone?
The best thing is that it’s small, quiet and pretty safe. The worst thing is that traffic jams are increasing and the drivers are becoming worse. The city is changing too fast for my liking and you can feel it in the energy of the people as well.
Who’s doing good things for Gaborone music right now, who you’d like to shout out?
Yarona FM and the music compiler Drew Chadhall have done tremendous work in increasing the rotation of local music on the airwaves.
Are there any festivals either in or around your city that are worth checking out?
The festival vibe has been waning over the past few years so I don’t think there’s recurring festival that is noteworthy at the moment.
What are some of your favourite up-and-coming DJs/producers/musicians bubbling up in Gaborone right now?
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us? Where and how did you record it, what was the idea behind it and are there?
I recorded at my house on Traktor. The idea of the mix was to showcase music from Botswana or music that has made big cultural impact in Botswana. The music industry in Botswana is still in its nascent stages so access to a lot of the music is quiet challenging. It a of bit stuff from the 60s up until now.
And finally, what’s on the horizon for you in terms of show dates, releases or any upcoming projects that we should look out for?
Well its strange times now because due to Covid 19 we can’t really host events but I’ve started a new residency at a place called TwoSixSeven on Fridays and then continuing my Saturday residency at Rhapsody’s. I also play at the Day Market which is monthly. I’m also planning an event that I host called the Zamunda Sunset Society which will be held towards the end of January 2021. We have to make sure that the social distancing protocols are adhered to.
Music wise I took a bit of hit when my laptop crashed last month so all the projects was working on were lost. I have to start on new projects but plans to release some music in 2021.
Follow DJ Spinz on Instagram and Facebook.
Rratsie Setlhako – A re chencheng
George Swabi – Baga Mmangwato
Stampore – Ke go saenetse
Afro Sunshine – Tote
Afro Sunshine – Ma Basket
Afro Sunshine – Afro Sunshine
Afro Sunshine – Maebeke
Duncan Senyatso – Sheleng Wee
Sereetsi & The Natives – Maitsetsepelo
Sereetsi & The Natives – Thaa Kokome
Sereetsi & The Natives – Roberte
Tribal Monks – Mussa Move
Tribal Monks – Bounce
Third Mind – Sesotho ke Sechaena
SKIZO – Strawberry Goom Goom
Mpho Sebina – No Evil
Mpho Sebina – Black Butterfly
Mpho Sebina – Dumelang
Titose – Lights Off
Mapetla – Thaba Tshweu
Killa Casino feat DintleOnTheTrack – Coconut (Remix)
A.T.I – Lephoi
Girlie – BMW
Noello – Chelete
StaXXx feat. Killer Casino – BLM