Arts & Leisure

I sang before I could talk-Minister Spokes

Chris Theko

Minister Spokes is the name he is popularly known by, however, the award-winning gospel sensation was born Poloko Mohlapiso in Semonkong rural Maseru, where he lived most of his life, only experiencing ‘city-life’ at the beginning of his high schooling journey.

The singer says as far as is aware, he has always been a musical person, adding that according to his grandmother who raised him, he basically started singing even before speaking.

“I have always loved singing from a young age. My grandmother tells me that I sang before I could even talk, as I would make musical humming sounds, so basically, I was born with the gift of singing,” Minister Spokes says. 

He recalls how he had the support and urging-on of first his family, then the community back home who lauded his musical prowess. He says even older people who were already singing in the church choir would always commend his signing hence he never downplayed the talent he has. 

“Because of what my hometown people were saying to me about my ability as a singer, when I got to Maseru, I joined Yadah Praise Family where I received a lot of grooming,” he recalls.

He says he knows he has been called into the craft since he is always so fulfilled by his artistry and is always ready to reach new heights as “…I just want God to use me as a vessel to make miracles not just in Lesotho or Africa but throughout the world.

“I would be very content if I hear people all over the world say to me ‘I was down and your music helped me and gave me hope,” he says. 

Like many artists, Minister Spokes says his musical journey has not been a bed of roses as he acknowledges that he has had his share of challenges in his journey.

“At the same time the journey has not been easy, it is still not easy. The first challenge is the country we are born in because people who lead this country don’t care much about arts.

“In other countries when you have such a talent you get a big support from the government but not here, yes, Basotho in their different walks of life are supportive but that is not enough however, we will get there.

“We also have a challenge where the industry itself is still not fully recognizing gospel music like other genres. We are not being valued in our country,” he says.

He highlights the importance of working independently and managing own affairs as opposed to being under a record label which he says are quite limiting.

“I am good working independently. I was once in a record label and felt very restricted to a point where I realized it is important to do my own thing. When you work alone it becomes easy to achieve your vision without the restrictions or interference by the label,” he said. 

In 2018 he recorded his debut studio album titled ‘The genesis’ which was the beginning of his journey as a solo artist. He has also released singles such as ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘Wamuhle’ and many others in recent years.

He is yet to start working on his second studio album because he wanted to give the first one enough time to be enjoyed by the fans. 

“That album has so far been my most precious achievement. I have received awards outside the country because of it so it is a golden achievement for me,” he prides. 

His journey has seen him cross paths with some South African gospel greats such as Dr Tumi, the late Neyi Zimu, Lebo Sekgobela and Joyous Celebration with whom he has shared the stage. 

During the 2021 Free-State Gospel Awards in South Africa, Minister Spokes was awarded the Artist of the year award. He has an annual show called The Genesis which he will be performing at on March 5. 2022 and is already working on a new single tilted ‘Folisa Lipelo’. 

He says he is what he is because of God his backbone, resting place and source of strength and says he can never shy away from proclaiming the saving power of Jesus.

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