“It is with the greatest amount of displeasure to notify ATI supporters and all affected parties of his urgent admittance into hospital for medical proceedings in attempt to get his health back in shape after a condition he has been battling for years has overpowered him thus seeking professional help in South Africa.”
This was the message shared on superstar ATI’s Facebook page at the time he checked into rehab.
The post further went on to explain that the artist would be away for a period of two months to get himself together during which time he would not be able to do appearances or bookings.
Public speculation was instantly sparked with many supposing that the artist was in fact entering rehab for an addiction issue.
In a performance video that accompanied the post, the singer opens with “Fa ele gore kgang ke ditagi, my only drug is you” then continues to sing later on in the clip “Kea sokola” before wrapping off with “Anybody that knows me knows I’ve invested my mind, my body and my soul in this music business and the more I’m giving out, the more I’m losing myself/ Looking in the mirror, I’m clueless, I’m way too deep and I can’t get out/ So I gotta get away for a little while…” It was vague enough for us to not know what exactly he was battling with but the bottom line was, he was battling, and somehow that got lost amid the finger wagging from his fellow industry mates and society at large.
ATI’s situation came barely a fortnight after Emtee’s collapse on stage during a performance and an apparent overdose by mental health advocate and musician Demi Lovato, and while unnamed “sources” had “come forth” to claim that the he had a history with depression, again, nothing had been confirmed.
Granted, this is a man who’s survived an assault and kidnapping court case, satanism rumours as well as attacks on his sexuality for almost the whole duration of his career - He’s a man with a fighting spirit where his craft is concerned but it seems, as a result, consumers completely fail to register and appreciate his humanity.
ATI has consistently given our industry his all since he stepped onto the scene. His performances and image are meticulously curated and he gives our entertainment scene a care and respect many artists don’t bother to because well, why, right? The answer, for the man known as Atlasaone Molemogi, has always been for the craft.
He made 2017 a phenomenal year for Batswana with his smash hit Khiring Khorong and used his star power to even uplift brands such as BTC, but in his time of need, he stood once again judged and ridiculed by the masses.
It’s a ridiculous process to have to go through every time celebrities - these people who literally mold their lives around their fan base and give every ounce of themselves to the aforementioned - experience very human failings (In this case, ATI’s health). Whether it’s psychological or physical the bottom line is, it exists, and if we wouldn’t chastise someone for getting corrective surgery we sure as shit shouldn’t for going to rehab.
The hypocrisy displayed by a society with alcohol abuse issues like ours, where drugs are even hinted at, is laughable. What isn’t, however, is the fact that a young man was/is battling for his sanity and his health.
Ultimately it was a catch 22 because if he was to burn himself out in public, he’d be slaughtered, but as we saw, him seeking hope also led to him being slandered and ridiculed.
ATI is an integral part of our industry and society and since his return he seems to be doing his best to keep it together. I'm sure Batswana at large will be more than happy to consume whatever he's about to drop but during this time I'd like to ask, le kare le rata ATI jang le sa mo ratele botshelo?