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Kago Ngwato: Quintessence Lifestyle Blogger to follow in 2020!

Lifestyle bloggers are known by lot of people across the country for their impeccable taste and their eye for all that is beautiful in the world. The most renowned lifestyle bloggers share and inspire audiences on a wide range of topics, including home, travel, family, food, fashion and beauty.

By sharing blog posts inspired by their everyday lives and interests, they are able to appeal to diverse audiences, and come across as relatable and genuine. For these reasons, top lifestyle bloggers have become central components of many brands’ influencer marketing companies. First things first, what is a lifestyle blog? It’s no secret that the blogging world is full of a ton of different niches. Blogs can be made up of financial information, family adventure, lifestyle tips and hacks, and really anything and everything that the blogger wants to write about.

Lifestyle blogs are different than any other type of blog out there. They tend to focus on being a bit more visual and make certain that they are using high-quality images to showcase their activities and interests. If you actually look up the word ‘’lifestyle’’ in the dictionary, it literally means that it’s the way a person or a group lives. Will there be stories told? Yes. Will there be emotions and stories that may get sprinkled in here and there? Maybe…But what differentiates a lifestyle blog from any other type of blogs is that it focuses on interests and activities, and less, on ‘’storytelling’’ or trying to make a personal connection with words and emotions on the reader.

While there can be similarities between a lifestyle blog vs a personal blog, the two are actually quite different. First and foremost, understand 100% and hear me loud and clear- a lifestyle blog is not a personal blog or a place to showcase a diary of your life. When a blog crosses over into personal stories and emotions, it’s now entered into the realm of a personal blog. While there are plenty of popular personal blogs, it’s imperative to understand that they are completely different form a lifestyle blog.

Now, that we’ve got that understood… Don’t get me wrong here. These two blogs are both super successful in the blogging industry. However, if you look at the followers and the engagement from the audience, it’s plain and simple to see that they attract totally different audience and set of followers for each one. Many bloggers use little bits of personal life throughout their blog to incorporate storytelling into any type of blog. Storytelling is a powerful tool to help build a connection with your audience, but only in a personal blog is it the main focus.

Having a lifestyle blog means that your pictures need to ‘’pop’’ and catch the eye, and one way to have that happen is to have them light and bright located randomly all over the blog. If you ready to start your own lifestyle blog, figure out your niche. If you can zone in on what you really want to focus and blog about before you get started, you’re way ahead of the game and you’ll end up saving yourself a ton of time down the road.

Create a killer blog name, I mean there are lots of blogs out there that you’re competing with once you decide to start a blog. Your blog name needs to stand out and make people want to hang out with you and your ideas. Embrace your unique qualities and be different. If you’re too cookie-cutter, you won’t stand out. Enough with tutorials and I know no questions are too big or small, I am here to lend a helping hand but I would love to stop there and dwell on what I initially wanted to write about.

Kago Ngwato is a young man with an unapologetic passion for exploring life. He wears many hats, an enthusiastic multimedia content creator and an entrepreneur. Kago is a social media community manager of various brands he manages on social media by the day and a blogger by the night. In between all of that, he is also completing his Bachelor Degree studies in Economics and Statistics at the University of Botswana. Some kids are amazing!

In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, Ngwato in his own words said ‘’Blogging is an art of sharing your valuable opinion and findings out there with the world to create and engage in meaningful conversations that are hardly had. It is also about sharing your own experiences on a matter at hand. A voice for the voiceless’’

He started his lifestyle blog dubbed ONE-7-ONE that is an inclusive creative’ platform for everyone. This is where creative’s stories of strength, resilience and passion get to be shared and celebrated with Botswana and beyond. This digital platform covers travel, food, fashion, wellness, décor, finances, events and exclusive interviews.

‘’This platform strives to inspire people to live life to the fullest. To showcase the best of the good life and to show people that there is life out there beyond their horizon. Most blogs are personal meaning that they are about a particular person’s life but with ONE-7-ONE it is open for guest writers and contributors. At times people have the knowledge and stories they’d like to share with other people but failing to because of the admin of building up a platform. So ONE-7-ONE is that platform created to showcase creative’ talents from photography to writing. It is inclusive in that people from different walks of live whom are mostly experts, if not, fairly learned in a particular niche, get to share their stories and opinions on a matter at hand. I’d like to believe that, that reduces the bias from depending on one particular person’s opinion and findings all the time’’

When you browse through this revamped platform, you will get to find articles on travel, food, fashion and wellness amongst others. The idea is for ONE-7-ONE to be a portal where one get to learn about life holistically in one place hence there are various niches within the platform, Weekend Life learnt.

Quizzed on what makes a great lifestyle blogger, Ngwato said ‘’It is the one who gives people the content; I mean that’s what they want. It is one whom never leaves people guessing or wondering what else went on. If it’s about your recent adventure, let people know what you were up to, where, why, how and when. If you’re a lifestyle blogger and you recently attended an event, people have to feel like they were there when they read your article or see pictures’’

Well, one may be there wondering how bloggers make some coin. ‘’Money is mostly indirectly made in blogging. One thing for sure is that along the way, as a blogger, you acquire skills like social media management, photography, networking, brand management, writing, risk-taking, being observant, balancing, strategy, time management, planning and analysis. A lot goes into creating content so bloggers get exposed to opportunities surrounding that as they would have already acquired the skill.

Opportunities that in most cases are paying once you’re fully fleshed with regards to acquisition of a particular skill. If you’re entrepreneurial, like I am, you could find yourself handling social media accounts of companies because of the experience, knowledge and skill. That of course is applicable with other skills. You monetize them. Directly, although not fully tapped in Botswana, it could be by collaborating with brands. Uploading sponsored posts that are relatable and relevant to your audience’’ he said

Ngwato had the privilege to attend various top class events in and outside the country. He attended these events through invites, media accreditations and collaborations. ‘’I just returned back home form the South African Fashion Week that was hosted in Johannesburg. Other international events include Mercedes Benz Fashion week, AFI Joburg Fashion Week, DSTV Delicious International Food and Music Festival. Locally, I have attended Collections by BK Proctor launch, Haig Club Whisky launch, Johnnie Walker launch, FNB First Wine Shows, Wesbank Botswana International Air Show, Yarona FM Music Awards as well as The Empire Fashion Shows’’

He however implored Batswana to support the creative industry, saying that there is lot that this industry has to offer. ‘’It is the present and the future that we need to embrace as soon as possible. Some people are sleeping on talents because of the professional landscape we have created as a social norm. So I urge all of us in Botswana to tap into this industry and fully support it. Besides that I am a statistician, it is without doubt that numbers don’t lie. The more we support local talent the more we widen up career and job market ultimately contributing towards economic growth’’

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WeekendLife

A Star is rising

29th June 2021
Star Phalane

Having made his debut appearance in a singing competition, My Star, from 2010 till 2015, Star Phalane has been constantly and effortlessly reaching for the stars.

Who can forget Star’s dance moves and stage presence? Without faltering, he was one of the few contestants one can’t remember to forget, even to this date.

He stood out in his own right, but even with that being the case, he was shamefully kicked out of the Top 10 of the singing contest. He never clinched the grand prize, but that wasn’t much of a big deal because, failure can be a blessing in disguise if more effort is put to it and you have the right mind set.

It is fortunate that the young lad is tenacious and is alive to the fact that every cloud has a silver lining, had it not been for this, we’d not be here celebrating his fighting spirit.

Star has, against all the odds stacked up against him, managed to get his act together and focused his eyes on the ball. Now a jack of all trades, Star has bragging rights to being fashion designer, entrepreneur, MC, choreographer and a singer. He is a force to reckon with, and his works speaks to the versatile creative he is. He doesn’t bite off more than he can actually chew nevertheless.

In an exclusive interview with Weekendlife this week, Star revealed that he is a self-taught fashion designer even though there is a small crop of well-established designers he learns few flairs and elegances from. This form of learning doesn’t cost an arm and a leg unlike enrolling for fashion and design course, we’re not against the lads choice of learning, cause we believe education is not only found in a classroom set up.

“Most fashion designers studied design at school and it is only a small portion including myself that are self-taught. I believe it goes back to individual talents that people are born with. It was upon me to develop and bank on this talent. I leave room for learning from others though, it works in my favour.”

Star’s designs had many prominent public figures salivating and day dreaming about wearing one of his creations. The likes of Annah Mokgethi; Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, socialites such as Vincent Matthys as well as rapper; Baxon, have all line up around the corner to be seen in Star’s creations.

With all the success the young talent has and all the famous and high ranking people after his talent, Star is humble and down to earth. It is probably for this reason that the universe is giving back to the lad tenfold especially after being knocked down so many times in the past. Star doesn’t look down on others nor does that mean he thinks any less of him and the God given talents he has.

“I don’t think my designs are different. I am the one who’s different in a special way and obviously that doesn’t mean I’m better than any other fashion designer. I can also let the cat out of the bag on how to produce better designs. One ought to network and be consistent on their work. This means being able to survive against all odds, it’s a pandemic year and designers should be able to tell a story through their designs,” Star said.

It is not so common in Botswana to find male fashion designs. Stereotypes labelled fashion designing to be female’s hobby if not business. But there are ways to express authenticity and what life has to offer. It can be on paper (sketch), on clothes (designing) or on record (melodic). Star is amongst few male designers resolute to stamp out these pigeon-holes.

Above and beyond fashion designing, Star is also a singer and choreographer. He is not as right as rain, but he definitely leaves a mark once on stage. His incredible moves can be traced back to Mophato Dance Theatre. This dance assemble is the country’s first Afro-fusion and Contemporary dance company, that has been selling Botswana through dance.

The group has performed in New York, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Canada and Japan. Currently a lead dancer and singer with the group, Star is also the company’s costume designer.

“I started off as a professional Latin dancer and a street dancer. Eventually, I was employed by Mophato and subsequently became a member. That was a dream come true. So with time I starred as a lead singer in most of the musical plays the group participated in. It was magical and really motivated me to see a dance group appreciating my skills. I explored my creativity and loving each and every bits.”

Like riding a bicycle, Star never forgot how to sing. Just recently, he was announced as a finalist on the revamped My African Dream singing competition. He told Weekendlife that it wasn’t really smooth sailing as he was against the best talents, but having weathered the storms, the competition was a learning experience. Star is currently working on an Extended Play (EP).
We look forward to the rising star in Star.

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WeekendLife

Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

3rd June 2021
Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

The month of June marks a time of celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year, LGBTQ+ allies and corporate companies joined in the celebration and developed new initiatives to support the vulnerable group. On the 1st of June 2021, Botswana’s diamond mining company, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), launched a new project dubbed the Real You Network.

This is a platform that creates a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ employees to allow them to bring their whole selves to work every day and work to their full potential.

The company stresses and prides its self in coming up with projects that make it the best place for people to thrive in their truest selves, something that is in their inclusion and diversity calendar.

When speaking during the virtual launch of Real You Network, DTCB Senior Human Resources Manager, Stella Moetse said “we will reach success when the talent that we have here in the glass house represents all the different people we have in our society, especially the minorities; and these are people living with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ and not only having them, but in positions of influence and decision making. This will be the true measure of inclusion.”

In September 2017, De beers announced a three-year partnership with United Nations Women; an arm of the United Nations dedicated to Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls.

As part of this partnership, the group committed to taking a holistic and long term approach to promoting gender equality within the business and communities. DTCB says, the commitment in its group has gone beyond gender to create an inclusive workplace for all.

“Because of this commitment to promote and support an inclusive workplace, DTCB which is part of the De Beers group resolved to be inclusive in its approach. As a result, we have elevated inclusion and diversity to Board level reporting. We promote awareness through training our employees on identified inclusion and diversity topics such as anti-bullying and harassment, unconscious bias and inclusive hiring.”

Moetse applauded and appreciated the role that advocacy groups for LGBTQ+ play in pursuit of their rights in society, indicating that it is not an easy task for them to given societal orientations. “It is commendable however, how they are constantly challenging us to break down any preconceptions, removing structural and societal barriers and biases.”

Technical Services Senior Manager, Prudence Mabua, shared the same sentiments, saying that LGBTQ+ persons face obstacles when it comes to accessing many of their rights, including their right to social protection.

The Real You Network, will allow for an environment of openness and promote a culture of a fully inclusive network open to all colleagues regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, she said.

“Through events such as this one, our vision is to continue creating platforms that allow for employees and individuals to share lived experiences as this is key in increasing understanding, tolerance and acceptance,” Mabua highlighted.

“There is significant ignorance and resistance to the reality of the existence of LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. While people may not have the intention to be homophobic, the language they use is often offensive. This increases the fear of coming out as people are scared of being subjected to judgement and discrimination.”

Uncovering the main objectives of the Real You Network, Mabua stressed that the platform will enable DTCB to be visible in its consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters and allegiance of the community, hold conversations to sensitize its workforce on LGBTQ+ inclusion and challenge policies and procedures as well as attracting and retaining qualified people of the LGBTQ+ community.

Further, the Network will focus on sustainability and accountability, by achieving continuity by treating inclusion and diversity as a culture not events. It will also focus on acceptance of diversity and ensuring zero discrimination culture within the organization.

Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2020 by Asher and Lyric indicates that most African countries still criminalize and stigmatize LGBTQ+ practices. These countries are anti-homosexuality and protection of LGBTQ+ person’s rights is minimal.

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Maldives, Uganda, Iran, West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Oman, Malawi, Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are some of the countries of the world which criminalizes homosexuality. Nigeria is the only country in the world with cruel treatment of LGBTQ+ persons.

In Nigeria, homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison, and at most times the death penalty. In some of these countries, discussions of LGBTQ+ rights and gender expression are criminalized, flogging can occur for cross dressing, and homosexual intercourse receives 6 months to 3 years in prison.

Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are sometimes barred, imitating the opposite sex can result in prison time and buggery receives up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.

Nonetheless, there are other countries (mostly from the West) which promote and protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries legalized same-sex marriages, protect the community against discrimination, criminalizes LGBTQ+ violence, implement transgender legal identity laws and are safe places for LGBTQ+ persons to live in.

These are: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, France, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the United States.

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WeekendLife

Botswana fades away from Miss Universe pageant

17th May 2021
MISS-UNIVERSE-2013-Tirelo

Botswana once had a story love affair with the world’s biggest premium beauty pageant, Miss Universe. This was in 1999 when Botswana’s first representative at Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, effortlessly snatched the title.

It was every contestant’s beautiful dream to wear the crown, but winning at first entry was implausible if not magical. Kwelagobe made the country contented, and history was made. Taking a closure significant look at her performance at the Miss Universe held at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, Kwelagobe battled it out on and off stage with 84 contestants and showed them dust. She was in the Top 5 spot with South Africa, Venezuela, Philippines and Spain. There are countries which snatch the Miss Universe title every year.

Miss Universe 2019 was a South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Mpule Kwelagobe scorecard looked pretty remarkable. She scored 9.05 out of 10 on her interviews, 9.18 swimsuit, 9.36 evening gown, semi-final average 9.19 and 9.48 on the Top 5 question. These results were good enough to earn her the crown.

However, over the years (since the crowning of Mpule Kwelagobe), Botswana has been fading away from participating at the Miss Universe. Between 2002 and 2003, the country did not participate in Miss Universe but in 2004, the country sent a winning title of Miss Universe Botswana to Ecuador, Miss Universe 2004.

In 2010, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group: an international entertainment and fashion company domiciled in Botswana took over the Miss Universe Botswana pageant after a six-year absence. Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana 2010, and represented the country in Las Vegas on August 23. As it is right now, Ramasedi is the only former Miss Universe queen still keen in having her name shine out there: she works closely on projects aimed at empowering women and young girls.

Sadly so, 2013 was the last time Botswana participated in Miss Universe. After five years of not participating at Miss Universe pageant, the first Miss Universe Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe took over the franchise. The winner selection of Miss Universe Botswana 2019 was to remark Botswana to Miss Universe 2019, however, was cancelled.

2019 marked another possible six years since Botswana lacked participation in Miss Universe. This drastic zero participation in this premium beauty competition paved way for our neighbours South Africa to sail smoothly at the competition. Zozibini Tunzi became an instant global queen and everyone’s favourite after displaying intelligence, poise and taking up space to be crowned Miss Universe 2019.

The pageant was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. This will be the third time in the history of the competition in which the event will be held after the calendar year has ended: this previously occurred during Miss Universe 2014 and Miss Universe 2016 (in which Botswana was not participating).

Miss Universe Organization announced early this year that the competition would be held on May 16 2021, at Seminole Hard rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States. Zozibini Tunzi will crown her successor at this competition.

Botswana, will not be participating at the Miss Universe 2020, again. The weakening Miss Universe Botswana has been attributed to by internal fights within the organization. But why participate at Miss Universe?

The Miss Universe Organization is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.

Women participate annually to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models. The delegates and titleholders that have participated in the MUO system are able to cultivate their personal, professional and philanthropic goals. These women are forward thinking and motivated not just talk about change, but to initiate it.

Prominent beauty pageants analyst in Botswana Morekolodi Smith took Weekendlife in an exclusive interview that it has been so many years of absence from participating at Miss Universe, and this shows that Botswana lacks consistency and commitment.

“The franchise holders fail to host a national pageant. I think they should hand over the license to Miss Botswana Organization because it hosts the pageant annually. Then the winner gets to participate in both Miss World and Miss Universe. They can maybe crown two representatives. Botswana has faded away from Miss Universe platform and fans have forgotten about it,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

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