Chillstep Sundayís heads for gloomy last step
The largest contemporary urban creation platform developed by Drew Chadhall to find support for and bring attention to young creators in Gaborone is shockingly coming to an end, come December 2019.
Chillstep Sundays is inspired by the roles that creativity and this new generation of creators, fashion enthusiast and fun-lovers play in the transformation of life in our city. Drew shines a light on the living portrait of a new generation of creators that shapes customs, attitudes, lifestyles…This platform is an unprecedented, ambitious project, which has the potential to grow the entertainment industry in Botswana.
Sadly though, the event has reached bedrock. Weekend Life reporter Tlhabo Kgosiemang came across a short, less detailed statement on social media declaring the end of road of this incredible project. The statement posted on the 3rd October at six in the evening reads ‘’December marks the very last Chillstep Sunday’s. Trust that October, November and December editions will be memorable, the shutdown being the most timeless. Join us as we reflect and share a lot on an interesting and fun journey the last four years been. #Thefinalstep. For Chillstep Sunday’s cohorts and allies, this was the hardest pill to swallow. It’s sad but true; there will be no more Chillstep Sunday’s come 2020. Was a miserable slant to end the year, which was somehow off-putting in its own way!
Well, my efforts to reach the mastermind behind Chillstep Sundays Drew Chadhall were successful. I essentially wanted to establish what might be the cause of this tear-jerking involvement, as it is for its aficionados. In an email I sent to him on Monday, the whole essence was to at least give short information for us to share with devotees, so they know. You know, it is very substantial for folks to read and get to comprehend much better what transpired, instead of leaving them dangling with queries. He said in an interview that ‘’Chillstep Sundays has been running independently for the past 4 years, consistently. The movement was created to give youth between 18 and 21 a home to explore and share their talents, network among each other, to celebrate youth in arts, music and most of all a happy and safe place for such a creative youth market. When we started the risky movement, we set the bar extremely high, giving Batswana an event with exceptional standards, the movement has run its course, discovered talent, provided an unforgettable experience and broke boundaries and now it’s time to put it to rest.
What impact would this have on creative? Drew underlined that that there will definitely be a gap in the industry as this was the only platform that whole heartedly gave it’s all to promote and include creative of all sorts, film, fashion, social influence, bikers, visual artists and performing artists. ‘’The youth especially those in the arts rarely had a voice and Chillstep came through and fought a tough battle for them, it’s not only about the fun but most of all building a culture that was somewhat neglected. I doubt creative will ever get a platform like this but I hope for the best’’. Chadhall gave an assurance that Chillstep Sunday’s will never die, saying that the monthly sessions won’t happen anymore. ‘’We will have only two huge sessions a year, in July for the birthday and in December. However, certain aspects of it will remain running, such as the workshops, the meets and greets, art exhibition and merchandise will continue to run. The event is relatively expensive and faces a challenge of finance. ‘’Because we set the standards high the movement got more expensive, it is not often that a monthly movement survives for this long with such high standards and quality delivery, that doesn’t come cheap’’ he said.
Nonetheless, I trailed their page basically to get to appreciate what positive and negative impact the platform has had on our local creative, and the influence it had towards growing the entertainment industry in Botswana. I must say I’m enthralled with the contribution it had towards the industry, it certainly played its role. Chillstep Sunday’s both creatively and socially, provided a unique and vibrant urban framework in which some of the most powerful creator’s values- youth, vitality, creative energy, social transformation, and connectivity- are displayed. It is a reference for creators in and around Gaborone and is a prime example of how new ideas transform social and urban life.
The platform touches three creative environments that are highly relevant vehicles for the new generation of creators, bloggers, fashion enthusiast, photographers, fun-fanatics, social media influencers and young entrepreneurs. These are: contemporary creation, music and urban art. This is a generation of young creators with a new vision, immersed in a digital ecosystem, constantly blending creative environments and in love with creative disruption in all artistic disciplines and formats. Chillstep Sunday’s is a space for cultural and urban creativity and innovation. It is an artistic powerhouse that is mandated to maintain the city in the centre of the current urbanistic trends. Additionally, the platform’s aim of putting local art and creativity on the main stage will help develop economic, urban and social facets. It offers multidisciplinary activities such as photography, visual arts, fashion, food, music and dance. The project promotes artistic hybridisation and helps artists experience different fields. I think it’s only vital not that I take you down the memory lane, and together we get to appreciate the role Chillstep Sunday’s played, in the promotion of urban arts, fashion and food in Gaborone. On the 30th September, just this past month, Chillstep Sunday’s celebrated youth in revolt.
The event was just a token of appreciation to all those young folks who made the platform it is, for the past four years. #Youthinrevolt celebrated the expressive and powerful voice behind Chillstep Sunday’s Mdu the Party, who has been with the platform since say one and continued to grow with the brand. Talk about trustworthiness and suppleness, this is a true definition of it, and I personally laud him for that. He is a rare breed… The Independence Day saw Chillstep Sunday’s celebrating local DJ’s and the event was dubbed Art on Decks. Youth in revolt also featured the freshest fashionista Macc Gee, founder of MaccGee jeans. He shutdown Game City Urban rooftop with his latest offerings, and TV and Radio presenter Lorato Orapeleng was there to witness this noble gesture. Also to note, was stylist Kgosi Rahil, as well as freelance M.U.A and blogger Tyra Molosi.
In its spirit of celebrating women’s month, Chillstep Sunday’s celebrated sister’s in arts, a platform that was free to exhibit art portraits and stalls were for availed at no costs. Held on the first of September, the event saw Dolly the DJ turning it up and providing the most vibes on the 1s and 2s, its either you were there or be told. South African socialite and bubbly artist Moon Child Sanelly was expected to grace the event, but sadly, she did not! Instead, she twitted ‘’so sad to announce that I won’t be making it to the BwChilstep as we had a flat tire in Zeerust and we are safe. I really was looking forward to being back boobeams. I’m truly sorry. Silly! Anyway, local creative turned it up nonetheless. Digital content creator Fifi Mathambo, Founder of YanaTheMovement Yana, radio personality Khumo Kgwaadira and Masego Mohwasa were sisters in arts.
If I recall very well, Chillstep Sunday’s was to launch an online TV station in October last year. The station dubbed Chillstep Live was to be available for viewing on its website, app and social media platforms. The brand was working closely with Media Republic, which was handling the production. ‘’this is a youth-oriented platform that will broadcast a variety of local and international content. At the moment we have a couple of productions that we have in-house. We are also looking forward to seeing young producers submitting their content to us’’ Drew said. We have no doubt that the TV station will soon be launched and they will deliver. Chadhall recently worked with the likes of Bonni Dintwa to bring us an online radio station dubbed ICE100. Well, I do not know if I missed the memo, but Chillstep Live never saw the light of the day, as for ICE100, it melted before we could quench our thirst, or maybe get rid of this heat!
Chillstep Sunday’s is known to be spontaneous and heavy on the element of surprise, each mom=nth is themed and they often surprise people with hosting with hosting movement at an unexpected venue. So far, they have hosted many sessions at The Three Chiefs Monument Park, Zambezi Towers basement, however their home base was Stanbic Bank piazza located at the very artsy Molapo Crossing in the heart of Gaborone. Just few months back, Chillstep found accommodation at the busiest and fanciest malls in town, Game City. The day is much about young creative and tourists experiencing art and culture while serving their taste buds with scrumptious food and refreshments; and into the night is the after party where folks enjoy the captivating sounds of chill step music and sister genres; tropical, dubstep, electro dance, trap, pop and big room.
Well, it is what it is…Chillstep Sunday’s is on its last days, but let’s just hope for the best. It has been a startling four years of fun, virtuous music, great ambience and growth of arts in the country. For that, I would say we are thankful and hope for the full return of Chillstep Sunday’s.
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Dr Lame Pusetso comes to writer‚Äôs rescue
Multi award winning author of fifteen (15) books, Dr Lame Pusetso has put together a platform to empower local writers. Dr Pusetso is a President and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Kasapa Society.
She is also the Managing Director of Poeticblood Publishers and an owner of an online bookstore dubbed Mind and Soul Bookstores. Dr Pusetso has reiterated her commitment to helping upcoming authors, writers and poets in establishing their crafts and capitalizing on them.
In an exclusive interview this week, she said that she has put together a platform dubbed Botswana Literature Awards, which have fourteen categories.
When quizzed on what the awards stand for, Dr Pusetso said ‚Äúwriting as a form of art in Botswana is a skill that many have and have always been exploring. As a publisher, I have met different writers from all walks of life and some indicating that there isn‚Äôt enough motivation to keep going.‚ÄĚ
In Botswana and according to the writer, there has been a limited representation of appreciation of authors. This is despite their efforts year in year out.
The whole intention of these awards really is to honor and recognize the hard work that local authors put in, when doing what they know best (writing).
‚ÄúThis is a way of appreciating their creativity and we will be doing this across all genres. The awards also act as a motivational tool to young writers who still have dreams of becoming best selling authors. Quite frankly, their works are of great importance and we cannot afford to let that slide like that.‚ÄĚ
Dr Pusetso emphasized that all the winners will walk away with an award, a certificate and complimentary gifts to take home. ‚ÄúThe two winners of Best Overall Author and Best Young Author will in addition receive book publication deals which includes book distribution and marketing for a year.
She gave a clearer picture of how authors can be a part of the literature awards.
‚ÄúThe awards are open to every author from the age of 7, must be a Motswana, and their book should have been published before or by 2022. For authors with more than one book, they are allowed to compete with only one book for one category, and different books for different categories.‚ÄĚ
The young writer pinned hope on institutional collaborations, in order to stage the second edition of the awards next year, saying ‚ÄúWe believe with these awards, the different institutions and stakeholders will show interest in helping nurture the literature scenario in Botswana.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt will also give authors hope and light to keep writing and penning down their stories for the benefit of all. We anticipate to host the next edition in 2024 with assistance from all interested parties.‚ÄĚ
THE LITERATURE AWARDS CATEGORIES
Dr Pusetso stressed that there are fourteen (14) categories, and they are: Religious or Faith Based Book, Poetry Book, Children‚Äôs Book, Multi-lingual Writer, Best Collaboration, Setswana Novel, English Novel, Motivational Book, Best Young Author (7-13), Overall Best Author, Best Theory, Best Online Writer, Best Media Writer (Honor Award) and Honor Award (Long Serving Best Author).
EXPLAINING SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Media and Honor Award, Dr Pusetso said are not based on submissions but nomination by the committee. ‚ÄúFor Honor Award, we want to appreciate the individual who has inspired the Botswana writing scenario over the years and even assisted numerous authors as both a writer and a community leader.‚ÄĚ
The Best Media Writer award is meant to appreciate a journalist who is actively taking part in appreciating and helping authors in marketing, advertising and affording them a platform to showcase their works through their writing skills.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Literature Awards will be held on the 29th April and they are partially sponsored through the literacy grant. This is a grant under the Botswana National Library Services which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.
Women‚Äôs Awards hit the ground running
The second edition of the much-anticipated Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana will be going down on the 27th May 2023 in Gaborone at Travel Lodge. The organizers of the prestigious awards have announced finalists, with three nominees per category.
Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana is established to empower women and celebrate them from all walks of life and across sectors. The awards raise awareness for women to be granted equal participation, particularly in decision-making positions, as one way of breaking the gender bias.
They also seek to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women from diverse industries in Botswana. Taking a closer look at the categories, He for She award celebrates and shines a light on men who stand and support women.
These are men who advocate for inclusion of women, men who stand against GBV and men who promote any service that can better women life. Her Abilities award looks into women who have shown determination to keep moving and achieve any goal they have set for themselves, regardless of their disability.
Other awards are self-explanatory. They celebrate women in arts, culture and entertainment, agriculture, creativity, innovation and technology, tourism and hospitality, community impact as well as organization supporting women.
ORGANIZER SPEAKS ON CRITERIA USED
When speaking in an interview, Founder and Director of Women‚Äôs Awards Botswana, Bofelo Zebe, said in their first edition, they had fifteen categories, which was enough for a piloting project.
‚ÄúBut we left out many industries or lines of work. After the event, we received reviews and suggestions, and there was an intensive evaluation that led to us increasing the categories to eighteen for this second edition.‚ÄĚ
He said the nominees were voted in by the public, adding that the finalists were judged by a panel with the support of votes from their supporters.
When shedding light on what winners take home, Zebe indicated that there is an award trophy, certificate and goodie bags for all categories but ‚Äúwe are working to have financial sponsors jump on board so that winners and nominees can receive monetary incentives. We are also busy at work trying to retain our previous sponsors.‚ÄĚ
THE 2023 WOMEN‚ÄôS AWARDS BOTSWANA NOMINEES
HE FOR SHE AWARD
Desmond Lunga, Tlhabo Kgosiemang and Christopher Seagateng
BEST WOMAN IN ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ditshupo Mosoboloko, Thanolo Keutlwile and Seneo Mabengano
HER ABILITIES AWARD
Koketso Seleke, Goabo Kgasa and Mumsie Odirile
SPORTS WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Naledi Marape, Ouname Mhotsha and Keamogetse Kenosi
WOMAN FASHION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Montle Rantatana, Lesedi Matlapeng and Trudy Bakwena
BEST WOMAN IN AGRICULTURE
Nomathemba Masuku, Basadi Molelekeng and Keolebogile Keabetswe
BEST WOMAN IN CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Marang Mbaakanyi, Didintle Moreki and Thandeka Palai
BEST WOMAN IN TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
Masego Keleadile, Wapula Matshambane and Tshepo Phokoje
YOUNG WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Bridget Gothaang, Waone Makobo and Kimberly Matheakgomo
WOMAN OWNED SME BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Suits Africa, Nomlu Nail Bar and Sunflower Desserts
BEST WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS
Prezlin Clothing and Dawn Bell Academy
FEMALE MUSIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko and Priscilla K
BEST ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING WOMEN
Sekao Foundation, The Fighters Support Group and Single Mothers Living with HIV
BEST WOMAN WITH COMMUNITY IMPACT
Lebopo Bulayani, Nanzelela Chaitezvi and Kebadile Wasenda
MEDIA WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Poppy Sello, Keikantse Shumba and Kedi Lezozo
FAVOURITE PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Marang Selolwane, Palesa Molefe and Masi Sithole
BEST WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP
Naseem Lahri, Neo Bogatsu and Lily Rakorong
AMANDA BLACK RETURNS TO SELF WITH NEW SINGLE ‚ÄúNGUWE‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNGUWE‚ÄĚ SETS THE TONE TO HER FORTH STUDIO ALBUM
Johannesburg, Friday, 17th March 2022-¬†‚ÄĚ Amanda Black returns with her signature mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences to deliver an inspirational message of returning to self and self-love ¬†with her new single ‚ÄúNguwe‚ÄĚ .
Available all digital platforms.
The single comes as Amanda ¬†Black gears up to release her forth studio album, featuring new songs with her signature sound infusing R&B Soul and tribal African melodies. As she grows and discovers herself as an individual, a spiritual being and a musician, Amanda is on a journey of self-discovery. The music reflects on the better and more hopeful space she has come to in this journey, the single ‚ÄúNguwe‚ÄĚ ¬†sets the tone and follows the theme of the upcoming album. The music is about falling in love with self¬†, honoring yourself by self-acceptance. The overall theme and message is spiritual reconnection and trusting herself with her music.
Surfacing in 2016, that album was certified platinum a scant three weeks after its release and went on to earn Black numerous nominations and awards – including three South Africa Music Awards, two Metro Awards and a BET International Artist Of The Year nomination.
Most importantly, Amazulu‚Äôs mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences secured Black a devoted fanbase that stretched right across the country. These music lovers quickly embraced her gift for telling authentic coming-of-age African stories through songs that touched on the universal experiences of love and heartbreak, of finding and losing yourself, of having hopes and dealing with fears.
But, in the background, Black was discovering that the road to becoming a fulltime artist wasn‚Äôt easy ‚Äď even one marked by commercial and critical success straight out of the gate.
Of course, when she began singing in church as a child growing up in the Eastern Cape, and even when she studied Music Education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Black never imagined it would all be plain sailing. She knew there was no guarantee that, when she boarded a Greyhound bus headed for Johannesburg, she would return home with a story of success to tell. Too many talented musicians from her home town had made that same journey but had never returned – an experience captured with poignant insight on ‚ÄúBayile‚ÄĚ, one of Power‚Äôs standout tracks.
Still, Black never expected she‚Äôd have to expend so much energy standing up for her artistic rights after she‚Äôd become one of South Africa‚Äôs most popular and awarded artists. There was even a moment when she thought, ‚Äúwhat am I doing this for?‚ÄĚ.¬† ‚ÄúThe music industry is not what it looks like from the outside,‚ÄĚ the 25-year-old says, with just a flash of emotion. ‚ÄúBecoming a singer is not what you imagine. It‚Äôs a lot harder and a lot deeper. At that time, I asked myself, ‚Äėdo you even still love music‚Äô. I truly didn‚Äôt know if I could continue to keep fighting to be treated with respect and fairness. There was a part of me that thought maybe music should just be a hobby ‚Äď that I should just return to that happy place where I play my music and sing, for myself, my family and my community and it feels good.‚ÄĚ
But, in spite of feeling helpless and hopeless at times, deep down Black knew that she still adored this thing called music; that the dream she‚Äôs always had, of doing something that can change the world and heal people, remained intact. And so she went to the one place where she knew she could move through the dark and into the light and start writing music again: home.
‚ÄúMy family is like my compass,‚ÄĚ Black says, her words laced with gratitude and love. ‚ÄúThey are always there to support me, especially my mom. Whenever I go home, it‚Äôs to recharge. I can honestly say that being there is like getting my superpower back.‚ÄĚ
Alongside allowing her to feel the energetic power of her roots and the love of her family, being home enabled Black to make sense of the journey she‚Äôd travelled so far. She‚Äôd learnt to play and write on the guitar at 16 and, as part of reclaiming the purity of her love for making music, she returned to the instrument within the safety of home. ‚ÄúThe sound of the guitar soothes me, and it reminds of when I would write and play music with no conditions, with no expectations,‚ÄĚ she says. Black also began working with the beats and melodies that she has on her phone, freestyling lyrics with no judgement or editing, letting her spirit feel its way forward through singing and playing and imagining.
With a renewed sense of her creative being propelling her, Black returned to Johannesburg. There she embarked on process of making Power and establishing her new label Afro Rockstar, in partnership with Sony Music. Power is a mix of autobiographical songs ‚Äď a highlight is the light-hearted ‚ÄúEgoli‚ÄĚ – and others, like first single ‚ÄúThandwa Ndim‚ÄĚ, that see Black giving impactful voice to the experiences of women in the current socio-political moment.¬† The album features several love songs including ‚ÄúLemme Go‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLove Again‚ÄĚ, and includes the stunning ‚ÄúHamba‚ÄĚ, a song about being thirsty for life, love, hope and happiness that features a chorus sampled from Margaret Singana‚Äôs ‚ÄúHamba Bhekile‚ÄĚ off ‚ÄúShaka Zulu‚ÄĚ.
Power sees Black once more working with producer Christer Kobedi and the album also has a special collaboration with keyboardist and producer, Kenneth Crouch. In the end, it‚Äôs an album of inspiration, of motivation and of integrity. As the next musical calling card of a South African global artist in-the-making, it‚Äôs breath-taking and is poised to bring Black back to where she belongs: performing¬† beautiful music for music lovers everywhere