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Chillstep Sunday’s 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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WeekendLife

The King’s journal 

23rd November 2021
Kgafela Kgafela II

This book is a true-life story of an African King based in South Africa. The Last Frontier is a resistance stand by Bakgatla Ba Kgafela tribe and its line of Kings from 1885 against a dark force called ‘western democracy’ that is insidiously destroying lives, peoples, nations and threatens to wipe away whole civilizations in Africa.

The story flows through four important episodes of history, beginning in about 1885 when Bechuanaland Protectorate was formed. This section briefly reveals interactions between Kgosi Linchwe 1 and the British Colonial Government, leading to the establishment of Bakgatla Reserve by Proclamations of 1899 – 1904.

The second episode deals with Kgosi Molefi’s interaction with the British Colonial Government in the period of 1929-36. The third episode records Kgosi Linchwe II’s interactions with the British Colonial Government and black elites of Bechuanaland. It covers the period of 1964-66, leading to Botswana’s independence. Kgosi Linchwe ii resisted the unlawful expropriation of his country (Bakgatla Reserve) by Sir Seretse Kgama’s government of 1966 to no avail. He wrote letters of objection (December 1965) to Her Majesty the Queen of England, which are reproduced in this book.

The fourth episode covers the period between Kgafela Kgafela II’s crowning as King of Bakgatla in 2008 to 2021. It is a drama of the author’s resistance to the present-day Botswana Government, a continuation of Bakgatla Kings’ objection against losing Bakgatla country to the Kgama dynasty assisted by the British Government since 1885. The story is told with reference to authentic letters, documents, and Court records generated during the period of 1885-2019. There is plenty of education in history, law, and politics contained in The Last Frontier for everyone to learn something and enjoy.   

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WeekendLife

Gospel concerts make a comeback

16th November 2021
Bishop Benjamin Dube

Hailed for being the prime gospel concert after the Covid-19 pandemic had put events to a halt, Golden Relic, in conjunction with Sweet Brands, recently unveiled the Arise and Worship Concert, Botswana. The show marks the return of worshippers and fans to enjoy music and worship together after what seemed like “cooler box” events were taking over the entertainment scene. 

The concert to be held on December 11th 2021, at the Molapo Showcase, has a packed lineup with the Headlining acts being Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela from South Africa and Botswana’s very own Obakeng Sengwaketse. More international acts from Nigeria and Ghana are also expected to grace the event. The show organizers have invested an effort in diversifying the lineup with live performances. 

The promoter of the Arise and Worship Concert, David “DVD” Abram revealed in an overview of the event that; “We have lost a lot of loved ones this year, and when that happens, one’s spirit goes down, and we need a light to ground us once more, to heal our souls. Therefore, the two main purposes of this event are to do the work of God and, secondly, to make sure that we nurture and develop talent in Botswana. With challenges that come up with events of such magnitude, the team and I have been committed to seeking guidance from God through having night prayers.” 

Abram added that as promoters, they usually have a bias towards already established artists, thus neglecting the upcoming ones and wanting to change that. “We approached the Melody Gospel TV Show since we aim at nurturing new talent and agreed on having one of the winners as a headliner for the event to allow them to share the stage with gospel giants so that they are exposed to the industry. This resulted in securing the Second Winner of the Melody Gospel TV show; Thabiso Mafoko as a local headlining act.”

The concert also aims at celebrating a Motswana. Multi-Award Winner; with the most recent title; BOMU Best Traditional Gospel under his belt, also best known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Obakeng Sengwaketse enthusiastically said, “I want to thank the organizers of the Arise and Worship concert, it means a lot to me after recently winning two awards that are currently the highlight of my career.

I regard this as a great revival because the Covid-19 pandemic has muffled events such as this. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with the great Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and more artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Sengwaketsi urged Batswana to come and witness the greatness of the Lord as their lives will never be the same.”

Tickets are selling like fat cakes with VVIP tickets having only five tickets remaining; the VVIP tickets include rounder access backstage to all the performing artists. The event will also comprise a seated Gold Circle Ticket, which accounts for 50% of revellers to allow for easier enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and avoid a potential stampede.

In a bid to entice merrymakers to buy tickets, the promoters have come up with a layby strategy and buying tickets on an instalment basis for the attendees to be able to buy their tickets since the COVID-19 Pandemic has left many Batswana in financial ruin but having the interest to attend the event.

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WeekendLife

Fame vs Mental health

9th November 2021
Lizibo

One can only imagine what is like being in the public eye. It is not a walk in the park; and not as easy as people might think it is because of the pressure from the public. Celebrities or influencers are perceived to be perfect, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect parents, financially stable, healthy, and always smiling and patient with everyone – Is this for real?

However, when people’s expectations of celebrities are not met, the same celebrities are often victimized, body shamed, or blamed, fairly or unfairly. As a result of them not having a personal life, they are often scrutinized in all aspects of their lives; their lives are aired for the public to see and judge. Celebrities are often extra careful about everything that they do, they have to go an extra mile as compared to how ordinary people live their lives.

To understanding this experiences by public figures, this reporter made a case study of Mr Lizibo Gran Mabutho, the firstborn in his family with only one sibling, his younger brother. Lizibo describes himself as a simple Kalanga guy who was chosen by music and did not choose music.

He said being raised by his mother and grandmother, he grew up surrounded by music from birth. Lizibo said his grandmother was a religious person who held church services at their house in Zwenshambe, “for me singing was from Monday to Sunday. I was not like any ordinary child who only sang at church on Sundays or sometimes in school assembly, for me it was a daily thing. My mother was also a talented dancer in our village that is what I mean when I say I did not choose music, but music chose me.”

Lizibo said though he grew up surrounded by music, it was hard for his parents to accept the path he has chosen to be a musician. Lizibo said he had to prove to his parents that music was his passion and that it could pay the bills like any other profession. He said eventually they saw his passion for music and supported him.

Lizibo said being exposed to music from a tender age made him venture into the music career from a tender age. He said he was part of the Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete (KTM) choir, Lizibo said being in the public eye for the longest time has taught him that he is living for the people and that he does not have a life. He said the very society that is watching him has so much expectation for him and that means he has to conduct himself in a good manner because people are looking up to him.

Lizibo said he understands the saying that great power comes with great responsibility, “when people see me, they see a role model. I realize and understand that people are and have been modelling me even when I was not aware of it, I know of six mothers who have named their sons after me because they felt that I inspire them somehow.”

He said he has accepted his fate that he will never have a normal life because people are looking unto him. He said he is grateful to be in the public on a positive note by bringing hope to the people because he has always wanted to be part of people’s solutions and not their problems.

He said, “people should understand that our careers are our calling. One needs to be spiritually connected to their calling as an artist. The most rewarding part about being in the public for me is not about payment but about being the solution to someone’s problem.”

Lizibo said the greatest challenge that he has ever faced about being in the public eye has been the issue of trust, not able to know which friends are genuine and which ones are not. He said as a way of avoiding fake friends he has always kept his four close friends who have been there for him through thick and thin. Lizibo said being close to his family has also helped him as they have been his strength when things were not going well for him, “most of the time people say we change when we taste fame. That is not necessarily true because people are the ones who changed when we became famous. People always want something from us, nothing is ever genuine with people and that is why I chose to keep my circle very small.”

Lizibo said as much as he travels a lot because of the nature of his work because it is naturally demanding, he said he always ensures that he creates time for his family. He said that at home he is Lizibo who is sent to do errands, he is Lizibo the son, not a celebrity.

He said there is a lot of pressure that comes with being in the spotlight, “the public puts so much pressure on us mostly about the material lifestyle they portray us to have. We are often compared with South African celebrities, but people fail to understand that we are two different countries. Most people fell into the trap and are living above their means resulting in them living in debt. I often tell youngsters not to fall into that trap of being tempted to live life above their means.”

The advice Lizibo gave to upcoming celebrities was that they should know that being in the public is not about them, but it is about the people. He said, “one of my mentors once asked me if I make music about myself or the people. He said I need to make music for the people because it is my responsibility to feed them with what they need, he said they might not even be able to know that they have a need but that I need to identify that need and meet it. Our responsibility is to serve people what they need, our music is to feed people’s hunger. My music is about love, I feed people love.”

Lizibo said it is important for celebrities to seek counselling and take care of their mental health, he said he has been investing in his mental health for years because he understands the importance of mental health especially when one is in the public.

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