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All Kasi turns 19!

Native clothing label All Kasi has established itself as a reputable brand, started from humble origins and quickly breaking outside the confines from which they were founded.

This brand has grown in leaps and strides and its name is a signifier for authenticity and originality in the industry. After starting with a low-key line of T-shirts and caps, subsequently the brand’s house line became so popular that it decided to work on incorporating a foundation.  This past weekend, All Kasi celebrated 19 years of existence. It was hip and happening at Lobatse Old Stadium…revelers dressed on All Kasi merchandise, I swear I am the only one who missed the memo.
Fun lovers got to enjoy variety of activities that were lined for the day. Football fanatics were treated to a five-aside football tournament that took entirely the whole day.

Over 8 Lobatse football teams took part in this exciting tournament. The children were not left out; they were actually given priority as they had to pave way for elders to enjoy themselves after hours. Face painting, jumping castle as well as TV games were availed for kids to enjoy the historical event. It was all exciting and hilarity as clowns kept the progenies amused all day with their trivial puns! During the course of the diurnal, partygoers were enthralled by sounds of local dancehall artistes. It was more of an astonishment to actually comprehend that there are home-grown creatives who are so good at dancehall, the genre is not so prevalent in the country, but they conveyed perfectly well nonetheless.

Upon arrival at the gate, and once done with identifiers and paraphernalia, I was treated to a VVIP marquee. Not that it was my first time, but it was incredible. The ambience, the nutriment, the people and the entire atmosphere was on point. The VVIP had the chance to mingle with artistes, share some laughter’s and exchange numbers. You know some of these folks need artistes for business networks, some help with marketing as they score tenders to work as influencers. The MC’s of the day, Scar and T.H.A.B.O were not as monotonous as they are on radio. At least, they managed to persuade the crowd to come a little closer, and get to dance to the beats. Some of the invited artistes who I believe were striking and gratified party animals prospects, are MMP Family, Eskimos as well Mosako.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on the sidelines of the celebrations, Founder and Managing Director of Tsa Gae Limited, the company that makes All Kasi Lorato Kemoeng said the clothing was inspired by young urban Batswana at the turn of the millennium, when globalization was a buzz word, and there was a lot anxiety over the beckoning globalization. ‘’We wanted to make a brand that could celebrate Botswana, who were are and where were are from amidst the global crowd. Young urban Batswana were silently begging for such a brand, and that yearning caught our attention and inspired our imagination. It was easy for us to realize the need for such a brand because it was our need too. We all wanted this thing that was not readily available, and also we had to create it ourselves. So All Kasi started out as a solution to a perceived identity crisis among the urban youth, for whom I was way easier to find and buy a New York shirt or Los Angeles cap than a Gaborone hat or shirt’’ he said.

He however noted that it was not an easy task getting the brand off the ground. ‘’It was rough, not an easy thing to get it down and going. We stayed committed to it and I was a young man fresh out of Varsity and great ideas came easily, so I did not give the brand the seriousness it deserved at the beginning, even though it had made an instant impression with the market. At that time, it was more about doing what made me happy and what I found exciting, than it was about building a long-term business. I overcame that when a friend met at Varsity, who was starting a football publication with some of his friends, and wanted me to design it, pointed out to me that the All Kasi project had great potential and was something worth exploring further’’

For a brand to penetrate the industry, Kemoeng noted that a brand should invest in the community and in patience. He stressed that all businesses exist to meet a need within a community or a particular market, saying that it is from the sustained meeting of these market needs that the brand gains relevance and significance to the market. Further, he underlined that patience plays a critical role in the development of the brand, saying often people start something good because it made sense to tem after thinking about it for some time. ‘’People start it, and when it does not go as they had thought it would go, they abandon it to start something else that makes newer sense, something that excites them more. Then it becomes a circle of laying a foundation here, and then abandoning it, to lay a foundation elsewhere. Building a brand requires a great deal of consistency because a brand is like an unspoken promise to the marker. Any new brand is nothing more than just potential, a promise of greatness, greatness which can only be realized through consistent branding, and branding is nothing more than consistently living up to the brand promise, consistently delivering whatever solutions the brand promises, thereby corroborating the brand’s character, identity and reputation in the market community’’

He highlighted that football in particular, and sports in general, have been the biggest marketing platforms for All Kasi, allowing the brand to engage with the market and serve it at a more intimate level. Kemoeng said before jumping into sportswear in 2008, All Kasi had already made a great impression in the casual wear space, but was struggling to find a distribution or retail arrangement that could move the numbers that the company was trying to move. ‘’When we started making sportswear for the general public in 2012, the direct demand for our products increased immediately. The fact that most sports are team activities helped with the numbers. Sports also has passionate supporters who would support any brand that is fervent about their sport code, team or club. It is this shared passion that we always strive to nurture with our partners in the sporting world and beyond’’

He indicated that they have started a foundation, All Kasi Foundation in which they intend to do more for the community and charity work throughout Botswana. ‘’AS you may be aware, community upliftments and social partnerships have always been a bigger part of our youthful company’s business, and throughout our history, we have partnered with many organizations and lent a hand tom various causes throughout the country. A few of our interventions were large and public, but the majority of them were direct and private. Meanwhile, All Kasi has been identified as one of the top most-admired brand sin the country alongside international brand, Nike. According to the recent research, All Kasi clinched the title of the nation’s favorite brand, as sportswear both locally and internationally dominates.

GeoPoll, which recently launched its services in the country, is a mobile engagement platform that works with global brands, media houses and NGOs to facilitate data collection around the world.
 

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WeekendLife

Han C wins big at the YAMAs

5th October 2021
Han-C

Once again, Hanceford Magapatona emerged the biggest winner with ease at the 7th Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs) this past weekend. Famously known as Han C in the music industry, the 27-year old self-taught singer and songwriter snatched the titles of YAMAs People’s Choice Artist of the Year and Best Male single for his all-time hit ‘Padi padi’. 

Han C did not go home empty-handed as there were good monies for each category, courtesy of First National Bank Botswana, Mascom and Now TV. The two prestigious awards earned him P60 000 and P25 000 each, making him the biggest winner of the night.  After being announced as the winner under the Best Male Single, Han C took to social media to express his serenity about the achievements. He said, “words cannot explain how I feel right now, but all I can say is thank you much to the people who have been showing us love and support.

Special shout out to Yarona FM for giving us this platform to showcase our talents and creativity. I also would love to give a special shout out to all the sponsors for making this happen. We appreciate all of you.” When getting his People’s Choice Artist of the Year award, Han C showed deference to artists nominated with him under this category. Even though they could not go home with the prize, Mahalapye-born acknowledged that they are equally artistic. “Getting a nomination for this award is quite an achievement on its own, mainly because you are nominated alongside brilliant, amazing good artists—a special shout out to my team. We put in the work; I think we should continue doing so.

PREVIOUS AWARDS NOMINATIONS 

Han C’s hard work and dedication have garnered him recognition in the local scenes. And it would look suspicious if he didn’t get an accolade or two. In 2018, he was nominated YAMAs Artist of the Year, Best Male Artist, and Song of the Year (Mafurafura), Best Collabo (Mafurafura) and Best Dance Single (Mafurafura). In 2016, he was nominated for Song of the Year (SediLaaka) and Best Collaboration (SediLaaka). He won Best New Artist in 2016, Artist of the Year (2018) and Best Dance Single 2018.

MOTSETSEREPA LOSES ALL NOMINATIONS

Local comedian-turned musician Bofelo William Molebatsi, known as William KRM Last saw dust at the recently held 7th YAMAs. After being the most nominated artist, William Last did not go home with any of his nominated awards.  He was nominated under: People’s Choice Award of the Year category, won by Han C, Song of the Year taken home by La Tonde and Names, Best Male Single (Han C), Best Hip-hop (snatched by Ozi F Teddy) as well as Best Social Media (Mjamaica).

He, however, took to social media to share the devastating news, which came as a slapping blow right on his face. “Wow! Whenever I think of the huge success of my Amara Willian album, I always cry happy tears. I celebrate and thank God for where he has brought me to with all this big brand success. This is especially through the greatest love from my supporters/fans all over. They are a million followers of my brand and the views that I always get on my daily posts all over my social media platforms. These big numbers scream love and appreciation to me so loud. I appreciate the love and support; God bless.”

OTHER YAMAS 2021 WINNERS

Peoples’ Choice Song of the year was awarded La Tonde and Names for their song ‘Dibulele’. YAMAs 2021 Inductee to the Yarona FM Hall Of Fame was the late Sasa Klaas. Sasa Klaas died in a helicopter crash on March 5th 2021, near Sojwe. She was an all-around musician mostly known for her hip-hop culture.

Producer of the year was snatched by MB on the Beat, while Boipelo Seleke scooped the YAMAs 2021 Icon award. Seleke went home with P25 000 while MB on the Beat only earned himself P10 000. The new Mokaragana hostess Girly left the YAMAs as the new awardee of Best Female Single for her song ‘BMW’. Best Amapiano went to Deejay Bino’s ‘Touch’ featuring the late Sasa Klaas, Rasun and Da QuTness.

Further, Lloyd BW and Priscilla K’s ‘Have You Ever’ won Best Dance Single, while Best Collaboration was won by FlyBoi Que featuring Jordan MoOzy and FME Luther October on their hit ‘Ndeya’. Ozi F Teddy also made a debut appearance of the YAMAs nominations and snatched Best Hip Hop for his song ‘Negotiate’, where he features Murda.

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WeekendLife

BOMU clears trending misconceptions

21st September 2021
BOMU President Phemelo Lesokwane

Almost every year, Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) attracts hullabaloo over its annual music awards. This time around, it was not only that. There has been much noise around compliance, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development involvement in the affairs of this organisation, as well as the contentious sponsorship from the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS).

Following a four-year hiatus, BOMU awards found themselves being the talk of the town due to unfair practices some artists claim clouded the non-complying organisation. These are serious accusations that BOMU has since rubbished as deliberate actions intended to tarnish its reputation.

Some disgruntled artists recently took to the streets to protest against these practices. However, these are not subscribing members of BOMU. Before being cut short by the Police, these artists demanded that the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Tumiso Rakgare step down immediately. They claim that Rakgare has failed his mandate.

On the other hand, they demanded that the Youth Ministry reverse the P500 000 it has splashed on the BOMU awards, and the money be split among artists. A lead protester in these activities, Rhumba artist General Tuco, told Weekendlife that BOMU management should halt the awards and instead clean the organisation’s dirty laundry.

He further indicated that they would be dropping a petition at the DBS offices, urging the group to revoke the P1.5 million sponsorship it has awarded BOMU. Because these discontented artists claim that BOMU is non-compliant, they will also be marching to the Registrar of Societies to express their grievances.

In an interview this week, General Tuco said they are still engaging their attorney to formalise their protest and give them a way forward. The Police deny them a permit to hold their rally. According to information gathered last week, the artists were arrested and released the same day and asked to apply for a protest permit.

BOMU PRESIDENT SPEAKS

BOMU President Phemelo Lesokwane told a media member on Wednesday that “We have seen people on social media dragging our name on the mud as BOMU. They say we are non-compliant, corrupt and unfair. When we get to see who these people are, they are not our members. They call themselves artists, but as legalised agents of artists in Botswana, we do not know them, neither do we know what they are talking about. We condemn these acts.”

Lesokwane rubbished allegations that BOMU is not compliant. “We see journalists giving these guys who masquerade as artists more prime time for them to tarnish our name. But they do not have the evidence. BOMU is compliant, and we have all the documents. We also have verified documents from the Registrar of Societies, who are our key stakeholders.”

Talking about being backbitten, Lesokwane claims that government officials from the Registrar of Societies are promoting what unregistered artists are making noise about in the corridors. Some of these officers fed the Youth Minister Rakgare wrong information about BOMU. BOMU has much work to do in-house.

Further, Lesokwane revealed that when they took over the office, BOMU was mugged some of its finances. Investigations are ongoing to retrieve such monies, he said. As if that is not enough cleaning, Lesokwane has a headache dealing with another faction dubbed BW Artists, which represents artists in the Northside of the country.

“If you could look into the management of this organisation, you would question their interests. Two of them are politicians. Once they fail primary elections, they come back into the music industry and cause chaos. I always say I am going to fight with everything I have together with my team to make sure that we protect artists in Botswana.”

JOURNALISTS FINGERED IN THE BOMU MESS

BOMU President Lesokwane has accused journalists of being biased and unfair to his organisation. He stressed that BOMU depends on members of the press to help rebuild the dying Botswana music industry. “Most articles about our artists speak negatively about them. Foreign artists are always given priority instead of our local artists, but we value journalists as our equally significant stakeholders. We can grow this industry together.”

These media reports, Lesokwane said, have forced stakeholders to withdraw their sponsorships towards the BOMU awards, slated for October 2021. At times they are required to answer for hearsays that are not accurate. He reiterated that BOMU has nothing to hide as it is compliant.

BOMU MUSIC AWARDS CONSULTANT SPEAKS

BOMU Music Awards Consultant Seabelo Modibe has been topping the charts for a long good time. His appointment as a consultant was notorious as critics felt his company was relatively premature at the time of appointment.

He joined the BOMU get-together at the time the awards were still distressed by the hubbub. Many asked if he would manage the heat, but clearly, Modibe is having a hard time. He, however, stressed that BOMU is open to criticism.

“Lot of people say BOMU has been given money to waste. That is not precise. It has sold its product, its broadcasting rights. They were sold for P1.5 million to the DBS. Our contract is for a year, and we will be going back to them in December. MYSC has acquired what we call commercial rights. These are rights that someone buys to promote their mandate. MYSC seeks to promote local music using BOMU awards.”

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WeekendLife

Bold and Golden

15th September 2021

Mpho Donald was undoubtedly the IT girl of the then tedious beauty industry. She loved looking pretty and smelling good. Of course, this is every girl’s dream, but making a living out of it doesn’t flash into many of these girls’ dreams.

Besides, it used to be a lot more common for the majority of entrepreneurs to be male in the past. However, in recent years the number of female entrepreneurs in the world has been on the rise. She is from a family of business-minded people. Both parents were entrepreneurs, but that is not why Donald is a powerful woman in this entrepreneurial space. At one point, life threw lemons at her, and she made lemonade.

At the age of 38, Donald has been to South Africa more than once. These frequent hazardous trips at the time were to acquire secret elements into being a real hustler. She would get robbed, risk being raped or hijacked, but she survived.

“At one point, life got too difficult to an extent where I found myself doing piece jobs for other people just so I earn something to buy toiletry, food and clothes even. I did laundry, and in the entire process, I got tired. I had to think about business, and it was easy because I come from a line of people who believe in trading. Somehow I got motivated, but I never wanted to work for anyone in life.”

Before embarking on shadowing missions in South Africa, Donald would go around the capital city, hunting for customers. Kgale Mews, Commerce Park are urban offices for various companies, but this did not restrict her from knocking, selling makeup, jewellery and accessories.

She was known for this particular hustle in all the offices. Some people will get exhausted because of her irritating products, but that did not stop her from acquiring a tiny spot in Main Mall. She pitched her gazibo, and her next items on display were plus size women’s outfits. These women are often overlooked, especially on beauty pageantry. The controversial Miss Plus Size Botswana pageant never saw the light of the day ever again.

“I guess that was after I saw the pains of plus-sized women when it came to shopping for something to wear. Being a plus-size woman made it easy for me to penetrate this space. I modelled all my clothes and advertised them on social media.”

Social media opened many doors for so many entrepreneurs. Donald can attest to that. She told Weekendlife that “People started coming in to buy both makeup and the clothes. Then, later on, I started selling second-hand clothes and while at it, I moved to my first shop. I think for me taking risks has never really been any scary because I convinced myself that in any case, I fall, I will rise again.”

“So I went boldly into everything that I could do at the time. I would travel to South Africa to places I never knew. I got my stock there, and even when I got robbed, I knew I would eventually reach my destination. It surely wasn’t an easy walk in a park, but I persevered,” she said.

From her mini boutique, Donald went full force into buying and supplying second-hand clothes. “As the COVID-19 lockdowns hit us, I was busy at work pushing the idea on mini bails and second-hand clothes. So it came down to my mind that I have to know what to sell in which season. It was a trial and error kind of hustle, but once you get a grip of it, you begin to sail smoothly.”

Donald currently supplies small businesses across the country. She gets to enjoy a good relationship with her customers, who are in other countries even. “It took me much effort, commitment and loyalty to be where I am today. I guess I could now boldly say that hard work is beginning to pay off. I have started knocking on bigger doors for partnerships, and I believe that if I can get them, beauty plus size clothing will be elevated to the next level.”

Mpho Donald is originally from Serowe. She studied her O and A-levels in Zimbabwe at the Specis College. Still, in Zimbabwe, she enrolled and qualified as a Travel and Tourism expert. She said in an interview that she will be venturing into other hustles too but couldn’t reveal which ones now. Donald is optimistic that everything will be ready and served in 2022.

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