Close to 73 pairs of feet traversed the cold pans of Makgadikgadi in a bitter sweet experience of an arduous exhilarating walk. Many started the walk with mixed reactions; while some even toyed with the idea of quitting the march before it started.
Our walk was launched at the dry village of Mosu, located South of Sua Pan – the Eastern half of Makgadikgadi Pan, where we were warmly welcomed by the area’s Chief. While gathering around a bonfire, the village Chief taught us about the village and the plains before telling us about all the activities to unfold before us the next day.
Still filled with the salty soils village amazement, we lodged 2km away from the interiors of Mosu where we placed our comfortable beds on the plains of the salt pans with the beauty of the stars overlooking our tents through the night. The following morning came with an adventure of our lives, where we were expected to travel almost half of our 100km milestone. We were to embark on a 48 km walk to Lekhubu Island, some of us it was our first long stroll.
While first timers were dragging themselves 48 kilometers to the islands, a journey which started in the early hours of the morning, regular walkers embarked the dry surface at a faster pace. While trying to brave on and keep up, I walked a little faster towards the many backs that faced me and marched against the heels kicking white soil towards my face. It was also a bit scary as one walks across the pans towards what looks like approaching an earth dead end.
On the flip side I was captivated by nature’s offering as I gazed the unusual beauty of the sun emerging from below the surface of the plain. The strange sunset experience was not enough for my trickled imagination; I was now walking as if one is on a trance or some dreamy sensation. I began to see strange things as if I am delusional. Juxta visuals of cattle grazing ahead were coming into my sight and what looked like brown soil.
Someone had to wake me up from my sleep walk and told me that the cattle I saw were trees on the other side. As I was looking forward to my encounter with the brownish soil, not the white surface we were walking on, I was disappointed when I was told that my eyes were playing games with my mind-it as it was actually scotched grass.
While waking up from my adventurous hallucinations, the walk was now becoming an eyesore as I began to march on in exhaust. My lower limbs became stiff, knees shaky and weaker-the walk was now a thorn on my flesh. Just after the 6.5 km of the 48 km, a quad bike from the organizers’ emergency team came to my rescue as it carried me back to Mosu. I returned with much anguish as did not finish my first biggest adventure. A journey to Lekhubu was awaiting and I was carried from the Mosu camp to the precious island situated inside the white salt pans.
Though I failed to brave on the other day, that 6.5km lap was akin to my ‘training’ because I then felt ready and propelled to stride the next 18 kilometers challenge that was on offer, being from Lekhubu to the historical sites of the area. Lekhubu Island was the Creator’s best show; a small slice of scotched vegetation and hills, something that we never came across while walking on the white dry plains. We also heard of the animal life that could be seen in rarity on the island, Lekhubu is also said to be a renowned breeding ground for migratory birds such as flamingos.
The following day while taking my 18 kilometer expedition from Lekhubu, I walked with a more lifted spirit while we encountered some of the historical places in the Makgadikgadi Pans. We even met the world’s second largest tree, Mowana (baobab) as we passed with the guidance of our friendly tour guide Lebogang Bathusang.
The Stone Wall
The most interesting place that we sighted on our journey was a strange wall built with rocks on a granite hill, erected in the Southern African history of the Mfecane wars. It is said that during the times of the Ndebele’s King Mzilikazi who was fleeing away from Shaka Zulu and conquered other tribes he found along the way, some kings were forced to build walls or barriers as protection against the fierce and wrath of the Ndebele nation. We were told that is how the wall in the granite hill came to be.
Another exotic feature that captured my attention was a cave said to be sacred and local people visit it while looking for a spiritual encounter with their ancestors. I was curious to enter into the cave which some of my walk mates said it could have spirits inside it and tales have been told that people who came near the cave went into oblivion.
Makgadikgadi Pans annual walk
Makgadikgadi Pans walk was made with the aim to raise money by Y-Care Charitable Trust. 80% of funds collected will be allocated towards charity. Every year, walkers brave more than100km from Mosu Village in the south end of Makgadikgadi to the historical site called Lekhubu Island. The walkers take on other historical site visits in the country like the Tsodilo Hills, Tswapong Hills, Domboshaba and other historical sites in the country.
Botswana Telecommunications (BTC), Diamond Training Company (DTC), First National Bank (FNB), Botswana Oil were amongst the corporates who took on the journey. The walk was sponsored by Babkock, Medswana, Kolobeng Spring Water and Imara.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.
Known for her stellar designs, and showing her sartorial prowess on renowned stages internationally, Delayna Scott has introduced an astonishing summer and spring wear together with an exquisite swim wear line for women.
Her sizzling collection comes at a time when people are embracing spring, as well as welcoming summer in style especially after coming out of back to back lockdowns.
After putting together a range of collections for both swim wear and spring wear, Scott employed former beauty queens to showcase her work on her social media pages.
“I had my selection process for the models for the swimsuit shoot collection. I wanted to engage beauty queens only so I used Judith Kgwadi -Miss Teen Universe Botswana 2013 and 2nd Princess Miss Teen Universe, held in Nicaragua South America. I also engaged Peelo Mookodi, Miss Africa Botswana 2015 and Michelle Gaokgethelwe, Miss FNB 2016/2017 and Miss Consumer Fair 2017/2018,” said Scott.
When quizzed about the size range, she highlighted that she caters for just about any size. Scott always wanted to leave an in print of a swimsuit collection which she finally put together and impressed by it. The collections will all be pre ordered only
“Well summer is upon us. So I figured why not cater for the heat that’s to come but besides that I’ve always wanted to do a swimsuit collection with my brand on the fabric. When I create collections for shows I always design one or two swimsuits to open the show but this time I figured I should just create a collection of swimsuits with bucket hats and head scarfs to match,” she said.
Adding to her swim suit collection is a dose of spring summer collections for a switch of seasons to add to your wardrobe collection.
“My spring summer collection is very special to me. It’s very Caribbean particularly the colour selection. It’s more of an easy, comfort collection all of the pieces can be worn day and night. For this collection I engaged two stylist Loago Bogopa and Tshire Bagwasi and we sourced accessories from Kefilwe Sianga of the fashion hook up and also Topznthangz,” she said.
“I was going for editorial looks so I did makeup by Chedza. She did the minimal makeup with a pop of colour on the eyes and Art by Shalom did the magic on photography with the stunning ladies super model Thanolo Keutlwile and Digital Content Creator Fifi Mathambo. Amazingly the feedback so far is great and quite overwhelming I must say.”
Trending this season
“Slip dresses, maxi dresses, prints and definitely bright colours basically everything in my collection is currently trending. A slip dress, accessorized well can definitely make a statement,” said Scott.
About Delayna Scott
Delayna Scott over the years has participated in several shows including, the inaugural Botswana fashion week 2011 (overall winner), Colour in the desert 2012, Masa fashion show 2017/2018 /2019. International shows she showcased at Malawi fashion week 2017, New York fashion week 2018 and Cannes film festival in France 2019.
Delayna Scott gowns have been showcased on world stage at Fiji, Russia, Indonesia, Nicaragua) by Botswana contestants at Miss World, Miss Universe, Miss Teen Universe and Miss World supermodel some contestants holding titles of winners , runners up and best evening gowns .
Scott was the designer of choice to dress lead actress Sylvia Pouget, of the movie Noni Le Fruit at the 2019 Cannes film festival red carpet. The same year also saw her as a designer of choice for French actress Eloise Valli’s red carpet appearance at the Cannes film festival.
After announcing the postponement in March, the 6th edition of Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAS) have bounced back and will be held virtually via Now Channel on DSTV Channel 290 and on the Yarona FM Facebook page on September 26 at 20h00.
This is one of the first virtual music awards to be held in Botswana.The 2020 edition of the YAMAS was originally slated to be held at the University of Botswana (UB) Campus Indoor Sport Centre early this year, but plans for an indoor ceremony were thrown for a loop by the coronavirus pandemic.
“There will be no public attendance at this year’s event, it will be produced for broadcast on TV and digital platforms. The event will take place in an extended reality studio which will comprise of the hosts only. The show must go on and we still have to award artist for their splendid job” said Yarona FM Station Manager Kelly Ramputswa.
Furthermore, Ramputswa stated that nothing much has changed apart from the awards ceremony going virtual, the voting lines for nominees remain the same. The voting lines opened on Tuesday 8th September and will close on 23rd September at midnight.Yarona FM has partnered with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) and First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) who contributed money to ensure that winners go home with cash prizes ranging from P10 000 and P15 000.
“We recognize the hardship that has befallen the creative industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Botswana’s creative sector remains resilient and Yarona FM, as a crucial player remains committed to contributing meaningfully to develop the sector.
The partnership to bring the YAMAS at this time, with cash winnings for musicians and other creatives involved in the show is demonstration that we are all in this together,” said the Yarona FM Station Manager.The effort of gifting artists with money is a big boost since most of them did not manage to source income from live performances due to COVID- 19 protocols that led to suspension of many events.
The 6th edition of the YAMAS will be hosted by Yarona FM presenters Loungo Andre Pitse and Kedi Molosiwa. There will be performances from artists such as ATI, Mophato Dance Theater, Girly and FME DJs.