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A taste of wild Botswana

Archives of Botswana government inform that “Batswana have from time immemorial depended on natural resources occurring in their localities to improve food security and rural inhabitants in possess knowledge of seasonal availability of wild edible fruits, vegetables and protein intakes, however changes in cultural lifestyles, reduction in biodiversity due to population explosion, deforestation and climate changes have contributed to a decline in the consumption of these”, nonetheless street marketers like Mmeeki Keaboka uprightly held on to the sales of some of the edibles provided by the wilds.

Keaboka shares with WeekendLife that she  dropped out of school in the year 1993 and has never had any formal employment, and in order to sustain herself she sold tomatoes and onions but there was no growth in the business which saw her from the year 2014 moving to the capital city Gaborone, tucked strategically for overflow of customers she sells wild edibles that includes, okra leaves, mopane worms she catches herself in the wild of her home village Tutume which is the northern part of Botswana. Though the mopane tree grows only on the northern part, the worm is widely savored across the country.

In addition to the edibles, Keaboka also sells herbal roots also found in the wild as she explains that most of them are used for medicinal purposes. The most famous herbal root she shares is the monepenepe scientific name –long tail cassia, sjambok pod or wild Senna, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree with a broad trunk covered in bark that ranges from dark brown to grey and sometimes black. “Most of my monepenepe clients are women who suffer from intense menstrual cramps and it also assists in erectile dysfunctions as it flushes out toxins from the body,” she prescribes.

Based in Kolonkwaneng, about 70km outside Tsabong is Dinah Botha who produces coffee made from the roots of motlopi tree, another wild product. Her business started in the year 2007 as a past time but today she is in talks on expansion to sell in local retail stores and reaches out for the support of Batswana to buy her product especially for its nutritional value.

“I’m proud to say that my coffee has been tested and given the green light by the National Food Technology Research Center(NAFTRC) and the Ministry of Health National Food Control Laboratory,” the coffee is 100% natural. Botha urges for local support and advises to buy local products as that creates employment in the country. “When I eventually get space in retail outlets, I will employ more people as I will have to produce more.” She also thanked institutions like LEA and Brand Botswana for continuously capacitating her and giving an opportunity to exhibit her product at different platforms for local appreciation, as gathered by the archives of Botswana government.

Culture, dress code, food are centerpieces of a country and just like eating food with your hands, there is unexplainable magic in food that has been prepared by firewood as compared to using an electric stove or a gas burner as saw Oaitse Chamme, an entrepreneur and co-owner of size 10 together with Gaone Dickson struck gold in a pot -pun intended, when they tapped into the cuisine market and had their food cooked in the famously used in most African gatherings, the three legged pot ‘poto’, in this case preferably size 10.

It’s the whole concept from preparation using the mopane tree firewood  until delivery of  meals that sets the size 10 menu apart from other tswana  traditional cuisine servers. Chamme shares that there are weekly deliveries of the mopane tree firewood they use for cooking as they wanted the flavor of their food to represent a taste of the wild.

The mopane tree firewood collected in the wild is the essence that brings out the unique flavor in their food proving that the wild still holds down to its authentic provision of bringing out a distinct taste.

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Self-taught fashion designer speaks

26th July 2022

A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.

The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.

“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.

The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.

She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.

“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”

They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.

July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.

“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.

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Gospel awards re-organised

26th July 2022

The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.

The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.

He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.

The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.

The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.

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Makhadzi, Master KG invade Thamaga

18th July 2022

The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.

The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.

Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others.  “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.

“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.

“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.

“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.

“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.

The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.

”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.

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