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P30 parking slots raise P35K for charity

The role of international aid in achieving Botswana’s economic and social transformation shrunk when Botswana was declared an upper middle income country.

Some local charity organisations that were dependent on donor funding collapsed, while those that remained in existence were forced to reinvent themselves, coming up with effective fundraising initiatives, and seeking the hand of corporate companies where necessary. Despite the admirable efforts put in by non-governmental organisations to be financially independent, the needs of the disadvantaged are barely met, hence no fundamental social changes are witnessed in the country.

To this end, the Rotary Club of Gaborone (RCG) has called on all foreigners living in Botswana to do more for Botswana’s development in order to motivate social transformation among the citizenry, regardless of the constant pressure to come up with creative ways to solicit funds. “Over the years, RCG has successfully organised charity walks, golf days and other fund-raising activities but we have become a victim of our own success in that other charitable organisations that have a need to raise funds have followed some of our examples.

So there is a constant need to find other fund-raising events,” said Alan Golding, Services Committee Chairperson of the Rotary Club of Gaborone. In order to continue helping the needy with a provision of blankets, wheelchairs, and malaria eradication mosquito nets among other efforts, RCG last year came up with yet another unique fundraising project. In partnership with the Wesbank Botswana International Airshow, RCG initiated the idea to offer parking to attendees of the Airshow at a small price of P30 per car. The 2017 inaugural Matsieng Airshow Rotary Car Park raised P35 000 for the club.

“The event was born out of my visit to the Rotary Club in my home town of Clacton on Sea in United Kingdom where one of their major fund-raising events is car parking for an Air Show. Coincidentally on my return to Botswana in 2017 the Matsieng Airshow was starting to be advertised for that year and the organisers kindly allowed us to take over the car parking in an area immediately opposite the entrance to the show,” shares Golding.

Following the go ahead from their Matsieng Airshow partners, the President of RCG, Tebogo George ensured that Rotarians demarcated roads and parking blocks. They had a team of parking ticket sales persons and parking Marshalls to direct vehicles and achieve parking in an orderly manner. This allowed attendees to park; walk the minimal distance and most importantly leave when they wanted to without being blocked in by other vehicles.

“This year we are pleased to be working with the Matsieng Airshow organisers again and we want to accommodate up to 1200 vehicles in the space provided and hopefully raise even more funds. Last year’s funds were used to purchase wheelchairs. This year the money will go into other charitable projects,” he says, looking forward to the event scheduled for tomorrow (May 26, 2018).

The establishment of the Wesbank Botswana International Airshow itself was encouraged by the need to fundraise for charity. Seven years ago, the founding members were approached by Motswedi Rehabilitation Centre for the handicapped. The centre wanted De Wet Drilling to offer it financial assistance that would go towards caring for the 100 children they look after. The request for help in turn inspired De Wet Drilling to establish the Botswana International Airshow, a project that would help them raise funds to donate to Motswedi.

 “The MFC originally initiated the Airshow to raise funds for this worthy organisation, and it grew to also help other worthy causes over the last few years such as the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation, Mochudi Fire Brigate and the Lady Khama Charitable Trust,” says Riaan van Vuuren, the Chairperson of the Matsieng Flying Club (MFC) Committee.

To date, the MFC offers support to organisations that focus on helping the less fortunate, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. Funds are given to organisations that can demonstrate good governance and financial discipline in their support of the disadvantaged. “We all do this job for free, none of us are paid. All proceeds after accounting for all costs of presenting the event are donated.

Every year we start the show with a zero budget, but we have had support from WesBank, Puma and this year Botswana Tourism Organisation came on board,” he said. MFC consists of 80 percent local membership and 20 percent expatriates. “The show is now attracting foreign investors and tourists. We encourage expatriates coming in to also give to charity,” he added.

Other expatriates that have stepped up for Botswana are the Chinese. Miles Nan, a Former Rotary Member, and current Chairperson of the Charity Association of Chinese in Botswana (CACB), who has been living in Botswana for over two decades, has thus far been involved with charitable initiatives ranging from the Chinese Charity Care Centre (CCCC) in Naledi and SOS Children’s Village, as well as the Warm Winter initiative that donates blankets to the needy through the Office of the President. He has also helped avail scholarships for locals to study in China.

 “I have been living in Botswana for many years so I am familiar with the struggles. If all individual foreigners contributed something little towards charitable efforts, combined, our contributions would translate to one major aid. Foreigners should not keep quiet, they should not be bystanders,” said Miles.

The CACB was founded in 2012. To date, given the combined efforts of the cross country team, the association has also rendered financial support to Botswana Workcamps Association’s horticulture agricultural projects, and facilitated agricultural skills transfer to them. The organisation has also donated BWP175 000 to The Eagle Trust with the motive to empower young people with disabilities through a life skill project.

In 2014 the association went out of its way to not only implement charity projects that target the youth and adults, but catered for children. Targeting children, the project came in the form of a party which aimed at improving exchanges between children of the two countries, helping them know and understand each other’s culture, while sowing goodwill seeds among children. Parents from the Chinese community together with their children donated clothes, schoolbags, stationery and food among others to the children from the local community.

In this regard Miles Nan urges those with nothing to give, to volunteer instead. Free consultancy, knowledge sharing and hands on skills transfer, he says are a must do. His other efforts to contribute to the country’s social transformation are made through the Global Max Media Group, the Oriental Post Newspaper and the recently launched Africa-China Culture and Arts Exchange Society.

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WeekendLife

Of Musicians and No Shows

10th May 2022
Musicians and No Shows

There is a growing unpleasant of artists who do not pitch for events they have been booked for; or simultaneously, there could be another development – false advertising – where artists’ names are used to draw large crowds.

Musicians and promoters in their mission to put bread on the table seem to have resorted to obscene means of securing their means. To many, this is tantamount to fraud and deception to gain an unfair advantage over their unsuspecting fans who swoon at the mention of their name, their presence and entire existence.

The month of May has just begun and bottomless grievances are pouring in of no show musicians at gigs they have been booked and paid for. Instead of leaving the crowd stunned by a spectacular show they are leaving revellers disappointed.

Exhibit A; This past weekend Eswatini’s DJ Uncle Waffles was scheduled to perform in Botswana. She never pitched up for the shows and continues to be silent on her lack of presence at the show. Exhibit B; Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha were all set to perform on 29 April at the Victoria Falls Carnival 10th Anniversary but did not arrive in Zambia for the gig.

In a statement released on Sunday 1 May, Victoria Falls Carnival organisers confirmed that flights and accommodation were organised for DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha.
The statement continued; “Confirmations were sent to them as agreed and emails were sent to them several times before, for some reason they did not show up at the airport on the day of travel…

Above and beyond we tried to communicate with the artists to change the date of performance but still we could not get hold of them despite all the effort and all means of communication from our side,” Organisers have demanded that the artists refund them the full booking fee and the payments made for flights and accommodation

“All three artists were paid in full and contractually bound to perform at the Carnival, and accommodated at every corner with their numerous flight and accommodation change requests.” Adds the statement. Exhibit C; South African artist Prince Benza’s passport was confiscated by the Deputy Sheriffs pending payment for damages on breach of contract.

He was scheduled to perform at Mogobane on the 31st of December at the Reflector Music Festival but did not appear as well. He nabbed when he came into the country for a separate event.
The President of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), Gilbert Seagile this week had his company; Gilbert Promotions registered in South Africa.

This puts him in an ideal spot to become an intermediary and help solve the feud between Botswana and South African artists and their no show at events.  Seagile emphasized that it’s not only international artists that miss events but even the local artists have the same tendencies. He elaborated that reasons for artists not pitching up are many amongst them ; breach of contracts , promoters not paying deposits and some can be natural like artist testing positive for Covid-19.

The BEPA president also indicated that fly-by-night promoters are also a concern as they do not follow the BEPA Code of conduct, “BEPA members are well coordinated, they have the code of conduct which guides them to do things accordingly. The government is pushing for promoters to join BEPA they have already started refusing with permits when one is not a member of BEPA.” he emphasized

Seagile said that the association is in talks with the South African Music Promoters Association (SAMPA) to provide protection of Botswana Promoters that when artists miss shows they can be able to rope in their lawyers in South Africa through SAMPA and Botswana through BEPA to compensate for losses incurred as a result of this exploitation.

He said another way of dealing with this matter is for Promoters to issue a contract to the artist as currently the norm is that the artist produces the contract to the promoter so this solution can help the promoters to protect themselves.

In an interview with Weekendlife, Superintendent Tumediso of Urban Police Station enunciated that matters of no show artists are normally reported by the promoter who normally comes as the complainant. The matter is then taken forward taking into consideration the evidence, this will in turn assist in determining on whether the case is theft, obtaining by false pretence or fraud.
When it is all said and done, revellers love musicians to hate them and hate them to love them. It is an unending toxic relationship which no one wants to pull away from.

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WeekendLife

COSBOTS mulls funding for struggling members

10th May 2022
COSBOTS

As the creative industry is trying to resurface from the COVID-19 dust, the board chairperson of Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), Bakalanga Mahoko, says the society is considering giving out relief funds to their members who have been hit hard by the COVID -19 induced restrictions. She noted that this will however depend on government’s response to their request for funds.

She told WeekendLife that the society has already written to government requesting funds. Once the request is approved, she says some of the funds will enable the society to embark on road shows across the country to sensitise the general public about COSBOTS. The road shows are designed to run for several weeks before the annual general meeting which is scheduled for May, 28th this year. Among other things, she says part of the money will be used as a relief fund for their members.

“As we are all aware, the industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 restrictions and some of our members were unable to raise money for their survival and that alone affected the industry. We anticipate that government will consider and approve our request and once it’s approved our members will smile all the way to the bank as their bank accounts will be credited by the COSBOTS,” she says.

She added that if things go according to plan, this will be the second time that their members would have been assisted through such an initiative. She said at the moment they have registered about 2800 members across the country and the board anticipates that the membership number will increase sharply.

“I am not yet in a better position to divulge the amount which each artist will be given because government has not yet responded to our request, but once that has been approved the society will announce,“ she says.

Mahoko was elected as the board chairperson sometime last year and has also been the first woman to lead such society which she described as “privileged”. “As many will recall, the society was in a mess and there were squabbles among members. There was also mismanagement of funds that resulted in the members, government as well as the public losing trust on the society and that dented badly the image of the society,” she says.

Mahoko further stated since she has been in office for more than a year, things now look much better and promising. The government gave the society a grant and that alone was a sign of trust from government. Recently COSBOTS distributed over P7 million as royalties.

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WeekendLife

Collegium launches E-books

10th May 2022

With over 20 years in the business of publishing school books for both primary and high school schools as well as fuelling the imagination and guiding the soul of the youth. Collegium Education Publishers are continuing with their trailblazing mission by launching EBooks.

During the launch of the Ebooks platform recently, Naledi Ratsoma, Author and Founding Director of Collegium Botswana took the audience on a trip down memory lane. She disclosed that after falling out with a local publishing company, she established new ties with a publishing company in South Africa. “The adage don’t get mad, get even worked for us.

We decided we are going to get them, we are curriculum specialists we know what the curriculum is all about and what books should be to support the type of curriculum.” She said deep in thought. “The start-up was not easy, I was the general, manager, tea lady working from 6 am to 10pm. It was sheer determination and hard work that got the company going.

Today I feel honoured and excited, Collegium grew by leaps and bounds. Here we are today. Dare I call Collegium a success story? Yes I do, it is a resounding success story.” She uttered excitedly
Looking into the future, Terrence Showa, Collegium CEO was tasked with only one job to do.

That job? Moving Collegium to digitization and joining the rest of the publishing world in transition towards the Fourth industrial revolution and a knowledge based economy. “Today I stay to you quite proud to be the first publisher in the country to launch the prescribed eBooks.” He said.

Showa mentioned; “I was told to come with a cheaper solution for government, after three years with meeting several Information Technology think tanks we came to the conclusion that Snapplify, gurus in providing eBooks and eLearning were in alignment with what we are looking for. Ebooks provide a simple solution for teachers, parents, students to use at their homes.

It will also be 30% cheaper for government to procure the books. An added benefit was the ability to give free content by Snapplify on the side of library service. ” He says the Ebook Platform has been fast tacked by the rural electrification program by government prioritizing the need to digitise books.

When speaking to the WeekendPost on the side after the event, Showa when questioned on matters of piracy which comes with the digital age, he enunciated that “as Collegium the failure of us to regulate the printing and photocopying of our books frustrates us daily. There are institutions who have committed to procuring photocopying machines to make copies of our books.

We are excited about eBooks because the licence procured when buying the book will run for only a year and will limit users to being able to photocopy and take screenshots of the books. One of the reasons Snapplify made sense to us is they know exactly what the challenges that come with digital platforms are. The content will only be downloadable into devices through a profile set up and limit the number of users on the site.”

For their presentation, Stephen Bestbier and Mark Seabrook from the Snapplify Team; the application is accessible everywhere with an offline feature to encourage data saving and reading offline, it is compatible with existing devices be it mobile, tablet and desktop. The simple library management functionality makes it easy to check out books and return them automatically to curb the ancient penalty of paying late return fees as well as avoiding d issues of lost book since it will be on an online platform.

The academic features include; a designated dyslexic friendly font, text to speech functionality, journal, bookmarks. The Elibrary provides for convenience as 24/7 access to learning, materials since the online library does not close like the traditional library. The support platform ‘teacha!’ also reliefs’ teachers in their work by building skills with accredited professional development courses and platform training.

Snapplify are leaders in Pan African educational technology with thousands of institutions across Africa with students and academic staff within the Snapplify ecosystem from primary schools to tertiary institutions.

Snapplify is the best eLearning solution with a comprehensive content catalogue with constant delivery and a proven track record of rolling out large government eLearning projects.  Collegium’s vision has indeed come to pass to become market leaders in the provision of high quality teaching and learning materials for institutions in Botswana.

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