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.
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
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.