Orange Botswana was this week engulfed in controversy as their poorly conceptualized advertisement was deemed sexist and undermining the rights of a child. Batswana from all walks of life took to social media to express their displeasure with Orange Botswana’s ‘desperate and attention seeking advert’.
While the mobile network company calved and apologized as an afterthought, it was too late as some Batswana believed the damage had already been done. Compounding matters for Orange were suggestions that the child was paid P100 to do a performance of traditional dance, and further that there was no permission sought from the parent of the child for her picture to be used on the ‘sorry advert’.
Senior citizens and international organisations came with guns blazing because the Orange advert was seen to be encouraging pedophilia and or potentially exposing the girl child to abuse and sexual violations. The advert was headlined with a ‘misunderstood’ Setswana idiom by the Orange marketing team, "Nnana tsholetsa makgabe re je bophose”. Linguist, Professor Thapelo Otlogetswe suggested that the idiom has sexist connotations hence linking it to a picture of a child was PR disaster for Orange.
Various personalities, among them politicians and artists took to social media to lay down the moral route for Orange Botswana: The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo, expressed out her concern about a cultural event advert that depicts a girl child in a sexually suggestive or an indecent manner.
“An appropriate outcry to this inappropriate use of a child, there is something on things like these in the Penal code and cybercrimes act, I have consulted with the Minister of Justice and he will revert. You’ll remember I’ve fought hard for the elevation for children’s rights in the national agenda. This is one of the reasons we fight for the protection of children and women’s rights. Another day, another abuse. There still remains a need for feminism,” she said.
The minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Unity Dow also dismissed the advert. “The Orange sponsored advert that shocked every right-thinking Setswana speaker has now, I understand, been taken off the net, and one hopes, off every other space on which it had been placed. That material so offensive at so many levels could have made it to print and the net is shocking,” she said.
The Minister expressed her shock to Orange officials for approving and agreeing to the controversial and misleading advert. “It is shocking that some adult conceived it; developed it and presumably presented for approval. Is shocking that a team at Orange approved it. It is shocking that not one person, in this chain of actors, was horrified by the advert. It is shocking that other businesses, The Voice, included, proudly associated themselves with the advert. How did we get to this point? It boggles the mind. It's depressing,” she added.
The Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Dorcas Makgato also disapproved the advert due to the content it packaged. “I found the advert sponsored by Orange Botswana among others to be offensive, demeaning and degrading of all children. I have as Chairperson of the BDP Women’s Wing and government Minister responsible for gender, demanded a retraction of the advert and an apology by those responsible. I wish to commend the speedy response by the portfolio minister Hon Mokaila and also BOCRA,” she said. The Minister rather found the advert insensitive hence the need for public education on the power and effect of advertising and messaging.
“More importantly it highlights the duty and care of the crafters of advertorials and public messages to ensure that their messaging causes no harm to societal norms, morality and public order,” she added. Local poetry and music sensation, Berry Heart also stepped forward and fought her battle against gender violence.
“I saw this Orange Advert and I find it wrong in so many ways and Levels. This is Very wrong. Gatwe Nnana Tsholetsa Makgabe re Je bophose? SE! This is 2018 and we are living in an Era of Paedophiles (men who sleep with kids). A company as big as orange use those Setswana saying that support child molestation and its related misogynistic acts? I refuse!” she lamented.
UNICEF has also cited that the advert exposes children to abuse and validate harmful cultural practices and attitudes that drive sexual abuse. “"UNICEF believes sexual exploration and abuse of children can only be stopped by collective efforts of ordinary citizens, policy makers, governments and international stakeholders. We applaud all those who have spoken out against this practice," Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF Representative.
Meanwhile, the Orange officially found it befitting to apologize to the whole public and they have pulled out the advert. “As Orange Botswana we would like to acknowledge and profusely apologize for the unfortunate misrepresentation of the girl child in the event advert. All our stores will remove all the current posters. The tagline and artwork will be changed with immediate effect. On a final note we thank Batswana for pointing out this oversight. We are an organization that listens and acts. We thank you once again for your continued support,” they said.
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.
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.
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.