Although the concept was conceived and designed in the United States of America, LaMonki was created for Batswana and Africa as a whole. The concept is the brainchild of a Motswana designer based in Texas, USA, Godwill Ngoni Daniel also known as Dagee or DJ Dagizus.
It all started in 2004, and according to Daniel, it was all to honour and embrace his late mother's sense of fashion as she was a well known fashionista and fashion icon in Francistown. The name LaMonki derives from his mother, Priscilla Ndiko Daniel’s childhood name “Monki”. He added "La" because it represents the “queen” and to make it unique in case there is another Monki out there.
It took 12 years for the idea to be brought to reality. In 2016, he initially started with a trucking company named LaMonki Transportation still based in Texas, USA. Later on that year, he created the clothing collection to remember and continue the fashion sense that his mother had. According to Daniel his mother was a loving, caring and outspoken woman that inspired people around her in many ways.
A metaphor for supreme craftsmanship, LaMonki Collection showcases African aesthetics in a contemporary language that caters for people of different ages and heritage, from infants to adults, boys to girls and women to men. “We intend on adding active wear to our gallery, so we can help promote healthy living,” said Daniel.
His mission is to inspire young people to feel good and live better through striving to responsibly make a meaningful product that not only exemplifies lifestyle, but also enhances the ability to live it. LaMonki Collection was not only created for exposure, but for love, with love, by love, according to Daniel. It’s purpose is to give hope to the hopeless, love and faith by creating employment for the youth. “All what they have to do is to plug in and connect with the collection by selling its merchandise to friends and family and make extra income. The other purpose is also to engage Batswana or Africans to support local or small businesses striving to survive the hardships.”
Daniel revealed that they locate and get materials in the USA where they are based; brand some of the merchandise and take the rest jobs such as screen printing and heat press to Africa or overseas. This, he says, empowers locals and gives the youth a chance to prove themselves, have financial freedom and become independent. “If you think this is a small project, you are mistaken as it helps in reducing crime rate by keeping young people occupied. It might also help in boosting the economy, as the current research shows that unemployment in Botswana is at about 18.1%,” he said.
The team has ambassadors comprising of selected individuals with a following and their job is to represent a brand to targeted customers in order to increase awareness, create a specific image, generate sales opportunities and build customer preference. In other words, they are the face of the brand and wear the brand. The list includes Thabo “Untshwarable” Bolokwe who is a musician and a loved radio personality in Botswana and Ntombi Sheba, a professional model in Botswana and part of the street team.
The street team comprises of hungry young people who are willing to sell and promote the collection in social media and in return get 10% of each sale. Most of them are unemployed youth with college qualifications and in need of anything they can put their hands on in order to make extra cash. They are given unique “sales codes” which they give or share with their friends so that when friends buy using such sales code they get paid.
These are people who go out of their way to do everything for the collection, like getting involved in photo shoots, street marketing, stall selling and word of mouth promotion. “Research shows that youth and teens spend about 9 hours a day online chatting with friends, especially on Facebook & Instagram. With such time, they will spend some of it sharing their sales codes with friends and selling LaMonki,” he highlighted.
Their products range from shoes, caps, t- shirts, bags, Sox, hats, pants and they are also available online, but for Botswana they have variety of t-shirts and caps which can be purchased from Opene at 71532207, otherwise the rest of the products like sneakers will follow soon. You can catch them at their webasite www.lamonki.com
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.