Motlhaolosa Poetry Ensemble has collaborated with Swedish literary magazine, Karavan on a cultural exchange programme where Batswana and Swedish poets and cultural workers will meet, discuss issues of interest and forge working relations.
The collaboration is yet another momentous one for the local poetry group, which has for a considerable amount of time now, been advocating for and advancing Setswana poetry and culture locally and abroad. In an interview with WeekendLife the band leader and renowned poet, Moroka Moreri revealed that collaborations were always a great achievement for any artist. “I think it the dream of any artist and it’s the greatest achievement to collaborate with other international artists.”
The partnership, he said, however did not just fall from the sky like manna. “We worked very hard in the recent past and have been active, and this has made us visible to them. So seeing this Karavan took interest in us, and wanted us to join hands to further develop poetry,” Moreri said.
Represented by Karavan editor, Birgitta Wallin and literary scholar Erik Falk the group will arrive in Botswana on the 11th and stay through the 16th of December. While here, they will engage in cultural tours and activities, a workshop as well as join local artists for a poetry night before heading back to Sweden.
According to Moroka, “Motlhaolosa has worked tirelessly over the past few years. We put our work out there for the world to see, and we have since taken our art to various places including South Africa. We have travelled the breadth of the country, and this partnership with Karavan is yet another milestone.” He further revealed that two renowned Swedes, Olivia Bergdahl and Ismael Ataria will be among the visiting team.
Bergdahl won the Swedish National Poetry as a 17 year old in 2007, and came fourth in the World Cup in 2008. She has toured Sweden, Europe and the US in the last decade. She has published a novel and one collection of poems. She has also recorded an album. Ataria, a poet, author and stage performer, has published several books and received a number of literary awards. He has made countless performances and readings. While said preparations were at an advanced stage, he said they were still in need of financial sponsors, and called out to willing partners to contact the group.
He said that the University of Botswana had shown goodwill as the Department of Visual and Performing Arts had provided a venue to host the workshop. Veteran novelist, Andrew Sesinyi will be among presenters at the workshop. The workshop, he said was open to all poets, writers and aspirants at no fee.
The official opening will be held at Sanitas and the ultimate event, being the poetry night is slated for next Saturday (16 December) where Motlhaolosa Poetry Ensemble, Lister Boleseng, Maruping Poetry Club, Africa Poetry Club alongside other poetry acts will perform. He said that he hoped the exchanges would become an annual event so that local poets and writers can get to experience each other’s cultures and learn from one another as well as to develop poetry.
Caravan is a Swedish quarterly literary magazine committed to introducing literature from all over the world, not only through reviews and articles but through original translations. It has long standing experience from international collaboration, and has over the years worked in India and East Africa with local organisations to learn about literary phenomena and present them to s Swedish audience, in Swedish.
In 2009, Karavan won the prestigious Stig Dagerman prize. The award is given to a person who, or an organization that, in the spirit of Swedish author, Stig Dagerman, supports the significance and availability of the "free word" (freedom of speech), promoting inter-cultural understanding and empathy. In 2013, Karavan collaborated with Petlo Literary Arts Trust in a cultural exchange programme which comprised a reading tour and a literary workshop
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.