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The heartening story of Botswana told through Lucky

The passion, inherent creativity and indomitable spirit of Batswana have been brought to life in an inspirational short film featuring Luckymore Kwapa, a young man from Mochudi whose dreams were bigger than the challenges that stood between him and his efforts to realise them.

The film, titled Lucky, a reference to his nickname, is a fortuitous encounter with a community of supportive people, and the chance discovery of a hidden ability. It is part of a series of films shot across the continent by Barclays Africa that celebrates Africans’ ability to achieve their aspirations and prosper when enabled by partners that are dedicated to making this happen.

This idea of tangible social upliftment and support for sustainable, long-term prosperity is reflected in Barclays Africa’s purpose. And it is the creative expression of this purpose, as harnessed in a single, powerful word – Prosper – that forms the basis of these 23 inspirational short films, which now include the heartening story of Botswana’s own Kwapa.

At just 20 years old, Lucky had set his sights on becoming a portrait artist, the only snag being that his parents preferred that he follow in his father’s footsteps and become a panel beater instead. Although they did not approve of his aspirations, and his decision to follow his dreams was considered an affront to the family, Lucky was never short of support.

Lucky never stopped drawing, and one day a friend suggested he take his drawings along to Stepping Stones International (SSI) to hone his skills. SSI is a Mochudi-based NGO that aims to unlock the potential of vulnerable youth aged 12-25 through holistic development, the strengthening of families and by activating sustainable opportunities to become self- sufficient.

Barclays Bank Botswana has been an active partner of SSI since 2008, working with staff and students through various programmes, including its financial literacy programme, to make a positive difference in this community. It was while visiting SSI that Lucky was invited to attend the NGO’s life skills camp, along with a team of peer educators and SSI staff. An impromptu campfire talent show one night revealed a side of Lucky nobody had seen before. It was a side even he never knew existed; a hidden ability he had never had the opportunity to explore and that had previously remained hidden from the world. It was an exceptional natural talent for opera singing.

It wasn’t long before those gathered around the fire realised his artistic talents extended beyond just his hands and included his voice too. This would prove to be a pivotal point in Lucky’s life, dramatically altering its course and setting him up for a future he could never dream possible.Lucky’s colleagues encouraged him to audition for the My African Dream talent search. Six months later, votes from people across the country placed him in the competition final, where he was announced as the winner of the 2012 Judges’ Choice Award.

This was a momentous occasion; it wasn’t just the tipping point that changed Lucky’s life, but also the memorable moment of the first time his parents had heard him sing. They too were in awe of their son’s incredible talent, and from that day forward wholeheartedly supported his burgeoning singing career. Never forgetting his roots and his own journey that was made possible by the personal investments of so many people around him, Lucky has decided to pay it forward. Today he mentors talent in his local community, like Kamogelo, the young praise poet, as well as a dance group with which he regularly performs.

Not only are Kamogelo and the dance group benefactors of Lucky’s big heart, but they also receive financial support from him. This reiterates the powerful sense of community that prevails among Batswana, and around which Barclays Bank of Botswana has built those offerings and partnerships that ultimately help transform ordinary lives into extraordinary ones. This is fitting, given that Barclays Bank of Botswana has forged a close relationship with Lucky over the years beyond merely supporting him through the various SSI programmes.

Barclays Bank MD, Reinette van der Merwe, has personally spearheaded efforts to find remunerated opportunities for Lucky to sing, and as a result he has performed at several events arranged or supported by the bank. Barclays Bank of Botswana Citizenship Manager, Yodit Kassaye- Molosi, has been a sounding board; a supportive ear when Lucky has needed guidance or personal input. Yodit also took the time to identify and introduce Lucky to relevant mentors at the bank, like Costar Pelotheri, who works in the risk department but is also a music enthusiast, and the bank’s late colleague, Tshepo Moshaga, who worked in HR.  

Lucky is immensely grateful for this support, saying the mentorship has changed his life and allowed him to grow his inherent talents, while the income he has earned from performing has enabled him to support himself and his family. At 25 years old, Lucky is now pursuing a thriving singing and dance career. To thank him for sharing his inspirational story so that it may touch the lives of so many others just like him, Barclays Africa has identified Lucky’s dream to be mentored and nurture his newfound operatic ability. As such, the bank is providing a platform to help him prosper even further – that of personal mentoring and voice coaching at the Cape Town Opera Theatre in South Africa.

Lucky’s story is just one of the many ways Barclays Bank of Botswana is helping the people of Botswana to Prosper. His film Lucky joins Barclays Africa’s portfolio of films that serve as authentic visual proof points of Barclays Africa’s Prosper brand promise to all it serves.
The stories featured in each of these films bear testament to the power of the human spirit, and demonstrate Barclays Africa’s Prosper promise in action. Collectively, these films – the first of which aired in 2014 – have received more than 12 million views to date across the digital channels on which they have been broadcast.

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WeekendLife

200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020
200,000

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.”

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WeekendLife

AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

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.

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WeekendLife

Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020
MISS EARTH

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

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.

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