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.
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.