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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

MOSADI: Grooming the Boss Lady

1st March 2021
Image consultancy- Mosadi Consultants

Women love style, looking dolled up, looking graceful and elegant but it begs the question; is your personal image representing the true you?

It is important to wear the right outfit, colours, styles and attitude to achieve your best look and to be taken serious. In addition, it is essential to wear the right mind-set about your self-image because the way you see yourself will have a mirror effect on how others see you.

Mosadi is an image consultancy geared towards uplifting women socially by means of image consulting. It empowers women to look great, feel their best and increase self-confidence.

Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of a client personally or professionally through appearance, behaviour, and communication.

With proper grooming, wardrobe, accessories and body language, Mosadi will project your best image and unique personal style to create greater opportunities and improved relationships.

It will also assist you communicate your personal or professional goals successfully to project greater confidence in all situations. In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Lemogang Sesupo, co-owner of Mosadi (currently employed as a teacher) said this is a business she started with her blood sister Boemo Sesupo (a records officer).

“I can confidently reveal that running this business has its ups and downs, but what better way to have those struggles than with family. She is more into the clothing line and I am more into the consultancy but together we make it work. The two departments give into each other which makes it easy for us to make it work,’’ said Sesupo.

She says passion, purpose and hobby is what makes the business flow with ease.“Looking good, feeling good and doing good makes the dream work. Mosadi wants to change the idea people have about women in the corporate world.

We are trying to break boundaries from people saying women sleep their way to the top or being trophy wives. This concept is all about redefining the woman.”

The duo believe that Mosadi can do it all by herself from her sweat and hard work without being dependent on men. This, they say, could be made possible if they look good and dwell much on improving their appearance.

“Many people perceive local employees as poor service providers by the way they look, so we believe it’s time that stops today. A woman should look womanly and be comfortable in her look. Looking decent has that effect where the way you walk with your head held high and the productivity level goes up,” says Sesupo.

Sesupo told WeekendLife that they provide make-over services, image consultancy, styling, and corporate clothing and MC services. Technically, Mosadi came at an appropriate time when the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, something that gave birth to the shattering Gender-Based Violence.

In Botswana, the numbers are taking a growing curve.It is only vital these women have their voices heard in fighting this crisis. This will not only help government, but will look good for their image especially now that they work with women at most times. Women do look pretty and elegant, but they carry much snags and worries, and only a shoulder to cry on can do marvels.

“Character is key. Mosadi wants to build character for women. A woman with character will know her worth, tap into her intuition and differentiate between what is right and wrong. With GBV, Mosadi is trying to let women to know their worth. We strive to educate them to make decisions for themselves and to be independent.”

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WeekendLife

Virtual fitness training and COVID-19

22nd February 2021
FITNESS TRAINER - CHYNA MOKAILA

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way the world moves, actually, it has it at a standstill.

The impacts of this deadly virus are massive, and the only way to curb it from spreading is through social distancing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The pandemic had gym rooms closed to avoid crowding by fitness enthusiasts. However, some have come up with alternative ways of keeping fitness rolling even in the midst of this plague.

Prominent fitness trainer and certified sports psychologist, Chyna Mokaila couldn’t be at a standstill from working out with clients, even in the middle of a deadly virus. He has since started an online training program dubbed CMFit Virtual fitness.

The program begun during the first lockdown implemented in March 2020, but because there was no revenue coming in, the young lad had to go back to the drawing board and come up with something tangible to earn him monies.

He told Weekendlife in an exclusive interview this week that; “I had to make a sustainable solid plan that would see me doing what I do best and continue my work with or without lockdown and COVID-19. This made me tap into other markets and countries throughout the world. Currently, I have clients as far as the US, Canada, Austria, Italy, and neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.”

Chyna says the online fitness training has proven to be less risky in exposing oneself to the virus, as they get to training at the comfort of their homes with less contact.

“COVID-19 has brought a lot of sadness, depression and unhealthy habits because of being restricted to lockdowns. It goes without saying that staying fit helps individuals with depression and offers a feel good atmosphere.

Health should be our number one priority at this current moment, and the only way it can be done is virtually. People have learnt to embrace technology so we might as well divert our services to such platforms.”

Virtual fitness is cost effective, according to Chyna. “Although you get the same feel and package which comprises of consultation, nutritional guidelines, assessments and the actual training program the only difference is that the trainer is not there physically with you but virtually.”

Nutrition plays a very critical role in blocking viruses that could alter how the body system works. The right amounts of nutrients reduce risks of non-communicable diseases, increases energy levels to perform better and fight infections. Scientists say COVID-19 critically affects those with underlying health conditions.

Chyna told Weekendlife that he envisions reaching out to the world market, indicating that he will be having his training programs online as he has seen an opportunity in the digital space.

“This will start with repackaging my brand so that it is at par with the best in the world, hence why I have moved from Chyna’s kata-Bo to CMFit which provides more detailed programs anyone can do on their own- following my virtual programs.”

In his rigorous efforts to help people realize the significance of an active and healthy lifestyle, Chyna has collaborated with the BTV Morning Fitness Show and Yarona FM’s Fatboy Challenge which saw him landing another health segment with the radio station.

The fitness enthusiast has also worked with the senior men’s and women’s national football team, as well as the karate team as the conditioning coach. Internationally, Chyna has collaborated with Essence Events from the United States.

His core duty was to travel Africa promoting active lifestyle and health.Chyna is currently a conditioning coach for Township Rollers, an engagement that sees him guide and work with the team, keeping them at pick in terms of their fitness levels.

This enables them to cope with the demands of the game without fail throughout the season.

 

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WeekendLife

Revamping the waning Miss Botswana

17th February 2021
MISS BOTSWANA 2019 PAGEANT

The country’s biggest beauty pageant, Miss Botswana, has eroded over the years. Beside the fact that crowned Queens dismally fail at Miss World year-in-year-out, the pageantry itself has been losing its shine in terms of organization, implementation and just throwing a glamourous event like it used to do before producing little to no tangible results.

Of course it started in 2018 when Miss Botswana was just disorganized and boring. The event was held at Masa Square Hotel, when only three participants battled it out for the blue crown.

Moitshepi Elias was crowned the princess that Friday night. That was technically the last time we saw her smile because, even if she did at Miss World, her smile wasn’t convincing enough.

The judges felt she was not good enough, as she was not even close to Top 40. In the history of the pageant, Miss Botswana 2010; Emma Wareus and Miss Botswana 1997; Mpule Kwelagobe are the only queens to be remembered as those who made a great impact as they reached top positions at Miss World and Miss Universe. Wareus was crowned the first runner up, while Kwelagobe snatched the title to become Miss Universe 1999.

Miss Botswana 2020 could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, something that left beauty pageant analysts stunned. Some feel this is a huge setback for the organizers, Development Advance Institute (DAI). This organization took over in 2018 and came with a plan for Miss Botswana, in which they strive to give the pageant a facelift.

Prominent beauty pageant analyst, Morekolodi Smith, told Weekendlife that a gap year delayed the implementation of the plan. “DAI aimed at revamping the organization, bidding to host Miss World and it will be tough to reach those aspirations due to this year gap. It still has to work on the reputation of Miss Botswana which has been deteriorating for years.

DAI promised a new era for Miss Botswana, I had expectations that they will crown a well-rounded girl who can bring glory to this country. With everything on hold and zero communication on what to expect, I see failure. The silence and inactivity is almost eerie. I wouldn’t be surprised if DAI drops Miss Botswana and another organization takes over.”

Smith says part of Miss Botswana could be held virtually, to avoid the stillness and dropping in rankings.
“Auditions, short-listings and preliminary interviews could be held virtually but not the actual final show. There is no need for the final show to be held virtually because traditionally Miss Botswana is never contested by more than 50 girls. The number is always narrowed to 12 and 16.”

He explained that the selection committee could go through all applications and select the Top 15, adding that the 15 would then be profiled in-depth followed by official photoshoots and glam shots.
“They could then take part in multimedia campaigns and host webinars.

Pre-recording the swimsuit and evening gown preliminary competition as well as featuring contestant video profiling could add magic. This is the time to maximize on video content.”Smith says there could be talent segment where contestants showcase their talent to entertain, and it could be recorded and each contestant’s video can be uploaded on social media for online audience and the public gets to vote for their favourite, and the winner gets to perform during the final show.

“Then the final show can be streamed live on social media platforms. Miss Botswana could have all Top 15 contestants do an opening number, followed by self-introductions then their short video profiles played. It can feature live onstage swimsuit and evening gown competition.”

After the swimsuit and evening gown competition, Smith said the question and answer session could be held, leading to crowing of the next Miss Botswana. He however, said Miss Botswana’s performance is fuelled by many challenges that persisted for quite a stretch now.

“One major challenge is that the Miss Botswana pageant is held very late. Our queens have limited time to prepare. This leads to half cooked Beauty with a Purpose project. No one excels at Miss World without an impactful Beauty with a Purpose project.”

He suggested that Miss Botswana could be held at least eight months before Miss World festival so that the winner can work on her project, a project that needs to be documented and packaged well. “I realized that queens here don’t have physical input on their projects. They always look glamorous and do not actually do the work. They are always on VIP mode and only come to cut the ribbon.

It is time that stops today. Tiara should be put aside and sleeves should be rolled. Preparation and packaging is key.”“It is essential to have Miss Botswana every year so that she can reach out to communities and add value to those in need.

Being Miss Botswana is more like an ambassador, the winner gets to represent Botswana internationally, precisely at Miss World. I think Botswana requires that global positioning space, as this works well with country branding because Miss World is a premium event.”

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