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Thapong, BTC bring new twist to TAYA

The much anticipated Thapong Artist of the Year Award (TAYA) will this year have a twist to it as Thapong Visual Arts Centre and the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation will run both the TAYA and the BTC Phonebook cover exhibitions concurrently.

The TAYA remains perhaps the most coveted award within the arts community. Submissions for the award are open until November 5. BTC public relations manager, Golekanye Molapisi said that the BTC through the BTC foundation is sponsoring the awards with over P300 000. The BTC foundation, he said, has a mandate to promote the arts as a profession as well as to nurture them.

According to Thapong Visual Centre, this year, artists are expected to present works of higher quality that outline a significant level of maturity in terms of articulation, finishing, presentation and conceptualisation or thought process. Accepted works range from Photography, Print Making, Painting, Drawing, Graphic Design, Multi-media, Ceramics, installation art and Sculpture Making.

When Thapong Visual Arts Centre introduced the TAYA in 2004, it was in order to motivate and reward artists for their contribution towards developing the arts sector. The centre was established 5 years earlier, in 1999 in an old building at the Village, Gaborone. Prior to that, what had been established was known as Thapong International Artists’ Workshop in Kanye in 1989.

Last year, the overall winner, Thato Nkawana walked away with a P35 000 cash prize for his installation artwork, entitled World at Night- depicting a black dress installed under a mosquito net, and a fan blowing the dress from underneath. Below the dress, men were depicted relaxed, in white cups. This year though, the cash prize is expected to be higher than last year’s. Thapong Visual Arts Coordinator, Reginald Bakwena confirmed to WeekendLife that the prize will be more than P35 000 but said the exact amount will not be revealed as yet. “I won’t announce the prize money for now. It might as well be a surprise.”

Just Like in previous years, a judge from outside the country is expected to join two local judges. Last year, University of the Vaal Fine Arts Lecturer, Velaphi Manzhinye was the guest judge.  The name of the guest judge will also be revealed soon. Bakwena however said that the judge will also be from South Africa. Artists will also benefit from a workshop with the judges where they will be given feedback on their pieces, after the judging process is concluded. “There are a lot of differences this year, there will be a special presentation on Art criticism by the judge from South Africa. It will be important for the media to attend the discussion in November.” Bakwena said that involving judges from outside the country is important for networking purposes and for sharing of ideas.

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6th December 2023

Even though Botswana has over the years been performing extremely poorly at the Miss World competition, the country has confirmed that it will be hosting the beauty festival in 2026. Initially, the country was to host Miss World next year, something it failed to confirm before deadline. Director at Miss Botswana, Benjamin Raletsatsi, says Botswana will be ready then to host all participants. Miss Botswana Top 25 finalists left the boot camp yesterday. Quite shocking though, Miss Botswana team is still failing basics as responding to media inquiries on time yet it is dangerously hoping to host an event of high status

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DJ Sway ‘saved’ the YAMAs

22nd November 2023

DJ Sway, the daring and ambitious on-air presenter of Yarona FM, played a crucial role in saving the radio station’s music awards, known as the YAMAs. The event was initially dry and disorganized, but DJ Sway, who co-hosted with Pearl Thusi, injected life into the show. However, things took a turn for the worse when Pearl Thusi abruptly left the stage, leaving DJ Sway to carry on alone. Despite the unexpected setback, DJ Sway rose to the occasion and captivated the audience, effectively putting an end to the drama caused by Pearl Thusi.

In an exclusive interview after the YAMAs, DJ Sway revealed the behind-the-scenes chaos that unfolded during the event. He acknowledged the script editors, Phalana and Hope, who worked tirelessly to reedit the script and adapt it to a one-host format. Despite the last-minute changes, DJ Sway remained composed and focused, thanks to the support of his colleagues, such as Owen Rampha, Katlego Rakola, Tshepang Motsisi (DJ Easy), and LB.

When asked about his initial reaction to the unexpected turn of events, DJ Sway admitted to feeling saddened by how things ended. However, he credited Pearl Thusi for giving him a much-needed confidence boost during his moment of doubt. She reminded him that he was destined for greatness and that he didn’t need big stars to succeed. With her words of encouragement, DJ Sway regained his composure and approached the rest of the show with the same professionalism and charisma he displays on the radio.

To overcome the challenges he faced, DJ Sway relied on his radio skills and calm personality. He engaged with the audience as if he were speaking to a single person, pointing out individuals in the crowd to create a more intimate connection. He also expressed gratitude for his backstage team, who provided support and ensured the smooth running of the show.

DJ Sway expressed satisfaction in being seen as the saving grace of the YAMAs. He believed that he fulfilled his role as a host and brought joy to the Yarona FM board, his family, and his fans. Despite his success, DJ Sway’s journey has not been without hardships. He has experienced the loss of his mother and sister, which has left a lasting impact on him. While he continues to grieve, he seeks solace in therapy sessions and relies on his father for emotional support.

DJ Sway’s dedication to his craft and ability to overcome adversity make him a remarkable figure in the radio industry. His vibrant personality and deep knowledge of music have made him a perfect fit for Yarona FM. Despite the challenges he has faced, DJ Sway remains determined to make a positive impact and bring joy to his listeners. With his talent and resilience, there is no doubt that DJ Sway will continue to thrive in his career and leave a lasting legacy in the world of radio.


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Chef Gustos walk of shame

22nd November 2023

Chef Gustos, the renowned hitmaker, recently experienced what can only be described as a walk of shame at the 8th edition of the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs). Despite being nominated a whopping seven times, he failed to secure a single win. Ouch!

The night was filled with surprises, drama, and controversy, but the biggest winner of the evening was Han C, who walked away with three awards, including Best Pop and Best Male Single for his hit song, “Sebinki.” Han C graciously announced that he would be donating P10,000 from his winnings to his fellow nominees, promoting a spirit of togetherness among artists. What a noble gesture!

Meanwhile, Chef Gustos found himself on the losing end of several categories, including People’s Choice Artist of the Year, which he had won in the past. He seemed unfazed by the loss, stating, “People know that ‘Away’ was big, but they won’t stop me.” It’s clear that Chef Gustos is determined to continue making music, regardless of the awards he receives.

However, he did express his frustration with the outcome, suggesting that the awards may be corrupt. He declined to comment further, citing the need to protect his brand and maintain good relationships with corporate clients. It’s understandable that he wants to avoid any potential damage to his future prospects.

In fact, Chef Gustos went so far as to request that Yarona FM not nominate him for future YAMAs. It seems he wants to distance himself from the disappointment and focus on his music without the pressure of awards. Perhaps this decision will allow him to create freely and without the burden of expectations.

While Chef Gustos may have experienced a walk of shame at the YAMAs, it’s important to remember that awards do not define an artist’s talent or success. His fans still appreciate his music, and he continues to have gigs with corporate clients. So, despite the disappointment, Chef Gustos remains optimistic about his future in the industry.

In the end, the YAMAs may have been a letdown for Chef Gustos, but he’s determined to keep moving forward. He won’t let a lack of awards dampen his spirits or hinder his creativity. And who knows, maybe next time he’ll come back stronger and prove that he’s deserving of recognition. After all, the true measure of an artist’s success lies in the hearts of their fans, not in shiny trophies.


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