Since inception six months ago, the Tshiamo Gotlhe Mogapi Coaching and mentoring program has put ordinary youth in conversation with trailblazers and renowned individuals who share their life stories with them.
The program is hosted every Sunday at Botswana Accountancy College auditorium and is aimed at entrenching a culture of doing and giving back time to individuals who want to bring a discernible revolution to their life. Matlhogonolo Letsopa Mponang established the mentoring and coaching program after realising that she could not accommodate all requests from people who wanted her to assist them with their resumes, career guidance and general mentorship. Since she has a busy schedule she could not find enough time to help each and every individual so she then decided to start the coaching and mentorship program.
When asked why she chose the name, Tshiamo Gotlhe Mogapi, she said it was to honour her late sister who died in a tragic car accident. Growing up, Mponang was part of the Peer Approach to Counselling by Teens (PACT) started and facilitated by the Young Womens’ Christian Association movement which encouraged peer to peer counselling through imparting life skills. It was after a conversation with one of her current mentees- whom she grew up with in Selibe-Phikwe, Bronia Neontle Badubi, who pitched the idea to her that she decided to go ahead and start the program in a full- fledged manner. She initially started out offering coaching on competency based interviews, CV Writing and goal setting through the development of Vision Boards.
So far, the programs has managed to engage some of Botswana’s renowned names in their own right, who have shared with attendants what it took for them to get where they are. Experts from the Information Communication Technology sector such as Anthony Masunga and Mabua Mabua; From the Creative Arts such as Wilson Ngoni, Mothusi Lesolle, Shanti Lo, Anita Nols, Michelle Phetlhe, Juju Boy, Amantle Brown; Business people like Thoko Rangwasamy, Thapelo Letsholo, Arun Aiyer; A Motswana ICC Judge Justice Sanji Monageng; Distinguished teachers such as Itumeleng Matebele; Seasoned international stage players like MmaseKgoa Masire- Mwamba; Economist turned Political Leader Honourable Bogolo Kenewendo have presented at the sessions.
With over 20 years experience in the field of human resource management, strategic leadership, organisation development and design, together with change management, Mponang is currently the Deputy C.E.O- Corporate Services at Botswana Accountancy College. Her portfolio spans Finance and Procurement, Human Resources Management, Records Management, Quality Assurance, Integrated Facilities, Student Affairs, Information Communication and Technology, and until recently-Marketing and Corporate Communications.
Mponang trained in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a seasoned Professional who has operated across industries and at all levels in government, non- governmental and Corporate Botswana. She has worked in both green field and established environments. Mponang has also had a social commentary column in both “Lapologa” and the “Weekend Post” and is a philanthropist, Social Entrepreneur and Transformational Speaker.
Previously, she was Deputy Chairperson of the council at Westwood International School, also as an H.R Committee Chairperson of that Committee of the Council; she has worked as Chairperson of the Water Utilities Pension Fund and has sat on the Botswana Medical Aid Fund Board as a Board of Trustee Member. At the age of 19 years she was voted into the World Young Womens’ Christian Association Council by member countries of this World movement at the World Conference of 1995 in Seoul, Korea and became a World YWCA Council member-and remains the only Motswana to have ever sat on this international board.
The mother of three currently sits on the Boards of both the Okavango Diamond Company as a Board Member and Pula Medical Aid as a Board of Trustee member. Ms. Mponang is also Chairman of the Botswana Karate Foundation and a Board of Trustee Member of same. In an interview with WeekendLife, Mponang explained that the program started small and has evolved over time and that “it’s like a ship which is being built whilst sailing”. The program, she shared, features industry captains and individuals who have done something and have challenged the status quo and attendants are given the opportunity to network with these elite thinkers after every program on Sundays.
“We teach individuals how to seek for self within so as to know self; How to develop Vision Boards so as to know where they want to go, and lastly how to get there. I also have a cohort of 30 mentees who I privately mentor after the public platform. They are in a year-long program, after which they will replicate this program, they will adopt a school and so as to take the program to schools. At the end of the day we are not about the appearance of doing something but are doing it so as to bring about tangible change,” she explained. Mponang explained to WeekendLife that she offers her coaching and mentoring programs for free because she believes she cannot charge people for something she was largely given by God.
“I am a Transformational speaker by calling and in action and so I invest 5% of my income from that into my social development work. I have adopted a School- Tlhalogang CJSS in Chadibe- in the Borolong side of Francistown, I am the School Patron. However, she decried that despite her offering this platform the turn – out is not at the level as one would expect-given that it is free, on a Sunday afternoon- when it is assumed that most people are back from church.
They have recorded a maximum of 120 people at a sitting- in a space that can seat 250. She said by attending the sessions, the public can experience tangible changes in their lives since most people who come leave the experience feeling revived. She intends to run the program for the next five years free of charge and at some point will commercialise it and replicate it across Africa, charging at a subsidised cost- once she has living examples of its’ effectiveness.
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.