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.
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.”
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.
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.