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Kg’oesakeni:

Performed by Lepatata arts ensemble Kg’oesakeni, a musical dance theatre production explores themes around the current life situations of the Kua people. The story puts into perspective the native Kua traditions such as music, socioeconomic practices and spirituality and how they were impacted by the relocations from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The musical is a product of years of field research involving tens of personal interviews and months of sleeping in the CKGR and New Xade by the writer and director Shabba Kgotlaetsho. Kgotlaetsho has had first encounters and real time experiences of the Kua people’s ordeal as he attended the court sessions whilst a photojournalist and tells the story in a compelling manner. He was also the only local journalist present when the people returned to CKGR after the court victory that confirmed their liberty to reside in the CKGR.

The production narrative follows the life of a young Kua maiden born in the CKGR but grows up in the Botswana metropolis. Growing into world religious masonry, which she quits due to ancestral issues, she enjoys modern day corporate success. Under a strange trail, she loses all the worldly glory and circumstances force her to return to the CKGR for her salvation. The story is told in purely Kua song and dance systems as a tribute to the communities. Kg’oesakeni is the name of the new home, New Xade, where majority of the communities that were relocated are currently residents.

According to Kuela Kiema writing in his book, Tears for my Land (2010), New Xade was named Kg'oesakeni, meaning in search of better life, in April of 1997 by a delegation of four men, him included. He does not explain why they chose the name but alternative sources state this name could have been inspired by the basis and purpose of the relocation as stated by the national government then.

According to the national government, the relocation was intended to give the people of the then CKGR a new lease of life against how they had been living. The Kua people known as the Bushmen, the Khoe, the San and other names to the world, are what the world knows as the historical first inhabitants of the African continent. Some of the most recognizable communities of the Bushmen are resident in Botswana. These communities have, until recently, had the most unique and complete efficient ways of life including, socio- economic models and spiritualties.  

In Botswana, these people were traditionally residents of what the government classified as a Game Reserve in the 1960s. In May 1997, the government started what was to cause a global uproar as a violation of Indigenous Communities and Ethnic Genocide against the Kua people when they started a relocation programme out of their native Game Reserve. Many reasons were raised as to why the communities were moved out of their traditional homelands. This started what was to become the longest court battle in history of Botswana judicial history, with the Kua people emerging victorious in December of 2006.

Lepatata Arts Ensemble is a performance arts ensemble that exists to prioritize pure traditional Botswana song and dance in mainstream performance platforms. Driven by core belief that Botswana’s competitive edge globally can only be its unique art forms, Lepatata intends to showcase Botswana traditional dance and song globally in a performance language the world understands. Among Lepatata’s corporate intents is to provide alternative and sustainable professional platform to Botswana artists, especially those of traditional folk systems. Lepatata Arts Ensemble intends to, by year 2019, have at least 20 full-time employed artists who will equally be accredited and qualified by BQA as Botswana traditional song and dance experts and professionals.

Lepatata exists in three disciplines being the folk dance and song, the choir and theatre sections. Lepatata Arts Ensemble uses native dancers as anchors in all its production as shown during its inaugural theatrical, Hosanna Wosana where Lepatata sourced Hosana dancers from Bukalanga. For the current production, Lepatata has sourced additional 8 dancers from New Xanagas and four from D’kar to retain the artistic integrity of the song and dance forms. This is also Lepatata’s corporate inclusive consideration. The production will be staged at Maitisong Theatre on October 28th, 2017 at 1900 HRS by Lepatata Arts Ensemble in association with Botswana Blue Arts Series Foundation. Tickets are available at Webtickets at P200. 00

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WeekendLife

200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020
200,000

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.”

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WeekendLife

AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

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.

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WeekendLife

Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020
MISS EARTH

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

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.

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