The much anticipated and extolled Gaborone International Music and Culture (GIMC) week ended on a sad note following a stampede that claimed a life last Saturday night. The unfortunate event has since led to social commentators doubting logistical aspects of the show, accusing the organizers of poor planning and profiteering; STAFF WRITER DAVE BAAITSE explores the misfortune.
Since inception, the GIMC festival has received rave reviews, and was quickly elevated to be among Africa’s Top 10 events to attend in a short time. Arguably this year’s biggest music festival yet, the GIMC 4th edition had lined up crowd pullers in the likes of Mafikizolo, Cassper Nyovest, Ricky Rick and Nollywood star John Okorafor, AKA Mr Ibu.
Only 11 000 tickets were printed
On the day of the event, some were still being sold at the gate, and throngs of people had descended to the city centre, with full hopes of being among the few to dance the night away with fellow night crawlers. What followed next would lead to tragedy-the loss of a young life, 20 year-old Nametso Bogopa who was confirmed to be a third year University of Botswana (UB) student.
When this reporter arrived at the national stadium at exactly 2230 HRS Saturday night, many people were still loitering outside the stadium despite the event continuing inside. Cars were jammed outside, and despite my “All Access” pass, I was denied parking space inside the stadium as police officers said there was no parking. I was forced to navigate the traffic, eventually ending up down the road near the UB main gate. On making my way into the stadium, what I instantly picked was that the bulk of the youngsters swarming the gates could not be let through because they had no tickets. Thirty minutes later, I managed to make my way through the crowds and into the stadium.
What transpired during the night?
The over 7 000 revellers waiting outside the stadium had been informed much earlier that evening, at 1930 HRS that the event tickets were sold out. But they disappointedly stuck around, demanding to be let in. Meanwhile, inside the stadium sounds of ‘Khiring Khiring Khorong Khorong’ thumped on, more reason for them to be aggravated and push to be let in.
Hours later, the disappointed fans could still not take ‘NO’ for an answer, they were now more violent, and more security was called in as a risk intervention measure. However, the crowd managed to break one of the gates, flooding in to the stadium and in the event caused the stampede that claimed young Bogopa’s life. Following the crowd having broken in to the stadium, more gates were opened to control the situation and prevent further rowdiness however; this led to difficulty in controlling the crowds inside the stadium as crowd control barricades were also bypassed by the crowds.
The organisers are adamant that the security implored for the night was sufficient for the 11 000 attendants they expected. They concede they could have targeted a larger number and that the 7 000 plus outside the stadium were what threw them off and made the situation difficult to control.
A brief interview with event organizer Fish Pabalinga of LeapFrog Advertising this week revealed that a private security services company was engaged with 300 hundred bouncers and security guards, 12 men mounted on horse backs as well as 10 security dogs that patrolled the area inside and outside until morning. Pabalinga said at the beginning of the festival about 50 police officers were controlling the situation and that during the night more police officers were called in to assist.
The question of health is a very critical one thus every year the event organisers make sure they provide emergency assist to take care of every health situation that may arise. A total of two ambulances were seen packed at the VIP area with a number of medics who were on call. “This clearly means safety measures are always in place; the stampede and loss of life was an unfortunate incident,” said Pabalinga.
The national stadium has a carrying capacity of approximately 22 thousand, this is for when people are seated at the stands. With close to 18 thousand people occupying the pitch area and only a few on the stands, the place was overcrowded. “In that case even if we have had excess security, they were still bound to fail because of the numbers. The behaviour was unbecoming and that was never our plan. They invaded the stadium and in the process hurt themselves,” said Pabalinga who could not discuss further the ordeal as he said he was still emotionally struck by the occurrence.
Besides the stampede, a number of criminal activities were also reported where people were pick-pocketed and others beaten for no apparent reason, something Pabalinga highly condemned. He has called for the perpetrators to be brought to book and called on the perpetrators to be called to book. He promises that they have learnt from the unfortunate events at this year’s GIMC and will use the lesson to stage an even better event next year.
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.