MatswakaBae 3rd Season launched
The vivacious and adolescent oriented movement SKY Girls launched its third season of their radio show ’MatswakaBae’ after two triumphant seasons; the drama which is the only teen radio drama officially airs this Saturday on RB2, at 1230.
SKY Girls has existed since February 2014, and is an empowerment campaign for teenage girls. “In 2016 we decided to introduce an element of storytelling to the SKY project. We know that radio is a great medium for storytelling as it allows us to reach the whole country as well as integrate poetry and musical performances into the drama,” account planner of SKY Girls BW, Elle Books tells WeekendLife. MatswakaBae orbits on the lives of a group of teenage girls in Gaborone. The radio drama explores the life of Lerato Kgopolo, a 15-year-old girl who at the beginning of Season 1 had just moved from a village to a school in Gaborone.
Season 1 focuses on Lerato’s struggle to stay true to herself while making new friends. She soon makes friends at her new school, including Mimi, Chedza, Tshidi, Kelly, Thabang and George, but also deals with the challenges of feeling like a ‘fish out of water’ in Gaborone, and experiencing new pressures.
Season 2, which aired in April 2017, focuses on the pressure to be popular. Lerato feels torn between mimicking Mimi ‘the Queen Bee’, and Chedza, the ‘down-to-earth friend’. She starts to pretend to be someone she’s not in order to become popular, but by the end of the season she has realized that being what you are is the best way to deal with peer pressure.
We see now in Season 3, (launching on 26 August) the girls in their final term of Form 3, preparing to sit for their exams and finish junior school. They face exam pressure, relationship pressure, and one girl gets caught up with the blesser phenomenon.
According to the account planner of SKY Girls BW “The drama is scripted by T.O.P Art in collaboration with the SKY team, and then pre-recorded (featuring voice artists who were chosen from open auditions held last in march 2016). Featuring poetry, musical performances and dramatic storylines in every episode, MatswakaBae truly has something for everyone.
Elle asserted that,” The drama uses storytelling to allow the audience to explore their own feelings and actions, and aims to help teenage girls navigate their way through life. By giving examples of teenage girls who make wise and unwise decisions, this allows girls to see the outcome of decisions in their various characters, preparing them for issues they might face in their own lives.” She added that,“ So far the drama has garnered a cumulative listenership of more than 320,000 listeners, as well as over 40,000 listens on the SKYGIRLSBW Facebook page, where the episodes are uploaded each week for fans to ‘listen again’. We have also received a lot of testimonials from teenage girls, who tell us that they really love the drama and relate to the characters.”
Brooks concluded that, “MatswakaBae airs during SKY live on RB2, every Saturday. All previous episodes can be found on the videos section of the SKY BW Facebook page, on the SKY-Girls-bw Soundcloud page, on the skygirlsbw YOUTUBE Page, and available as free podcast on ITunes”. SKY Girls express themselves through fashion, art, music, poetry, and dance and through how they live their lifes.SKY provides the platforms to support teenage girls in following their dreams and ambitions.”
SKY GIRLS BW was made in collaboration with a large group of partners, including T.O.P Art, Social Dialogue Organization, RB2, Kuptan Skool, The Dialogue Group, Good Business UK and Perfect Day.
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AMANDA BLACK RETURNS TO SELF WITH NEW SINGLE “NGUWE”
“NGUWE” SETS THE TONE TO HER FORTH STUDIO ALBUM
Johannesburg, Friday, 17th March 2022- ” Amanda Black returns with her signature mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences to deliver an inspirational message of returning to self and self-love with her new single “Nguwe” .
Available all digital platforms.
The single comes as Amanda Black gears up to release her forth studio album, featuring new songs with her signature sound infusing R&B Soul and tribal African melodies. As she grows and discovers herself as an individual, a spiritual being and a musician, Amanda is on a journey of self-discovery. The music reflects on the better and more hopeful space she has come to in this journey, the single “Nguwe” sets the tone and follows the theme of the upcoming album. The music is about falling in love with self , honoring yourself by self-acceptance. The overall theme and message is spiritual reconnection and trusting herself with her music.
Surfacing in 2016, that album was certified platinum a scant three weeks after its release and went on to earn Black numerous nominations and awards – including three South Africa Music Awards, two Metro Awards and a BET International Artist Of The Year nomination.
Most importantly, Amazulu’s mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences secured Black a devoted fanbase that stretched right across the country. These music lovers quickly embraced her gift for telling authentic coming-of-age African stories through songs that touched on the universal experiences of love and heartbreak, of finding and losing yourself, of having hopes and dealing with fears.
But, in the background, Black was discovering that the road to becoming a fulltime artist wasn’t easy – even one marked by commercial and critical success straight out of the gate.
Of course, when she began singing in church as a child growing up in the Eastern Cape, and even when she studied Music Education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Black never imagined it would all be plain sailing. She knew there was no guarantee that, when she boarded a Greyhound bus headed for Johannesburg, she would return home with a story of success to tell. Too many talented musicians from her home town had made that same journey but had never returned – an experience captured with poignant insight on “Bayile”, one of Power’s standout tracks.
Still, Black never expected she’d have to expend so much energy standing up for her artistic rights after she’d become one of South Africa’s most popular and awarded artists. There was even a moment when she thought, “what am I doing this for?”. “The music industry is not what it looks like from the outside,” the 25-year-old says, with just a flash of emotion. “Becoming a singer is not what you imagine. It’s a lot harder and a lot deeper. At that time, I asked myself, ‘do you even still love music’. I truly didn’t know if I could continue to keep fighting to be treated with respect and fairness. There was a part of me that thought maybe music should just be a hobby – that I should just return to that happy place where I play my music and sing, for myself, my family and my community and it feels good.”
But, in spite of feeling helpless and hopeless at times, deep down Black knew that she still adored this thing called music; that the dream she’s always had, of doing something that can change the world and heal people, remained intact. And so she went to the one place where she knew she could move through the dark and into the light and start writing music again: home.
“My family is like my compass,” Black says, her words laced with gratitude and love. “They are always there to support me, especially my mom. Whenever I go home, it’s to recharge. I can honestly say that being there is like getting my superpower back.”
Alongside allowing her to feel the energetic power of her roots and the love of her family, being home enabled Black to make sense of the journey she’d travelled so far. She’d learnt to play and write on the guitar at 16 and, as part of reclaiming the purity of her love for making music, she returned to the instrument within the safety of home. “The sound of the guitar soothes me, and it reminds of when I would write and play music with no conditions, with no expectations,” she says. Black also began working with the beats and melodies that she has on her phone, freestyling lyrics with no judgement or editing, letting her spirit feel its way forward through singing and playing and imagining.
With a renewed sense of her creative being propelling her, Black returned to Johannesburg. There she embarked on process of making Power and establishing her new label Afro Rockstar, in partnership with Sony Music. Power is a mix of autobiographical songs – a highlight is the light-hearted “Egoli” – and others, like first single “Thandwa Ndim”, that see Black giving impactful voice to the experiences of women in the current socio-political moment. The album features several love songs including “Lemme Go” and “Love Again”, and includes the stunning “Hamba”, a song about being thirsty for life, love, hope and happiness that features a chorus sampled from Margaret Singana’s “Hamba Bhekile” off “Shaka Zulu”.
Power sees Black once more working with producer Christer Kobedi and the album also has a special collaboration with keyboardist and producer, Kenneth Crouch. In the end, it’s an album of inspiration, of motivation and of integrity. As the next musical calling card of a South African global artist in-the-making, it’s breath-taking and is poised to bring Black back to where she belongs: performing beautiful music for music lovers everywhere
Women and access to justice
Despite persisting gender gaps, women across Africa continue to play critical roles in their communities. Yet, many women do not have equitable access to justice and leadership positions.
Expanding access to justice for women in Africa and achieving sustainable and equitable access to justice for women requires collective action and the inclusion of all actors- governments. Civil society, women and men.
This was said by Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University, Jarpa Dawuni. Dawuni said this collective action is anchored in an African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
“Thus, in order to address the widening gender inequality gap across the continent, African governments must act fast, but they can only go far if they bring women on board. Centering the voices and agency of
African women in decision making are key to achieving gender equality and expanding women’s access to justice.”
Dawuni stressed that in the early phases of the movements towards independence in Africa, some visionary leaders knew that the political development of the continent was closely linked to women’s active and equal participation.
“The early post-independence era, which soon cascaded into military dictatorships, eroded many hopes of women’s active and equal participation in governance structures. Patriarchal norms and processes inherited form the colonial administrations were institutionalized as the modus operandi for African bureaucratic and judicial systems.”
Today, according to Dawuni, notwithstanding the fact that women make up an estimated 50% of the continent’s population, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions from the community level to the executive, legislature, judiciaries, diplomatic and public service.
“Women and girls are often found in the most marginalized groups because systems of intersectional oppression converge to deprive these groups of their basic social, economic, political and legal rights.”
Dawuni highlighted that expanding access to justice for women requires institutional mechanisms that provide equitable opportunities for women and girls to seek and receive justice.
“However, tools to promote open, transparent and timely access to justice remain elusive for many African women and girls.”
According to the 2022 World Bank Women, Business and the Law report, billions of women worldwide lack access to their fundamental rights. The COVID-19 pandemic, Dawuni said, has set back women’s rights.
A sobering report by the World Economic Forum indicates it will take 132 years to close the gender equity gap. For women across sub-Saharan Africa, a 2019 Mckinsey report projects it will take an alarming 140 years to close the gender gap.
Girls are the women of tomorrow, and if their well-being is not prioritized, the continent of Africa is set for an impending tsunami of disastrous development challenges across all sectors.
“But there is hope- only if governments, civil society actors and funding bodies act with calculated expediency to address the widening gender equity gap. A commitment to not leaving behind women and girls requires that all efforts to address these challenges are handled simultaneously with gender-responsive intentionality. Women’s voices must be heard in the decisions that affect their livelihoods, reproductive health, personal safety and the right to leadership positions.”
To change the tide of this impending doom for more than half of their populations, Dawuni indicated that African leaders must prioritize gender-responsive policies that empower young girls and women through the provision of economic, educational and health opportunities.
“They also need to prioritize women’s access to justice and must move from “politics as usual” and be intentional in bringing women into the rooms where decisions are made about women’s lives and develop gender-responsive policies that are inclusive and sustainable.”
THE RETURN: Mahika Mahikeng is finally back!
In November last year, the Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation in North West, notified stakeholders that the Mahika Mahikeng Cultural Music festival will be held in March 2023.
Mahika Mahikeng is an annual music festival in the capital of North West province, Mahikeng. It first started in 2015 and the festival is earmarked to promote cultural and heritage tourism as well as celebrate the artists from the region with the rest of the country.
The festival also provides a platform for product, position and paradigm innovation for the creative industries sector in Bokone Bophirima and the development of Mahikeng as the capital of the arts in the country.
This week, organizers of the much-anticipated three-day festival hosted members of the media, including those from Botswana for a press conference in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The purpose really was to lay foundation and break ice on how everything about the event is going. Artists on the line up were also present to give a little taste of what they will be dishing patrons at the festival, which will be taking place on the 17th until 19th March at Mmabatho Stadium.
When addressing the media in Sandton on Wednesday, Mahika Mahikeng Ambassador, Stoan Seate, said Mahikeng has always been at the forefront of producing successful artists, and, the time has come for the same opportunity to be given to fledgling artists.
“We want to have a busy weekend that is entertaining, and that at the tailor end of COVID-19, we are able to bring back what makes people content. We have seen lot of events fail this past festive season because they didn’t go according to plan. This is why it is important for stakeholders to invest in these kinds of platforms. After all, it will benefit artists themselves and the economy of North West.”
MAHIKA MAHIKENG ADVANCES RELATIONS WITH BOTSWANA
Seate said the platform also strives to resuscitates and promote relations between North West and Botswana, that were there in the past.
“We know that we have a common history with Botswana, so for us it an opportunity to rewrite history as two countries that have a lot in common. We promise Batswana an event of top notch that is crime free, and this is something that we have seen happen in Botswana.”
When shedding light on whether there are Batswana artists performing at the Mahika Mahikeng, Seate said “We don’t have straight up Batswana artists but we have an artist who have roots from Botswana, MmaAusi. But with emotionally charged atmosphere, it is important when we resuscitate Mahika Mahikeng to have most of artists being local.”
He has however assured journalists that the December edition of Mahika Mahikeng will have international artists, including those from Botswana.
“We are going to have an activation in Botswana and I am certain that Batswana will suggest which artist they would like to see perform in our December festival. This will be an artist or artists who will attract more patrons from the country,” he said.
HOW MANY BATSWANA ATTEND MAHIKA MAHIKENG?
Organizers say they do not have exact figures of the number of Batswana who flock the music festival. However, according to South African Cultural Observatory report, in 2016, the most popular event was jazz, followed by Motswako.
It was reported that 65% of attendees were local residents. The average length of stay for non-local visitors was 1.5 nights and 2.35 days. 45% of visitors came for 1 day and did not stay overnight. 1.3% of the audience was from Botswana. Total Economic Impact on Mahikeng was calculated at R7 million.
INSIDE THE MAHIKA MAHIKENG LINE UP
The 2023 March edition has lined up powerhouses and music industry gurus. These artists leave an impressive mark on stage and are able to attract masses. The jazz festival has renowned singer and vocalist, Zonke of Feelings hit, as well as the legendary Ringo Madlngozi and Mma Ausi among others.
As for the Amapiano night, Scorpion Kings (Kabza De Small and DJ Maphorisa) are the headliners, to be assisted by Notshi, Fifi Cooper and Hash One. Joyous Celebration and Bucy Radebe will be leading other gospel artists at the gospel festival.