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Mayor Thutlwe’s city transformation on course

Despite the controversy surrounding his reign as Gaborone City Council Mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe’s plan to keep Gaborone alive and vibrant is not taking strain. His inaugural Mayor’s Cup was a hit, and his impending mayor’s marathon will leave the same impression, STAFF WRITER DAVE BAAITSE observes.

Thutlwe is the youngest Mayor Gaborone has ever had, at 33. He is currently serving his second term amid controversy from the opposition flank, to which he belongs. He is being accused of being too cosy with the leading Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and its leader, President Ian Khama. He was elected into office after Haskins Nkaigwa who is now the Member of Parliament for Gaborone North. During his tenure Nkaigwa faced a lot of hostility from his councillors who had always wanted to pass a motion of no confidence on him. His leadership was criticized based solemnly on favouritism and political alignment at the chambers.

Thutwe’s focal point and emphasis has always been to bring about a harmonious working environment despite his party affiliation. A high spirited young mayor, Thutwe who is well known for his ever jovial mood quickly attained celebrity status. He has never shied away from from attending Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) functions where he is invited as a Mayor. Last year towards the build up to the BOT 50 celebrations opposition parties called for the boycott of the celebrations but Thutlwe actively participated in the events, a move that angered his comrades from the struggle.

After being nominated for the second time early this year, Thutlwe said his focus is to transform Gaborone into the diamond city, and keep it vibrant and lively. He engages on activities that try to bring the city together and springs life to the people. To keep to his word, Thutwe keeps up with the latest fashion trends, adopting styles and a wardrobe that accommodates his new outgoing nature-be it at red carpt or black tie events. His sociable nature, hanging out at the city’s up market restaurants and drinking spots with his colleagues afforded him the opportunity to meet and dine with ordinary people. This, he argues makes him more accessible as a mayor, something that has accorded him a lot of respect and adoration from the community. Despite his busy schedule at the office, he makes time to meet people outside the office.

Thutlwe even plays ‘Sunday Soccer,’ and has a football team in Bontleng that plays almost every weekend to socialise and build relations as well as to give back to the community by engaging in charitable projects. In a recent interview with WeekendLife, the mayor described himself as a happy man living a free life. “People always accuse me of my smile, I was born like that and I cannot pretend, that is me,” he said. He challenged WeekendLife to visit his Facebook timeline to see all pictures of him where he wears the same smile in all his timeline photos. He further stressed that he sees no problem with partying the nights away, as a young man enjoying his bachelorhood.

He rubbishes fears that his close relations, and engaging with the ruling party would lead to him crossing the floor to the other side. His detractors say that partying at expensive lounges around town such as Boulevard in Phakalane and Capello at CBD in the company of some BDP diehards is just a ploy by them (BDP) to lure him to their side. According to Thutlwe, he has employed a rather poles apart strategy to engage with the Government of the day to get the job done. “If you differ with people, it does not mean you have to fight them. I am a diehard member of the Botswana National Front (BNF) but I will engage with everyone starting with the President to Cabinet Ministers and everyone else,” he reiterated. He does not shy away from commenting on his partying ways and his love for the devil’s waters. Those are some of the perks that come with being the city’s head boy, he insists as he laughs out loud.

His next event, the Gaborone Mayor’s Marathon is slated for September 16th,  at the National Stadium and has already attracted a half a million sponsorship from giant retailer, Choppies. The marathon has three categories, the 42km, 10km and the 5km fun run. The winner of the main event will pocket P50, 000 and the tickets and application forms for the marathon are already on sale at all Choppies and Liqourama stores.

The mayor announced earlier this week that the city had come up with the initiative to host an annual marathon with a view to energise city residents in areas such as health and wellness, tourism boost, employment, infrastructure development, technology development and advancement and unity of the people. He further said the event would be used for the development of the city as all proceeds from the marathon would be used to improve the lives of the people. His inaugural Mayor’s Cup football tournament last weekend was won by newly promoted Sharps Shooting Stars.

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WeekendLife

Self-taught fashion designer speaks

26th July 2022
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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.

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WeekendLife

Gospel awards re-organised

26th July 2022
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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.

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WeekendLife

Makhadzi, Master KG invade Thamaga

18th July 2022
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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.

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