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The Nkadzi provoke

Three of Botswana’s most revered thespians and playwrights Lebogang Disele; Tumisang Baatshwana and Moduduetso Lecoge are hard at work, and will stage Nkadzi, a production that seeks to address mental health and gender issues in Botswana on July 21 at the University of Botswana.

Lecoge got her big break through her solo, ‘A woman of Many Firsts’ last year. The play was the story of Dr. Gaositwe Chiepe, who happens to be Lecoge’s grandmother. Nkadzi is an all-female production produced by all-round theatre maker, Disele. Her hope is that through the play, women can get their voices heard, and that in future more women can tell their stories the way they want to be heard.

Though an all-round theatre maker, Disele’s main areas of focus are acting and directing. Before leaving to pursue her PhD in Edmonton, Canada, she was actively involved in helping develop the performing arts industry in Botswana.
This includes her being a dancer with Sky Blue Dance Hub from its inception until April 2015, performing in the company’s first production, Keneilwe – A Dance for the Given in December 2013 and at the 2014 Maitisong Festival, as well as the 2015 Maitisong Festival production, X. Other of her performance credits include the 2013 Maitisong headlining show, Pula! Money Matters, playing several characters and Madi Majwana: Stories from your Pocket radio drama in 2014 and 2015.

In Nkadzi, she is co-producing with theatre greats alike. Baatshwana is an award-winning writer, director, dancer, choreographer, performer, and is also the Founder of Sky Blue Dance Hub, Dance Consultant for The Company@Maitisong and a provisionally accredited Trainer with the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA). She is a well-rounded artist who has choreographed dance works such as Keneilwe: A Dance for the Given, X and ONE. She is a radio drama script writer who has worked on the Barclays Bank sponsored Madi Majwana: Stories from Your Pocket Seasons 1 – 3 and Season 1 of the Sky Girls Radio Drama, Matswaka Bae: Staying True In The Mix. 

Baatshwana holds the 2013 Bessie Head Literature Award for second runner up in the Short Story Category. Further, she has performed on local and international stages in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa. In 2014, she was a co-presenter at Performing the World conference in New York, USA where she presented about the role of performing arts in social development.

“I have always been interested in using theatre and performance to address issues of gender in Botswana. Going into my PhD I was really curious about what happens to young women after graduation because it seemed like we have so many educated and hardworking women and yet that was not translating into more women in leadership positions. So I became interested in exploring the internal barriers women are facing that stop them from reaching for the opportunities that are there,” Disele told WeekendLife.

Nkadzi will take head on the prevalent issue of women abuse and sexual assault and mental issues. “We were looking at how patriarchal culture becomes internalized and how that affects one's mental health and how that in turn affects their ability and/or willingness to lead,” she revealed further.  

Nkadzi is iKalanga for woman.

The trio hopes that women who will come see the play will also use the opportunity to network.

“The reason I want to use theatre is to get women talking to each other and introspecting,” opines Disele. “I feel like if we can pool our resources we can extend our spheres of influence to bring about real change, self awareness and strength from hearing their stories told,” she added.

The play will start at 7pm at UB’s Block 253 room 1(old student centre).

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Self-taught fashion designer speaks

26th July 2022

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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Gospel awards re-organised

26th July 2022

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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Makhadzi, Master KG invade Thamaga

18th July 2022

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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