Kagiso Thutlwe this week whitewashed Rhoda Sekgororoane to retain his mayoral position – a move that surprised many; particularly due to his alleged sell out tendencies and the infamous sell out smile. His rendezvous in President Ian Khama’s OK1 jet; dining and wining the city’s elite, the close relations to the ruling party, the condemnation and all – the Gaborone City Mayor will not let go of his signature smile to please anyone, writes DAVE BAAITSE.
Perhaps everyone believed that he had reached the end of the road and would not see the light of day come election this past week. More often than not, Thutlwe has found himself in hot soup as his comrades accused him of living a life that did not reflect the struggle. While he said being elected for yet another term as the city’s Mayor will afford him the opportunity to continue his efforts of transforming Gaborone into a Diamond City, Thutlwe is adamant he will not change his character.
He is of the view that his critics do not understand leadership. The young mayor describes himself as a happy man living a free life. “People always accuse me of my signature smile, I was born like that and I cannot pretend, that is me,” he said. He challenged WeekendLife to his Facebook timeline to see all pictures of him where he wore the same signature smile in many of his timeline photos. He further stressed that he sees no problem with partying the nights away, as a young man enjoying his bachelorhood.
According to him, 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 said. 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.
Recently, a picture of him with former US president George Bush broke the internet-but for all the wrong reasons; it was a meme! His smile had brought him more condemnation, with the picture being captioned ‘The smile of blacks around whites that saw Africans being colonised’. In the photograph, Thutlwe was laughing his lungs out, with his mouth stretched to maximum elasticity. Commenting on the moment that made him victim to the viral meme world, Thutlwe said that he and former president Bush were only sharing a light moment and Bush had commented that at his age (Thutlwe) he would have not made Mayor in the US.
Who is Kagiso Thutlwe?
His Worship Kagiso Calvin Thutlwe, 33 is the current Mayor of Gaborone City serving his second term. Born in Mochudi he started his primary school in Shoshong where he met Nehemiah Modubule and was recruited into the United Socialist Party at a tender age. At the time, he said, they were fascinated by singing struggle songs and recruiting more members into the movement and were being led by a veteran politician, an ally of Modubule, George Alfred.
His rise in student politics started as early as his days at Naledi Senior in Gaborone where he made his way into the Council of Students. The journey continued at the University of Botswana (UB) where he was introduced to the political ground and was mentored by some BNF stalwarts of the University at the time, amongst others Nelson Ramaotwana. He said lecturers such as Elmon Tafa and Dr Sebina also helped mentor and refine his ideology as a communist. He also learnt a lot from Bushi Manamola, a former South African Communist who was also a very close ally of the movement.
Upon his graduation, the former UB Student Representative Council (SRC) President became a BNF activist and won the 2014 General Elections as the Village Ward Councillor in Gaborone and was also elected City Mayor unopposed. He made history becoming one of the youngest Mayors in Africa.
His role as a Mayor
His biggest role as a Mayor is to supervise the council and to make sure they take services to the people. He said he is mandated to make sure that there are no potholes in the city, roads are well maintained and lights are working perfectly. He pointed that currently one of their challenges is that of lack of offices. He said they have been fighting the issue for a very long time now and during his second term in office he wishes to see that come to pass.
Thutlwe said at the top of his wish list, is seeing their plot at the Central Business District (CBD) being developed. He is also working on the long proposed motion by his predecessor Haskins Nkaigwa to develop the Bus Rank Terminal. He said the terminal can be privatised and benefit a lot of young entrepreneurs.
He said they have also been funded to develop the Bonnington Farm. In Mogoditshane, immediately opposite Grand Palm hotel entrance and the Bonnington shopping mall stands two sets of silo quadrants and a ruined farm house. According to research these were built by Dan Le Cordeur Sr. and his wife Rene a few years after purchasing the farm in 1944. Dan Le Cordeur Sr. was formerly from Capetown but his father was of French Huguenot descent.
Le Cordeur Sr. was a farmer, cattle baron and businessman who at one time owned the entire land from Broadhurst to the foot of Kgale Hill, at least 3 shops in Kgale, Gabane and what is now the Bonnington shopping mall. The site was listed as a National Monument in 2006 and the silos recently restored through the Adopt a Monument Strategy of the National Museum in a collaboration started with Plascon Freeworld, PG Timbers and BMB. The Mayor says he also has plans to create a foundation that will assist struggling students in continuing their education, as well as continue with motivational speaking in schools.
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.”
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.
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.