Comfortable in her black skin, Motso Ratsie is an award winning and seasoned actress with a vast experience spanning over nine years.
As a local act, one of her breakthroughs was lending a role as a call actor in one of the South African soapies, Scandal, playing Jemina. Her artistic performances reflect her exceptional skill of entrenched interpretation of the characters she portrays. She continues to appear on South African television screens with more roles in Z’bondiwe and Saints and Sinners 2.
This coming month, at the annual Maitisong Festival, she will stage her latest production, The Signature which she directs and has a role as a character. The Signature gives an overview of real life issues including unemployment, sexual favours and passion killings amongst others.
In this tragic theatrical piece, we meet Molatlhwa, a 33 year old handy man who tries his best to make ends meet in order to impress and support his girlfriend Mosa, who since graduating from school struggles to find employment. These two are deeply in love and they have vowed to stay together despite all challenges. As the play unfolds Mosa faces a serious dilemma when the only way she can finally have a job is to sleep with a wealthy businessman.
In desperation she decides to give in. Molatlhwa catches them in the act and he feels totally betrayed by the woman he has done everything for and he decides to take a decision that he thinks is best for both of them. What is the decision? This question will be answered in the night of the production play at Maitisong Theatre when The Signature reaches its climax. Ratsie plays the role of a Mmaago Mosa, a village single mum with two kids. Even though she didn’t graduate herself, she does everything for her kids.
Being a local actor and having struggled to finally make it outside the borders, Ratsie says the challenge facing the local industry is lack of financial support. “The support isn’t there yet where we wish it could be, but it’s getting better though. Batswana want to see first before investing, or sponsoring a production. And then this is a male dominated industry, so at times as a woman some will doubt you because you always have to face them and it’s even more interesting,” she said.
Like many local actors, Motso, as she is passionately called, started acting in school plays and traditional dance groups as a school girl. The young determined girl continued perfecting her craft in community theatre groups, before going professional and breaking into television. As a mother, daughter and socially conscious black woman who continues to defy odds, she is a strong believer in empowering and emancipating the girl child. As a Christian woman, her life is not only built around passion for the craft, but compassion for others.
In addition to her acting career, Motso has a knack for business administration and has studied Human Resource Development. On a social entrepreneurship front, she is part of collective that registered and runs an NGO that addresses issues of gender based violence. She is currently the CEO of the House Of Comfort PTY Ltd that is operational in Botswana.
BACKGROUND ON THE FESTIVAL
This year, Maitisong is proud to celebrate three decades of arts promotion, raising the professional bar in the creative industry, making careers and connecting Batswana artists with their international counterparts. In its 30 years running, Maitisong Festival is undoubtedly the biggest arts festival in Botswana. International and local artists bring theatre, music, dance, poetry and comedy to fee audiences in several venues around Gaborone.
The 2017 theme, Enrich, extends from 2016’s Engage and 2015’s Elevate. All the themes reflect the need to professionalize the arts by pushing the envelope and the bar higher, and ensuring that professionals work together and with audiences and sponsors to upgrade their game. The 2017 theme seeks to encourage artists to earn a decent living out of their talent, as is the case in other countries.
Maitisong Festival 2017 is scheduled for 1st – 11th April at various venues around Gaborone. With a varied and exciting line up of events, the Festival, once again, will bring brilliant home brewed and international shows to provide an unforgettable experience for the audiences. There will be free and paid events to ensure that everyone gets a piece of the action.
SNEAK PREVIEW OF PERFORMANCES
Artists from far and near join this ten-day, roller-coaster shindig. Billed to perform at this year’s festival are performers from Botswana and South Africa. The Festival Opening Night will be graced by international band Kgalagadi Soul; Botswana’s beloved four-string guitar master Sereetsi and the Natives, of the famous tunes Robete and Thaa Kokome, makes up one third of this band. He performs alongside Aus Tebza (ZA) and Mumba Yachie (ZM) on the Tuesday, 4th April at 7:30pm at Maitisong. Admission is P200, inclusive of refreshments.
Hailing from Limpopo province in South Africa, Generations actor Moses D. Rasekele is bringing a double bill to the Maitisong Festival. The two theatre performances, Nasty Burn and 2-Late, promise to be nothing but the best. In comedy, Soweto Comedy Festival battles it out with Botswana’s funniest. Chris Mapane and Tumi Stopnonsons are back again to face off with Botswana’s rising, comedy star Bambino, the legendary MOD, Rib Cracker, and the new, funny kid on the block Johnny. They will crack ribs on Friday, 7th April at 7:30pm and admission is only P150.
Mandy Promotions brings back A Day before Execution while The Company@Maitisong extends Barclays Madi Majwana to those who missed the recent launch and tour. At Stanbic Bank Piazza, expect Socca Moruakgomo’s acclaimed musical Moratiwa and the internationally renowned, one man show from Cape Town titled, Pay for the Curry on Tuesday, 11th April.
Avani Hotel & Casino will host the third annual Fashion without Borders on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th April. In addition to screenings, readings and workshops, lovers of spoken word will be treated to a Poetry Slam and an Acoustic Café at Dros, featuring the best of local poetry. The flagship Old Naledi Outdoor Music Show promises to be bigger and better. Supported by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture annually, this concert will come at a later stage and will extend beyond Gaborone this time around.
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.