Time to sit and reminisce about the past is now when the fun thrilled annual Son of The Soil (SOTS) returns on the weekend of the 25th February, 2017, with the theme ‘Kwa re go yang – Re Kgabile’.
The sub-theme for the 2017 event ‘Re Kgabile’ is meant to celebrate the centrality of dress to important events in Botswana culture. The organisers of the event said this year they will be celebrating the different traditional dresses and current national dress styles. This is especially important in helping address the question of a national dress for Botswana. “As Bana ba Mmala we especially connect with the Setswana go kgaba, as it speaks to the process in Setswana culture when a people would take time off to cut sebilo soil to use as makeup.
The overarching theme for SOTS in the period 2015 to 2024 events is ‘Kwa re go yang’ which is meant to show that culture will be one of the pillars for national development, as the organisers strongly believe that development must be anchored on a strong national identity.
The sub- theme works whether one casts it as meaning the present (We are Well Dressed) or as meaning the future (We Will be Well Dressed). Either way it portrays the same meaning of the right dress for the right occasion being central to a Motswana’s identity. There are specific dresses to reflect celebrations, mourning periods, work, leisure and age sets. It speaks to the need to go back and rediscover the national dress. This is a dress that may be more fitting for the type of weather, a dress that helps us in rediscovering our national pride. It is a dress that helps with easy identification of a Motswana in a Globally Connected World.
Bana ba Mmala believe all the events that they will be holding during SOTS 2017 and all the various venues, that is, the workshop, the relaxed Friday evening and the main event on Saturday, present a great opportunity for their sponsors to deliver their messages and also demonstrate their love for the people of this country by showcasing their support for the Botswana way of life. Son of the Soil is targeted at the young and upwardly mobile urban dweller who wants to keep in touch or reconnect with their culture.
Both the Main Event and the Pitsong Workshop will be used to investigate, identify and celebrate the tribal and national dresses of Botswana. The two events will also aim to demonstrate the evolution from historical to futuristic cultural dress in Botswana. The event continues to attract media attention and organisers always make it a point to ensure they move it around venues in Gaborone, so as to spread the promotional value of the event.
The 2017 event will be held at the Serokolwane Lawns in the Oodi- Matebeleng area. Those attending the event may wish to also familiarise themselves with the rich history of the Oodi Matebeleng area. Given sensitivities around the environment in general, the organisers of ‘Son of the Soil’ commit to making sure there is very little impact by the event on the environment around the venue.
“We want to assure our sponsors that we have held this event at venues that are environmentally sensitive such as Mokolodi Nature Reserve and Notwane river area and to date we have never had neither the authorities nor our hosting partners give any negative feedback on the impact of the event on the environment”, Pontsho Pusoetsile, one of the event organisers explained.
He indicated that SOTS 2017 will be a two-day event on the weekend of the Main Event. They will additionally have the Pitsong Workshop on the Friday of the week before the main event, so that it may get the publicity it deserves. The Workshop continues to produce a lot of material demonstrating how far they have gone in terms of continually keeping the Setswana culture current and relevant.
The plan started off with a cultural workshop yesterday (Friday 17th February) during the day. The Pitsong Workshop targets the organisers of similar events from across the country to come and learn from cultural and traditional leaders on how culture can best be preserved. Bana ba Mmala are very proud of the leadership role that Son of the Soil cultural event has been building in the cultural preservation space and they want to continue to grow this area nationally.
The Pitsong Workshop will also be taken as another building block on top of the research that they have been conducting annually on cultural themes and publishing in a booklet format. On the evening of Friday 24th February they will invite patrons to a relaxed session of mainane, maboko, song and dance. This Friday evening session, which is known as Metswaisong Evening Chillas, will be held at the same venue as the main event. The event is targeted at those that wish to get up close and personal with Setswana culture.
Activities for the Metswaisong Evening Chillas are targeted at making one feel a reconnection with their culture or leave one feeling a new found admiration for Setswana culture and its many nuances. Bana ba Mmala highlighted that they have had challenges with some of their patrons not buying into the entry conditions of the event.
This year they clarified that the entry conditions are put in place to protect the brand that is SOTS. This event is used by sponsors and promoters of cultural tourism in Botswana to promote the Botswana culture globally. It would as such be self- defeating to have pictures and videos of the event full of cooler boxes, western type drinks and mixed dress, they contended.
The argument is that, if people are allowed to do as they please, they will leave the sponsors and promoters of cultural tourism with nothing to sell. “On the part of our patrons as well, SOTS has become a family event, so getting rid of the entry conditions could take away the child friendly elements to the event.
So as Bana ba Mmala we believe the entry conditions to SOTS should continue to be enforced, to ensure our sponsors, Botswana tourism promoters and our Event Details for SOTS 2017 Page 7 patrons continue to benefit from a product that is easy to predict and is geared at the whole family”, reads a statement from SOTS.
Bana ba Mmala has become a part of Gaborone calendar in the 13 years it has been running. The traditional themed dress code of the event has also encouraged a growth area in the fashion industry. This trend has of late been visible in the sudden modernisation of the leteitse among the young and upwardly mobile members of society. They have also seen a rise in the exploration of letlalo (leather) among the male attendees. As Bana ba Mmala we are very proud of this little contribution that we have made to the Botswana national dress and we hope to continue to lead in other areas with help from our sponsors”, said Pusoetsile.
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.