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.
You will know a tree by its fruits, the same way you will know a music producer by their works.
Top music producers in the country have set themselves apart through the quality music they produce and reap the results of international recognition from as far as the United States of America.
These producers are behind every star performer, listening and analyzing each and every note. When artists perform a vocal swell, rising to an octave that sounds like it’s going to shatter voice box, it’s easy to forget that someone was on the other side of the glass asking questions like, “Can you hit that note every night, or will it hurt too badly? Maybe we should lower the octave to save your voice?”
Producers make hundreds of decisions in each song, not to mention the push and pull relationships they have with talented performers.These relationships can make or break careers. Some of your favorite bands and artists wouldn’t be so memorable without a great producer helping to guide their distinct voices.
Kagiso Kenosi, or better known as Fella in the entertainment industry, is only 31-years old but he has already left his imprint in the music industry. The young chap, originally from Palapye, is not in the industry to add numbers, but to do his magic working behind the scenes producing hit song after hit song.
When most producers went to school to produce the hits that we hear today, Fella’s foundation and passion for producing came from being active in church.
“I grew up in a catholic orientated family where music is the essence of our religion. The love for music in its entirety emerged from enjoying singing at church and blossomed over the years as I grew up, being exposed to the internet and software’s such as fruity loops.”
Fella says he then learnt how to make beats and proceeded with vocal processing so besides the love for music, he had an amazing group of people who helped him reach his life dream; being the best in music production. The sky was the limit for Fella.
Unfortunately for so many music producers locally, this kind of hustle is basically about being famous. Some of them bite off more than they can chew just for a quick buck that doesn’t even go a long away for them. At the end of it all, these fly by night prima-donnas end up cutting corners and producing subpar records which eventually leads to a premature death for their careers.
Fella’s advice is that fellow colleagues should be patient and continue learning the craft, even if it means taking online tutorials. “Even though I’m still learning too, for I believe music is a fast infinite universe where no one can never say they know it all, I think believing in what one does, the level of creativity and being able to stand alone can do magic.
We living in an era where people go through a lot, so it is imperative for a music producer to be able to relate to those kind of situations. This takes only the right instrumentals, which will compliment emotions of an artist.”
The most asked question outside the music industry is; who chooses the instruments for a song, is it the artist or the producer? Fella gave his take;
“I make instrumentals and keep them until an artist comes to work on a song. That’s when I advise on whether I think the concept they chose goes hand in hand with the instrumentals. We will then look for a more appropriate song.
In some cases, artists can come and we record vocals without an instrumental and then get to make a beat on top of the recorded vocal which in that case guides me to make a relevant instrumental,” he said in an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Wednesday.
Digging more into finding the difference between a producer and an engineer, Fella clarified that there is not much difference. There is actually a thin line between the two even though an engineer does more than a producer when dishing out a song.
“We use the word production to credit people who only make beats. Engineers are people who record vocals, clean them, do the mixing and master the song preparing the record for radio. I must say an engineer, does the critical components of a song.”
As young as he is, Fella has been through thick and thin with young artists. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions, because, frankly some of these fledging artists are way too complicated to work with. Fella admits that he too has flaws but c’est la vie, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
“It’s always a blessing and quite exciting because these different people of different energies and mind-sets and creativity will humble you. It’s a chastening experience and also accords me with experience to manoeuvre and adjust to people with different characters.
So truly, it has helped me grow as a person, and a producer.”
Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is known for its bad reputation that has been getting worse over the years. There has been a lot of chinwag, squabbles and the organization literally lost touch. It has gotten so bad that stakeholders pulled out, and members were left with no choice but to face the music alone.
Just when you’d think the waters are calm, the new Executive Committee awarded a fledgling company, Total Music Group, to handle the 2021 music awards. This move was seen as a biased decision that got BOMU members bent out of shape.
However, BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Rasina told Weekendlife that the Executive Committee that it has many irons in the fire. He indeed admitted without reluctance that, BOMU has been clouded by hubbub.
“We pledged when the new administration took over that it would begin with cleaning our own house. We have built structures as we had promised and we are glad that they are fully functional. One of those is the disciplinary committee.”
“BOMU has for a long time appeared to be lacking discipline and proper laid down procedures. This has led to the organization losing out big in its endeavour to serve its members and the entire music fraternity. The National Executive Committee, chapter committees and sub-committees have committed to ensuring that non proper governance and accountability shall take centre stage and this is all that is happening,” Rasina told Weekendlifeon Tuesday.
Rebuilding and rebranding a disintegrated intuition such as BOMU is not just a walk in the park, it needs concerted efforts and team work to actually reach that goal. A stitch in time saves nine, but as for BOMU, the entire union failed to address its dares a long time ago, but the union says everything is on track in recuperating public trust and fixing the mess created then.
BOMU Research and Policy Committee is hard finalizing a new code of conduct which will contribute significantly to how members and leadership conduct themselves and relate with each other for the furtherance of BOMU’s mandate, Weekendlifehas been reliably informed.
“We are doing everything according to our constitution, logic and reason. We advise our members that they should point out where the constitution has been breached and that they are at liberty to follow due process and report any misconduct to the disciplinary committee,” said Rasina.
This is following the suspension of some executive committee members and BOMU subscribed members for questioning the integrity in awarding the music awards tender. Some members, told Weekendlife that they will seek legal advice on the matter.
“We do have members who have already appeared before the disciplinary committee on various charges and decisions are yet to be taken. We also have members who are yet to appear before the committee for various complaints levelled against them. Current suspensions are related to various complaints and offences.”
With regard to appointing Total Music Group, BOMU National Executive Committee says it used Article 9.3.19 of its constitution. The article says; “The National Executive Committee of BOMU shall have the authority to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the Union.’’
Rasina says the leadership needed a company to manage, host and sell the BOMU awards for five years consecutively so as to attain stability and refurbish the brand image of both the music awards and the organization. “Without any money at our disposal, we debated on the best model and agreed that we should engage a company that also has the capacity to mobilize resources. We used our discretion and decided on a direct appointment model which is perfectly legal and constitutional.”
To a stranger, Seneo Perry would describe herself as a young darling zealous about wildlife conservation, international travel and tourism enthusiast.
She is also a staunch believer in empowering young children through educational programs that could expose them to live improved livelihoods.
Perry is a former beauty queen (Miss Earth Botswana 2020). For her, a beauty queen should get down and put in some work, get dirt and make an impact. Of course a picture paints a thousand words, and judging from her successful projects, she lives the talk.
During her reign, Perry adopted the SOS Children’s Village. This is a home for 92 orphaned and less privileged children. She introduced few projects to aid the running of the children village, at the same time sourcing sponsors. She named one of her projects ‘Restoring the Prime Colors of the Earth.’
Restoring The Prime Colors of the Earth was founded on the basis of teaching children about the importance of conservation and environmental protection through tree planting and vegetable gardens.
The project, she told Weekendlife this week, gained local and international recognition, particularly from tourism magazines.
COVID-19 came over and messed up her strategies for the year. Perry however did not cry over spilt milk instead she was smart enough to divert into other streams of raising funds to execute her obligations.
Perry did not put all of her eggs in one basket by doing something that could make her get infected, but rather sold t-shirts that would double as a promotion strategy dubbed #PeopleWildlifeEnvironment. To this date, she raised over P7000.
“I love being out in the wild and promoting sustainable tourism. I would then pick the best 10 children that worked very hard at the project I have with them and introduce them to the wild with the money I raised,” she said in an exclusive interview.
“The idea is to stick to making the trip for the children educational especially on the aspect of conservation because realistically speaking tourism is the backbone of conservation.
I want them to have first-hand experience with the African elephant and visit the Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation in Maun. Unfortunately due to floods in Moremi Game Reserve, the plan of a game drive has been aborted.”
Initially, Perry says she wanted the children to have been those from the SOS Children’s Village. She had to put them on ice due to insufficient funds to transport them to Maun. This however did not dishearten Perry, instead she located Bana Ba Letsatsi (in Maun) to embark on this journey.
She told Weekendlife that the trip will be undertaken today (Saturday 20th March 2021).“Tourism has always been the backbone of conservation and it needs to be protected. Therefore, it is imperative to introduce children to wild spaces so they get to appreciate the ecosystem in the wild.
These young children will be leaders and decision makers in the near future. Decisions made will either cause a catastrophe to the wild or help it recover to a point wherein both humans and animals co-exist.
Seneo Perry is an environmentalist equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University and Miss Earth Botswana 2019 finalist. She was crowned Queen in 2020.
She is also a member of Kalahari Conservation Society, a conservation society which is instrumental in environmental initiatives and activities that concern the environment.