One of the Botswana’s most decorated actors, Donald Molosi is at it again- His Essay simply titled, Dear Upright African, continues to make international headlines in the media, marking his return in the year 2017 and bringing yet another beautiful read under his belt, as a play writer of note.
Dear Upright African was released as a post on his facebook page and the response all over the world became massive, making the 2000 worded essay one of the most forwarded essays by an African writer in recent years. Molosi’s now- viral essay comes at the heels of his critically acclaimed book, We Are All Blue being named one of the best African books of 2016 by critics worldwide.
His latest Hollywood film ‘A United Kingdom’ (2016) was last week nominated for five National Film Awards (Britain’s equivalent of Oscars). Such internationally successful projects in the previous year created anticipation as to what Molosi would write or perform this year. Dear Upright African has ended that suspension and it is already causing a lot of excitement around the world as an untold story of Africa’s schools.
Within 12 hours of release, Dear Upright African had been widely shared online, and already picked up by international newspapers. Within 24 hours after Molosi’s initial Facebook post, the essay was already translated by his fans all over the world into all the official languages of the United Nations. There is even hope for a sequel as evidenced by the comments on social media. But, what is the essay about?
The renowned author and actor who is currently travelling through Southern Africa engaging the media on the subject of decolonizing the African classroom, said in an interview with Trans Africa Radio in Johannesburg last week, that many people are connected with the arguments in the esay because there is a new African in the world, as Kwame Nkrumah predicted there would be, and that African is not content with always being taught his history only by former colonial powers.
“In a way, I communed with those upright Africans who imagine for themselves a decolonized curriculum for our continent’s children. The essay is concerned about the ‘miseducation’ of Africa’s young”, he narrated. In another interview last week on Kaya FM in Johannesburg, Donald Molosi stated that unlike his previous work, ‘Dear Upright African’ is much more opinionated. He told the station that the essay is packed with fact and opinion in equal measure. He emphasised the need to be diligent with fact, obviously. But he also did not want to hide his opinions as he laments the lack of African history in African classrooms because, in there, lies an untold African story.
“I want to start a continental conversation and so I open that continental conversation with my own personal experiences as someone who attended the first twelve years of school in Botswana. I look forward to giving lectures around the world on the matter as I do with all my projects”, reiterated Molosi.
Written in the form of a letter, the essay highlights his personal journey to re-educate himself about Africa. In the essay, Molosi says that his critically-acclaimed book, “We Are All Blue,” was his way of supplementing his own lack of knowledge of Botswana and Africa. Molosi further hinted that the essay may soon be used in institutions of higher learning around the world. His book, “We Are All Blue” is already being taught in several universities in the United States.
In his own words, Molosi said it is tragic and ironic that Africa still imports most of her story from abroad whether be in her textbooks, or films or plays. He contended that privileging the world’s fiction of us over own equally valid versions of our history in our classrooms is worth re-evaluating. His other view is that parents on the African continent are more concerned than ever before about the education which their children are receiving because so many of their children hold university degrees but hold no jobs.
“It is a structural question, and it is a question of whether we are willing to re-imagine curricula to increase the chances of success for Africa’s young people or not,” he said. Many influential literary figures from around the world hailed Molosi’s essay on social media including Zukiswa Wanner (author of London, Cape Town Jo’burg), Caine Prize winner, Binyavanga Wainaina (author of One Day I Will Write About This Place) and Abubakar (author of A Season of Crimson Blossoms) who either commented or shared the essay on their own personal pages. Iconic author of Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga also praised Molosi for the essay and for highlighting how African schools remain colonized.
Dangarembga said that she related to Molosi’s essay. She wrote, “My daughter told me of underwear checks at school – black for us, beige for girls with bi-racial heritage, white for whites as recently as 4 years ago.” Donald Molosi is a classically- trained actor and award- winning playright. He holds an MA in performance Studies from UCSB, a Graduate Diploma in Classical Acting from LAMDA, and a BA in Political Science and Theatre from Williams College. ‘Dear Upright African’ is available online on numerous websites online and also on Molosi’s social media pages under @ActorDonald.
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.