A young Motswana artist, Phenyo Saidoo is living his artistic dream; Nandos Botswana through its Global Art Initiative has given him a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase his talent throughout the country.
The young painter’s works will now greet customers across Botswana as he has been engaged to give the “home of grilled peri peri” a face lift. His mission is to solely bring to life Nandos stores interior designs and bring out a more tailor- made and culture centred invention across their stores.
The Nando’s Global Art Initiative was launched in 2001 and it has since been supporting South African contemporary art while showcasing artworks in over 1000 restaurants in over 24 countries. The Nando’s Art Initiative boasts a collection of over 11 000 pieces. When WeekendLife caught up with the young Saidoo, the artist who last week, Nandos brought on board to revamp its local look, he was finishing off paintings on two garage doors at their head office in Commerce Park.
The soft spoken Lobatse born Saidoo, recalled how he dropped out of school while studying Information Technology to pursue his passion. He would start off using pencil for his art works, until he was confident enough to produce bigger pieces and with paint. It was never a rosy start as friends and family harshly criticised his decision of dropping out of school.
Every day he tries to prove to them that he did not err when he chose to pursue art, and that he can indeed make a living from art. Currently, he is a resident artist at Thapong Visual Arts Centre and exhibits with the Test Kitchen in Broadhurst. He has vast experience working with pencil on landscape drawings but he also enjoys doing portraits.
Recently Saidoo held a solo exhibition in Lobatse themed ‘I live to create’ where he showcased his recent projects including his abstract sculptures which he has started paying more attention to. While he conceded that he makes considerable income from his art, he said the challenge is that the material they use is very expensive.
“Working with Nandos is a dream come true for me. I have always believed that as an artist you need to work hard and let your work speak for you, that’s how Nando’s came to know of me”, he said. Further, Saidoo encouraged Batswana to support the arts by buying artists’ works and not just commending them. To him, buying an art piece is akin to an investment. His future ambitions include collaborating with the much celebrated portrait artist, Wilson Ngoni.
Nandos Botswana has shown commitment to the Art Initiative with the re-launch of the African Mall restaurant. The restaurant began its operations in Botswana in 1993. It was only fitting that this restaurant be the one that, for the first time, engages a young Motswana artist to bring the interior design to life.
Another young Motswana, Kenny Ketshotseng, a young painter from Molepolole, demonstrated his brush skills in up cycling previously used chairs, with vivid colours as envisioned by Egg Design. The chair installation is now sitting pretty at the all-new African Mall restaurant.
“Nando’s Botswana has been living its role as the art custodian of the flame-grill. The time is now to fire up Botswana’s art industry,” said Maipelo Moatshe, Assistant Marketing Manager at Nando’s Botswana. She further explained that they will be working with Saidoo for an unspecified period of time and they will be marketing him and hope more doors will open up for him in the future.
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.