Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide with research showing that twice as many people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that without immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by about 80% by 2030, with most occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Even more alarming is that more than 60% of world’s total new annual cancer cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. These regions account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths.
These statistics show that each one of us has either been directly or indirectly affected by cancer. The impact is far reaching on a personal, family, corporate and national level as a cancer related deaths result in the loss of valuable skills and manpower and overloading of our countries financial resources. Sadly dependants are left to fend for themselves and can often fall through the cracks.
According to Dr Botho Mhoyza, cancer is a general term used to describe a large distinct group of diseases affecting any part of the body. Other medical terms used to describe cancer are “malignant tumours” and “neoplasms”. These diseases originate from one cell which grows abnormally and uncontrollably and in some cases proceeds to invade nearby tissues (“local infiltration”) and/or spreads to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system (“metastases”).
Metastases are therefore the major cause of death from cancer. Bomaid for the period 2011 to date has paid out claims worth P39 million for cancer treatments for an annual average of 235 members utilising the oncology benefit. The most common cancers within these groups of members being breast, prostate and cervical cancer.
Substantial progress has been made in recent years with regard to prevention and treatment options for certain cancers, however, despite this progress, cancer burden is increasing owing to a growing and aging global population as well as risk factors like smoking, obesity, and poor dietary patterns. Around one third of cancer deaths are due to the 5 leading behavioural and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, alcohol use. Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer causing around 20% of global cancer deaths and around 70% of global lung cancer deaths.
Cancer causing viral infections such as hepatitis B & C (HBV & HCV) and Human Papilloma virus (HPV) are responsible for up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
Research shows that one-third of cancer deaths can be prevented through screening tests, vaccinations, and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. Furthermore, early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. There are two major components of early detection of cancer: education to promote early diagnosis and screening. Increased awareness of possible warning signs of cancer leads to recognition of possible warning signs of cancer and finally taking prompt action leading to early diagnosis.
Bomaid has taken steps towards appropriately allocating resources to diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care and to annually monitor the effectiveness of these interventions and our oncology benefits in line with international best practices. However, the costs of providing these benefits continue to escalate. In 2014, Bomaid intensified its focus towards preventative healthcare and wellness by launching its screening and prevention benefit which is designed to help its members with screening and early detection of some diseases and ultimately improve outcomes. This benefit allows for screening once every 2 years for cervical cancer through pap smears for women aged 25-55 years, breast cancer through mammogram for women aged 40-70 years and prostate cancer through PSA test for men aged 40 years and above amongst many other diseases. Despite introduction of this benefit, uptake has been slow with an annual average of 1300 members utilising this benefit.
Bomaid has seen it fit to partner with The Botswana Cancer Association and Liberty Life Botswana in an effort to continue to raise awareness and educate the Bomaid membership and the Botswana population at large on cancer and the importance of screening and prevention and empowering them to make healthy lifestyle choices. These organisations have demonstrated a vested interest in reducing the burden of disease of cancer.
The month of October will see the return of the “Pink Friday Campaign”, which is Bomaid‘s breast cancer awareness campaign which will be hosted in the oncology wards of the 3 main hospitals, Princess Marina Hospital, Life Gaborone Private Hospital and Lenmed Bokamoso Private Hospital. On these Fridays Bomaid will bring supportto patients in these wards in an effort to lighten their mood and highlight their plight. Pink Friday kick-starts this Friday 7th October at Princess Marina Oncology Ward. Bomaid will also accompany The Cancer Association at their stalls on their Saturday mall visits. Breast cancer awareness month activities will culminate with the Association’s annual stiletto walk.
In November Bomaid will continue with the “Movember Campaign” which aims to bring awareness to issues of men’s health and in particular prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
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.