Zimbabwean Jazz maestro, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi is due for his annual pilgrimage at Mascom Live Sessions next week Friday, this time round with Botswana’s freshest and vibiest band, Sereetsi and the natives. It will be the third time the two have shared a stage.
Since they came out to play, Sereetsi and the Natives have gotten tongues wagging with their first album “Four String Confessions” and they are still enjoying great attention as when they started out. Band leader, Tomeletsi Sereetsi told Weekend Life that they were looking forward to the Mascom Live Sessions as it would hopefully create a platform for a possible collaboration with the Zimbabwean legend.
“We have shared the stage with Mutukudzi before, the last being at The Hamptons; it will be the third time performing alongside him. We are looking forward to playing our music, which is obviously very different from his and of course we hope to win new fans as we create our magic on stage,” he said.
Sereetsi and the Natives have just completed a South African tour where they serenaded fans in that country with their musical prowess. According to Sereetsi, the South African tour was a resounding success.
“It was a god experience overall, the reception was great. We really achieved a lot, we have gotten attention of the necessary people in the industry there,” he said.
Furthermore, The Botswana band will be in Chicago starting this week (September 28th to October 4th) for CD Baby’s DIY Musicians Conference slated for Congress Plaza Hotel. Sereetsi said the tour will present as a great networking opportunity and will expose them to cutting edge ideas relating to the creative business side of the craft as well as allow for them to meet fellow artistes and leading industry players from across the world.
During the US tour, the band will also play at Uncommon Ground with Chicago singer and songwriter, Hannah Frank on September 29.
Sereetsi and the Natives have always had their sight set on the international arena. He previously told media that “It has been part of my strategic plan to make inroads in the region and globally”.
The tour will be his debut appearance on American soil.
“We hope it will set the tone for further collaboration as we will meet a variety of resourceful persons,” he said.
The “Thaakokome” hit makers performed in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Mahikeng, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and have performed alongside South African greats such as Nathi, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbuli, Tshepo Tshola, The Soil, Jaziel Brothers and Bhudaza.
Dubbed one of the few genuine innovators on the Zimbabwean music scene, Mtukudzi has been a favourite at the Botswana Craft, having been performing there since 2009. He has earned himself devoted fans locally, as well as internationally in places like Canada, the US and the UK where he has toured.
His blending of Southern African music traditions, including mbira, mbaqanga, jit, and the traditional drumming styles of the Korekore, has created such a unique sound that it has been respectfully dubbed "Tuku music."
Tuku, as he is affectionately called by his legion of fans has always had his deep gutsy speak for him, but his talent for writing songs that reflect on the daily life and struggles of the people of his homeland has made him one of Zimbabwe's greatest artists and earned him more accolades internationally.
Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa's "supergroup”.
Meanwhile, Mascom Live Sessions are now in their sixth year. They have so far included headline international artistes such as Hugh Masekela, Salif Keita, Ringo Madlingozi, Lira, and Freshly Ground as well as many other local and international performers.
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.