During his hay days as a news anchor at the national broadcaster, Botswana Television (Btv), Benson Phuthego made language his brand. He became a brand name associated with primetime and grown to be a proponent of culture and tradition. Setswana language is embedded in his DNA and reading news remains his primary gratification. However his mysterious exit from the screens almost six years ago left everyone puzzled and calling for his comeback, Writer DAVE BAAITSE takes us through Phuthego’s journey as he retraces his steps back to television and limelight.
Starting next week Tuesday 13th at 1805 hrs, Benson Phuthego will be presenting a Magazine Program which will premiere on Btv called ‘Lafatshe Letlotlo’ an initiative by Ministry of Lands and Housing.
“We don’t want the dynamiting of language to end up diluting the fragrance of Setswana potency”, said Benson Phuthego.
His journey with the national broadcaster can be dated back as 2005 when he made his television debut. A very passionate Phuthego is a graduate of Core Degree in English and History from the University of Botswana.
His enthusiasm for Setswana and news reading is an inspiration that he drew from legends such as the late Rebaone Mookodi and Justice Gaolekwe who are veteran radio news anchors with Radio Botswana. According to Phuthego, these are some of the people who had the ability to coil a Setswana word from any borrowed word. He gave example of words such as Tshukudu ya temo (Tractor), Sefofane sa Tlhoo- tomo (Helicopter), Kgotla more o itirise (Machine gun). He however narrates that he learnt some of his Setswana usage from the elders since he pays a lot of attention when they talk. Every time he took a seat to read news he knew there are legends watching him therefore he dares not to make a mistake.
He says leaving Btv was never his intention, however, he found himself conflicted between two organisations that both wanted to have a piece of him. He is now excited that he is back on television and presenting a very unique program that deals with issues of land. To him is a dream come true and he is quoted saying, “I am still available for television if they still want me back”.
Lefatshe Letlotlo is a 52 episodes production by Baboneng Film and they have signed a one year contract with Benson Phuthego who will be presenting the show with another radio veteran, One Rabantheng as the field presenter. The program seeks to go around the country educating Batswana and informing them about issues pertaining to land. They will also engage with experts and property developers in giving analysis on particular topics. Upon the end of the 52 episodes they are hoping to sign another contract to continue with the show because these are very pertinent issues.
While officiating at the launch of the program this week, the Minister of Lands and Housing, Prince Maele said this day marks another milestone for his Ministry, this time around on public awareness and education. He said this is a fulfilment of one of their values of transparency. For quite some time, inadequate public awareness has led to some land seekers being cheated by crooks and fraudsters in land related matters.
A few years ago, the Ministry of Lands and Housing took a decision to intensify information dissemination to members of the public. This has hitherto been provided through their radio programme called “Lefatshe Boswa”. It is their hope that through this TV program, they will further enhance information dissemination.
“The Ministry of Lands and Housing is also undergoing a lot of transformation through a lot of initiatives that will ultimately benefit Batswana and we believe our TV production will help to keep in touch with our customers”, said Maele.
The Minister further stated that his Ministry shall engage with ordinary Batswana, stakeholders, the business people, investors, media and indeed everyone to share on how they can improve on delivering their service to the public.
“We are on a quest for continuous improvement which we hope will translate to economic benefit for Batswana”, he said.
The TV show is named “Lefatshe Letlotlo”. One may ask, why “Lefatshe Letlotlo”? Land is a great treasure that must be well managed for the benefit of the economy. A good land management practice promotes social harmony and limits, incidences of war and famine. “As we celebrate 50 years of independence, we are indeed happy, united and proud. Our land, our Botswana is indeed a happy nation, it is a united nation. Let us treasure it and secure it so that we can celebrate another 50 years proud of our land”, concluded Maele.
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.