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.
Organisers of the much anticipated As One Music Concert say preparation for the much awaited as one of the music concert are at the peak, with ticket and merchandise sales at a high just 13 days before the event.
In a statement Kesego Okie, Managing Director of Blue Skies PR Agency and event coordinator “The Concert is a celebration of ATI’s journey in music. It is also an incredible platform for all stakeholders, particularly businesses that operate in Francistown, to show their commitment to the resuscitation of the City’s economy following the impact of Covid.
We are grateful for the reception by the city leadership and look forward to cooperate Francistown heeding our call to support the arts, which would in turn, be supporting many livelihoods and small business in the area”.
She expressed gratitude to the public for their immense support evidenced by ticket sales and talk ability, saying this is testimony that indeed As One the nation can go fa in the true spirit of boipelego (self-reliance).
The concert is partnership between Batho Bame Investment and Blue Skies PR Agency. “A lot of work has gone in to prepare for the highlight, and I am thankful to everyone who believes in the dream and supports us. I promise nothing but the very best of me and would love to express my utmost gratitude to all creatives and businesses that are a part of this Journey” Atasaone ATI Molemogi.
The concert will be the first music show taking place within the main pitch of the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, which was chosen to host because of its distinct state of art ambiance, coupling Francistown’s position as a gate way to many strategic places in Botswana.
Francistown is not only rich in history, but also an enabler for economic activity for unearthed tourist destination surrounding it. It is an honour to have been given the approval by the city leadership and the people of Francistown to host this Concert in their backyard’ ATI.
As part of activities for the 8th edition of Africa’s most prestigious award ceremony, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice Nigeria will host celebrity movie stars and film directors from Hollywood ahead of the awards ceremony taking place on Saturday, 14 May in Lagos.
The visiting Hollywood stars will be led by Tasha Smith, actress, director and producer, known for her role in the acclaimed films, ‘Why Did I Get Married?’ and its sequel, ‘Why Did I Get Married, Too?’. She will be joined by Bayo Akinfemi, a cast member of the popular television series, ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ as well as Brandon Micheal Hall of the ‘God Friended Me’ series fame
Also expected are Sidra Smith, award-winning Producer and Head of Essence’s Film and TV Studio and Grant Housley, Hollywood Producer, Writer and Director currently at Paramount Pictures, where he has worked on some of the biggest films and most critically acclaimed television series in the world.
While in Nigeria, the stars will meet with the #AMVCA8 nominees and other industry stakeholders. This historic visit is in line with MultiChoice and Africa Magic’s efforts in sustaining the Africa film making and storytelling momentum, through deliberate global collaboration.
The eighth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards is brought to viewers by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice and is proudly sponsored by Amstel Malta. For more information, visit www.africamagic.tv/AMVCA and follow all official handles of Africa Magic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #AMVCA8
There is a growing unpleasant of artists who do not pitch for events they have been booked for; or simultaneously, there could be another development – false advertising – where artists’ names are used to draw large crowds.
Musicians and promoters in their mission to put bread on the table seem to have resorted to obscene means of securing their means. To many, this is tantamount to fraud and deception to gain an unfair advantage over their unsuspecting fans who swoon at the mention of their name, their presence and entire existence.
The month of May has just begun and bottomless grievances are pouring in of no show musicians at gigs they have been booked and paid for. Instead of leaving the crowd stunned by a spectacular show they are leaving revellers disappointed.
Exhibit A; This past weekend Eswatini’s DJ Uncle Waffles was scheduled to perform in Botswana. She never pitched up for the shows and continues to be silent on her lack of presence at the show. Exhibit B; Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha were all set to perform on 29 April at the Victoria Falls Carnival 10th Anniversary but did not arrive in Zambia for the gig.
In a statement released on Sunday 1 May, Victoria Falls Carnival organisers confirmed that flights and accommodation were organised for DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha. The statement continued; “Confirmations were sent to them as agreed and emails were sent to them several times before, for some reason they did not show up at the airport on the day of travel…
Above and beyond we tried to communicate with the artists to change the date of performance but still we could not get hold of them despite all the effort and all means of communication from our side,” Organisers have demanded that the artists refund them the full booking fee and the payments made for flights and accommodation
“All three artists were paid in full and contractually bound to perform at the Carnival, and accommodated at every corner with their numerous flight and accommodation change requests.” Adds the statement. Exhibit C; South African artist Prince Benza’s passport was confiscated by the Deputy Sheriffs pending payment for damages on breach of contract.
He was scheduled to perform at Mogobane on the 31st of December at the Reflector Music Festival but did not appear as well. He nabbed when he came into the country for a separate event. The President of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), Gilbert Seagile this week had his company; Gilbert Promotions registered in South Africa.
This puts him in an ideal spot to become an intermediary and help solve the feud between Botswana and South African artists and their no show at events. Seagile emphasized that it’s not only international artists that miss events but even the local artists have the same tendencies. He elaborated that reasons for artists not pitching up are many amongst them ; breach of contracts , promoters not paying deposits and some can be natural like artist testing positive for Covid-19.
The BEPA president also indicated that fly-by-night promoters are also a concern as they do not follow the BEPA Code of conduct, “BEPA members are well coordinated, they have the code of conduct which guides them to do things accordingly. The government is pushing for promoters to join BEPA they have already started refusing with permits when one is not a member of BEPA.” he emphasized
Seagile said that the association is in talks with the South African Music Promoters Association (SAMPA) to provide protection of Botswana Promoters that when artists miss shows they can be able to rope in their lawyers in South Africa through SAMPA and Botswana through BEPA to compensate for losses incurred as a result of this exploitation.
He said another way of dealing with this matter is for Promoters to issue a contract to the artist as currently the norm is that the artist produces the contract to the promoter so this solution can help the promoters to protect themselves.
In an interview with Weekendlife, Superintendent Tumediso of Urban Police Station enunciated that matters of no show artists are normally reported by the promoter who normally comes as the complainant. The matter is then taken forward taking into consideration the evidence, this will in turn assist in determining on whether the case is theft, obtaining by false pretence or fraud. When it is all said and done, revellers love musicians to hate them and hate them to love them. It is an unending toxic relationship which no one wants to pull away from.