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GIMC Theatre Night: Seretse Khama, Dr Chiepe spirits reunited

In astonishing and overwhelming live performances, before a live audience at Westwood School, viewers were drawn down memory lane as the spirit of Sir Seretse Khama reunited with Dr Gaositwe Chiepe in a more thought provoking recitation that displayed ‘maverick sensitivity,’ writes DAVE BAAITSE.

Theatre was just introduced as part of the week long Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC), and for a first the night did not disappoint revellers. The line-up couldn’t have been more relevant, building up to the country’s golden jubilee celebrations, the builders of Botswana plays were performed along with another human poignant play that speaks to the struggles of growing up in Botswana.

Although theatre is a relatively new phenomenon in the local entertainment industry, Batswana do appreciate the art and credit should be given to artists like Tefo Paya and Donald Molosi who have been appreciated in the international stage.

‘A Woman of Many Firsts’ played by Moduduetso Lecoge and directed by Moletedi- One Ntseme opened the night on Tuesday at Mantlwaneng Theatre, Westwood. The one- woman play tracks Dr G.K.T Chiepe’s progression from a young Motswana girl from Serowe through her career in education, administration, diplomatic service and politics, right up until her retirement.

For a long time, Dr. Chiepe was the only female in the Botswana Cabinet; first as a specially elected Member of Parliament and later as an elected Member of Parliament for Serowe South.

Emotions arose immediately after ‘A Woman of Many Firsts’ when the much acclaimed and Broadway award winning Donald Molosi took to stage to perform his award winning play ‘Blue, Black and White,’ the longest running one man show in the history of Botswana. It is also the first play staged professionally about Sir Seretse Khama and Lady Ruth Khama’s transformative inter- racial marriage. Molosi has achieved a lot as an actor; he won many Batswana’s hearts because of his physical appearance resemblance of Seretse Khama.

He performs the play with so much passion and enthusiasm with mixed emotions that can only leave one puzzled. The play has been performed around the world and it won several awards and Batswana could only appreciate it by a standing ovation as Molosi left the stage in what did not signal the end of his play as he waved the last goodbye. It was only left for everyone who did not have the opportunity to witness Khama and Chiepe together during their time, to connect the dots and imagine how the two have lived and led this country. Their role and intimate love for their country was executed well as the spirit of Seretse was felt in the room the entire time during both Lecoge and Molosi’s performances.

Molosi’s imitation of action is serious, complete and is of a certain magnitude embedded with his command of the language, his play was less narrative effecting the proper purgation of his emotions and one could easily see his attachment to the play. Through these two plays, the audience could relate with part of their history from a very short distance.

The last performance of the night was made by the hilarious and renowned Tefo Paya in a play titled Morwa; The Rising Son. This play was awarded The Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown South Africa in 2015. He opened the play walking down the stage suited up in a black number, carrying a modern suitcase but he later undressed and was left only with a vest- something that rendered everyone speechless.

The play however was different from the first two plays in the sense that the actor used a lot of humour as a vehicle to tell his story. His subject matter was a bit heavy and controversial and the background music which was performed live gave it more depth.

Morwa follows the story of ‘Morwa’ a Young Motswana Man on his journey of discovering what it means to be a man. The play is based on Paya’s personal narrative and looks to evoke dialogue and a better understanding of the challenges faced by Young Men in Africa. The play poses many questions about Masculinity, Gender Roles and Identity. Who are you? What are you? What makes a man? How does one become a man? In this intense performance, Paya delivers a combination of Story-Telling, Physical Theatre and Ritual.      

 

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WeekendLife

200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020
200,000

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.”

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WeekendLife

AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

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.

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WeekendLife

Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020
MISS EARTH

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

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.

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