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Vusi’s CD & DVD Launch; an inspirational Youth Empowerment narrative

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela.

Regular readers of my offering, here and elsewhere, close friends and immediate family will attest to the fact that I am not a night crawler or a party animal. The word ‘boring’ has been used describe my lifestyle and personality several times. 

I’m used to it; feel free to describe me as such, if you want. The only time I’m not home resting, writing or reading during weekends and holidays is when I’m either honoring an official invitation or there is a really special lady involved directly or indirectly.

The reason I prefer to be indoors on weekends and holidays is simply because I’m not blessed with singing and dancing tactics. It is also because I’m one of those that are not economically blessed; I honestly cannot afford to sustain the night life lifestyle. I also don’t like the sight of fellow citizens being divided into socioeconomic classes; they call them platinum, gold, silver and bronze circles in most cases.

I know our country has been declared one of the most unequal societies in the world, but I still can’t stand being in a place where societal and economic inequalities are proudly promoted and celebrated. At the recent Miss Botswana pageant a colleague laughed at me when I told him I will not eat the food offered in our section.

I explained to him I am doing it in solidarity with fellow countrymen in the same room but denied the food simply because they are victims of manufactured socioeconomic inequalities. I told him I religiously subscribe to the African sprit of “Ubuntu”. I also shared with him a short story of an anthropologist that proposed a game to children in an African tribe. he put a basket full of fruits near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’ UBUNTU’ is simply a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as: "I am because we are.”

These are simply part of the reasons why I prefer staying home resting, writing or reading during weekends and holidays.

But the past weekend was a unique weekend, an extraordinary weekend. It was one of the very few weekends I happily made a voluntary decision to forego my comfort, rebel against the cold and upset my already upset cash flow by attending a music show. This time around it was music festival by a renowned local gospel artist –Vusi Mtoukfa.

Based on the buildup, the actually event and the event aftermath, it is safe to conclude that it was indeed an amazing show. Most, if not all, media houses speak highly of the event. Similarly, based on the number of cooperate sponsors that associated with the show, it was evidently an extraordinary show.

I am not an expert on issues of; stage presence, security, time management, sound quality, stage setup and so forth, but most experts were in agreement that all aspects were on point. As confessed earlier, I’m not blessed with singing and dancing skills, but from the way I witnessed the crowd move and sing along to Vusi’s songs, one could easily tell the crowd was having a really great time.

Well, I must also admit I had fulfilling night in my own right. For me attending Vusi’s show and seeing multitudes of people embracing his music, was the highlight of the night. It felt like a fiction story in real life. It felt like watching part of a sad series with a happy ending.

Like most of you, I do not know Vusi personally, I have never met him, I hope to get an opportunity to meet him one day. Like most of you, I’m just familiar with his songs and, like most of you, I have learnt about his fortunate and unfortunate life stories through the media.  From my understanding; Vusi is a gifted young artist, a gospel singer to be precise. He started singing at the tender age of 13, for a very young artist in the early 2000s his music and talent did exceptionally well.

Unfortunately as he gradually graduated into his prime teenage years, his life and music career turned otherwise. Media reports tell us he did not do well in his studies, he messed up his music contracts at the time, he turned to drugs and alcohol, and he also had endless cases of promiscuity and affairs with older women. At some point he accused of murder. Unfortunately as is the nature with our society, his tribulations and challenges became center stage and made headline news.

As is the nature with our society, he was swiftly and conveniently written-off and literally buried alive. His downfall was celebrated in some corners of the country. Nonetheless, after many years of harsh hardships, tribulations, controversy and criticism, he evidently triumphed against all odds. He dusted the dust, nursed his wounds and did not give up on life and his career. During the darkest moments, he maintained focus with hope of seeing the light.

Though it was evidently not easy and it took a very long time, it seems perseverance, dedication and faith in God pulled him through. In this regard to me his latest CD and DVD launch was mainly about this, and my attendance was fundamentally to honor and celebrate this reality. 

More importantly, I intensely believe Vusi’s real life story is not just a tale of restoration and a music career. It’s a story with fundamental teachings and inspiration for young people in our country. It is a story about the life most of Youth battle with.

It is a story about living a genuine human life. One wise fellow once said, ‘show me a man who has never made a mistake, and I will show you one who has never lived’. It is a unique and necessary story; it is a classic real life story. It is a story most young people need to hear quite often. It is a story that can, and should, be used to inspire and restore lives of many young people across the country. It is a story destined to give hope to the despairing.

As youth advocate I have seen many cases of despair among our country’s children, it is really disheartening. Socioeconomic hardships have seriously driven some of our young citizens into lives of; crime, drugs, prostitution and bleakness.

Some are already behind bars, some are in psychiatric hospitals and some have committed suicide. One of the greatest challenges with these young people is restoring hope and self-confidence, convincing them that there is a second chance in their lives.

Though the NYP (National Youth Policy) and associated guiding Youth Development Frameworks speak profoundly about Youth rehabilitation and restoration, it is clear there is still way much more that needs to be done in this area. I believe Vusi’s life story is one of the tangible (real life) stories that should be used to inspire and change lives of many young people in this country.


*Taziba is a Youth Advocate, Columnist & Researcher with keen interest in Youth Policy, Civic Engagement, Social Inclusion and Capacity Development (7189 0354/gtaziba@yahoo.co.uk)

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WeekendLife

Virtual fitness training and COVID-19

22nd February 2021
FITNESS TRAINER - CHYNA MOKAILA

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way the world moves, actually, it has it at a standstill.

The impacts of this deadly virus are massive, and the only way to curb it from spreading is through social distancing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The pandemic had gym rooms closed to avoid crowding by fitness enthusiasts. However, some have come up with alternative ways of keeping fitness rolling even in the midst of this plague.

Prominent fitness trainer and certified sports psychologist, Chyna Mokaila couldn’t be at a standstill from working out with clients, even in the middle of a deadly virus. He has since started an online training program dubbed CMFit Virtual fitness.

The program begun during the first lockdown implemented in March 2020, but because there was no revenue coming in, the young lad had to go back to the drawing board and come up with something tangible to earn him monies.

He told Weekendlife in an exclusive interview this week that; “I had to make a sustainable solid plan that would see me doing what I do best and continue my work with or without lockdown and COVID-19. This made me tap into other markets and countries throughout the world. Currently, I have clients as far as the US, Canada, Austria, Italy, and neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.”

Chyna says the online fitness training has proven to be less risky in exposing oneself to the virus, as they get to training at the comfort of their homes with less contact.

“COVID-19 has brought a lot of sadness, depression and unhealthy habits because of being restricted to lockdowns. It goes without saying that staying fit helps individuals with depression and offers a feel good atmosphere.

Health should be our number one priority at this current moment, and the only way it can be done is virtually. People have learnt to embrace technology so we might as well divert our services to such platforms.”

Virtual fitness is cost effective, according to Chyna. “Although you get the same feel and package which comprises of consultation, nutritional guidelines, assessments and the actual training program the only difference is that the trainer is not there physically with you but virtually.”

Nutrition plays a very critical role in blocking viruses that could alter how the body system works. The right amounts of nutrients reduce risks of non-communicable diseases, increases energy levels to perform better and fight infections. Scientists say COVID-19 critically affects those with underlying health conditions.

Chyna told Weekendlife that he envisions reaching out to the world market, indicating that he will be having his training programs online as he has seen an opportunity in the digital space.

“This will start with repackaging my brand so that it is at par with the best in the world, hence why I have moved from Chyna’s kata-Bo to CMFit which provides more detailed programs anyone can do on their own- following my virtual programs.”

In his rigorous efforts to help people realize the significance of an active and healthy lifestyle, Chyna has collaborated with the BTV Morning Fitness Show and Yarona FM’s Fatboy Challenge which saw him landing another health segment with the radio station.

The fitness enthusiast has also worked with the senior men’s and women’s national football team, as well as the karate team as the conditioning coach. Internationally, Chyna has collaborated with Essence Events from the United States.

His core duty was to travel Africa promoting active lifestyle and health.Chyna is currently a conditioning coach for Township Rollers, an engagement that sees him guide and work with the team, keeping them at pick in terms of their fitness levels.

This enables them to cope with the demands of the game without fail throughout the season.

 

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WeekendLife

Revamping the waning Miss Botswana

17th February 2021
MISS BOTSWANA 2019 PAGEANT

The country’s biggest beauty pageant, Miss Botswana, has eroded over the years. Beside the fact that crowned Queens dismally fail at Miss World year-in-year-out, the pageantry itself has been losing its shine in terms of organization, implementation and just throwing a glamourous event like it used to do before producing little to no tangible results.

Of course it started in 2018 when Miss Botswana was just disorganized and boring. The event was held at Masa Square Hotel, when only three participants battled it out for the blue crown.

Moitshepi Elias was crowned the princess that Friday night. That was technically the last time we saw her smile because, even if she did at Miss World, her smile wasn’t convincing enough.

The judges felt she was not good enough, as she was not even close to Top 40. In the history of the pageant, Miss Botswana 2010; Emma Wareus and Miss Botswana 1997; Mpule Kwelagobe are the only queens to be remembered as those who made a great impact as they reached top positions at Miss World and Miss Universe. Wareus was crowned the first runner up, while Kwelagobe snatched the title to become Miss Universe 1999.

Miss Botswana 2020 could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic, something that left beauty pageant analysts stunned. Some feel this is a huge setback for the organizers, Development Advance Institute (DAI). This organization took over in 2018 and came with a plan for Miss Botswana, in which they strive to give the pageant a facelift.

Prominent beauty pageant analyst, Morekolodi Smith, told Weekendlife that a gap year delayed the implementation of the plan. “DAI aimed at revamping the organization, bidding to host Miss World and it will be tough to reach those aspirations due to this year gap. It still has to work on the reputation of Miss Botswana which has been deteriorating for years.

DAI promised a new era for Miss Botswana, I had expectations that they will crown a well-rounded girl who can bring glory to this country. With everything on hold and zero communication on what to expect, I see failure. The silence and inactivity is almost eerie. I wouldn’t be surprised if DAI drops Miss Botswana and another organization takes over.”

Smith says part of Miss Botswana could be held virtually, to avoid the stillness and dropping in rankings.
“Auditions, short-listings and preliminary interviews could be held virtually but not the actual final show. There is no need for the final show to be held virtually because traditionally Miss Botswana is never contested by more than 50 girls. The number is always narrowed to 12 and 16.”

He explained that the selection committee could go through all applications and select the Top 15, adding that the 15 would then be profiled in-depth followed by official photoshoots and glam shots.
“They could then take part in multimedia campaigns and host webinars.

Pre-recording the swimsuit and evening gown preliminary competition as well as featuring contestant video profiling could add magic. This is the time to maximize on video content.”Smith says there could be talent segment where contestants showcase their talent to entertain, and it could be recorded and each contestant’s video can be uploaded on social media for online audience and the public gets to vote for their favourite, and the winner gets to perform during the final show.

“Then the final show can be streamed live on social media platforms. Miss Botswana could have all Top 15 contestants do an opening number, followed by self-introductions then their short video profiles played. It can feature live onstage swimsuit and evening gown competition.”

After the swimsuit and evening gown competition, Smith said the question and answer session could be held, leading to crowing of the next Miss Botswana. He however, said Miss Botswana’s performance is fuelled by many challenges that persisted for quite a stretch now.

“One major challenge is that the Miss Botswana pageant is held very late. Our queens have limited time to prepare. This leads to half cooked Beauty with a Purpose project. No one excels at Miss World without an impactful Beauty with a Purpose project.”

He suggested that Miss Botswana could be held at least eight months before Miss World festival so that the winner can work on her project, a project that needs to be documented and packaged well. “I realized that queens here don’t have physical input on their projects. They always look glamorous and do not actually do the work. They are always on VIP mode and only come to cut the ribbon.

It is time that stops today. Tiara should be put aside and sleeves should be rolled. Preparation and packaging is key.”“It is essential to have Miss Botswana every year so that she can reach out to communities and add value to those in need.

Being Miss Botswana is more like an ambassador, the winner gets to represent Botswana internationally, precisely at Miss World. I think Botswana requires that global positioning space, as this works well with country branding because Miss World is a premium event.”

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WeekendLife

Becoming Tumie Nthutang

8th February 2021
Tumie Nthutang

Fashion is a thing of the past and yet it keeps on evolving. For an ordinary Motswana young person growing up in a rural setting, fashion might sound like an unfamiliar word because they don’t get to comprehend what the fuss is all about. For those lucky to have TV sets, they are likely to see a glimpse into what fashion really is.

Of course there are prominent fashionistas in the country, as well as the famous ones only seen on TV.These can be the likes of Bonang Matheba, Pearl Thusi and Boity Thulo. As equally talented as they are in the entertainment industry in South Africa, they also have an eye for fashion.

They are regularly ahead on the latest and upcoming trends within the fashion industry. These women have a creative vision and trend-setting style, and their sizzling outfits grace magazine covers week-in-week-out.

Well, that is a story for another day as that is likely to deem lights for our very own fashion stylist, Tumie Nthutang. She is underrated and given a side look, but she is a force to be reckoned with especially when it comes to styling celebrities and prominent public figures who love fashion.

She is not only a fashion stylist, she does blogging and she is a digital content creator with a YouTube channel up and running. Tumie Nthutang is a brand influencer, and she is doing pretty well for herself.
In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, Nthutang says her love for fashion was fuelled by an influx of questions from people asking how she can enhance their look, something that she saw fitting to make as a professional hustle.

“I would receive a request of that nature and wouldn’t turn it down. The country has very minimal fashion stylists, so it has always been my pleasure to jump in and help someone look amazingly beautiful. At the end of the day, its coin coming into my bank account,” she says.

It is a dream come true for any entrepreneur to see their clients’ content by the service offered, and Nthutang feels the same. There has been a trend whereby unsatisfied customers cat fight with service providers on social media.

Nevertheless, Nthutang said “Once I am done with styling consultation, what makes me happy is obviously seeing my client’s confidence elevated. A spring in their step as they walk and most importantly, seeing them in love with the new look in the mirror.”

For quite a stretch now, Batswana have been lacking behind when it comes to fashion. Nthutang shared the same sentiments, however, expressing gratefulness as she feels Batswana are now catching up. It’s never too late, so they say! “I think they are slowly catching onto lifestyle, of which fashion and style fall under and it’s taking time but social media has definitely influenced and actually solved the mess.”

Besides fashion styling and being an ‘It-Girl’ on Instagram, Nthutang is a brand influencer having worked with remarkable brands in and across borders. She has also dipped her hand in the YouTube cookie jar, creating entertaining content for her subscribers. YouTube pays account holders according to the number of views, even though rumour has it that as for Botswana, it is not the case.

“I create content on my different social media platforms and partner with different brands on a wide variety of campaigns. My content on YouTube is mainly an extension and uncensored version of the content that’s on the other platforms.”

According to her profile, she has worked with First National Bank Botswana FNBB, Ultimate Sports Union, Tanqueray, Volkswagen as well as Cotton On. She is also a public speaker, having featured on different speaking platforms such as Sneakers Expo, Ideas Expo, Branding 101 Masterclass as well as End Girl Hate Self Love Soiree 2018. Nthutang has a Degree in LLB from the University of Botswana.

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