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Vusi My Lattie, That Was a Lekker Show
 Thank you Braveheart

Thank you Windrush PR
But Above All, Many Thanks to Liberty Life

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim! I walked into Molapo Stanbic Piazza last weekend, having been given two complementary tickets that I had also given away to two friends who desperately wanted to attend the Vusi Live show. That meant I had to part with a monetary gift I had received from a friend to purchase tickets for my entry, together with that of a friend into the show. Upon entry, it immediately became very clear that I had spent my money for a purposeful intent.


The show not only was characterised by a fantastically dressed audience, decency but the set up was also of great immaculacy.  With the VIP section clearly visible as thus, right in front of the stage, and barricaded neatly.

One could tell that it was not a night of the rag tags. Rag tags usually have a tendency to after imbibing their ones and twos gain the unwanted strength to intrude the space they have not paid for. None of such incident occurred. Possibly because the security was fit for the day, but also because the environment was set up in a manner that showed and reminded everyone of their rightful space at the table.


The sound was crispy clear, and eye entertaining. You could tell that upon setting the sound, the idea was not just the volume but more importantly the quality. We still have a problem with shows that are characterised by poor sound yet this very ‘item’ of the night; sound, is very primary to the event. Rave Heart, Windrush PR and Liberty had set their sound from Friday morning yet the show was only Saturday evening. This planning in time ensures that the hosts ae able to check the sound, set and reset it, get all the needed accessories, test them, buy, rent where possible and be fully satisfied that they will not embarrass themselves on the night of the show.


Lightning was also set up from Friday morning, tested Friday night and used Saturday night. It correlated with the sound, Vusi’s   wardrobe, mood of the songs and the decency of the audience. It was not disco lightning set up for a Gospel show as I have seen in other Gospel shows where one could tell that the lightning technician was not briefed that ‘’….rara….we are setting up for a Gospel show…”….! This is another area that I am hopeful that creative industry players, particularly promoters have learnt as they attended the show.


I had the advantage of having a chat with Mr. Hans Rooseboom of Eventpro Technical Service, a South African based company that was brought in to share the expertise on the part of lighting, sound and stage setting. A humble gentlemen who was above all mesmerised by the decency of Batswana. Though my conversation with him was about how he sees the Botswana Creative Industry, he was clearly over whelmed by the reception, love and embrace he got from Batswana on a two day visit he had been around.

He parted with me still expressing that it was astonishing that Batswana still greeted everyone they meet even strangers with such love and affection as if they know each other from somewhere. Knowing me, I then took him through the important elements of Botswana culture that make us a different from the rest of the clowns!…well….he understood me…I hope the reader also understands whom I was referring to…!…gape kene keipankanyetsa gore hakele kakwa, arotloetse bo morwa rragwe gore bantshware ka matsetseleko wabona…!…


On stage Vusi did not only present the new him, he had with him his new music, refreshing, soothing and Godly than ever before. Brave Heart and Windrush PR had ensured that Vusi’s wardrobe represented the show, the audience and the music. This is that part of the creative industry that managers and administrators of the creative industry often leave to the artists to sort out. And it usually ends up terribly bad as we often see gospel artists dressed for a rock concert. One could tell that for this show, Vusi ensured the right clothes, right colours and right fit. He did not look like he was putting on clothes owned as a result of a grandfather passing away as it is regularly the case with our local gospel guys. I guess this made the job of his make-up artist very easy. And for that I will say, less money for the make-up artist and more money for the wardrobe coordinator…hahahahahaha!


I must also not forget to mention that the choice of venue also ensured that not only ample parking space but surety of security was awesome. Quite often we attend shows were despite the promoters aware that they will sell more than enough tickets, continue to greedily chose venues where one has to walk a kilometre or more after parking their car to gain entrance into the show. This walking is mostly on heavy dust, upon entering the show, one’s shoes will not be visible due to dust covering them all over; a sore sight if you ask me. But alas, we have been made to be used to this that we seldom complain except from jokingly talking about it in the morning, largely on social sites.


Those who imbibe more than their memories can permit get a huge surprise in the morning when they see their shoes in dust. That’s when they begin to retrace their last night’s journey of entertainment. Yes, we do have friends who never plan to end up at any show but simply find themselves there, or worse enough, hear that they have been there. It is some form of magic never to be understood by the young ones. Surely this is not what Brave Heart, Windrush PR and Liberty Life had wanted anyone to go through when they chose the venue. A beautiful lesson that must be learnt from the Vusi Live show by our local promoters is that; those willing to spend their money prefer some form of decency. And their money must be acquired through providing them with the same decency they envisage.


And by the way, before I forget, the many Creative Industry faces that I saw and met that night said it all; that it was a show we have all been waiting for. It was of great interest to me that our local promoters amongst the audience were witnessing and experiencing that a show ought to be thoroughly planned for.

These Ladies and Gentlemen of the Industry have already been thanked in many other platforms but let me also express my gratitude to them as appropriate; Shabba Kgotlaetsho, Seabelo Modibe, Massie Hule, Moxx Gaolape, Johnson Otlaadisa, Bofelo Segotso and many others whom I have not mentioned due to my memory lapse and well, because this space could be filled up with only names, and also possibly because, lenna kene katsena modieemong! Once more, thank you Braveheart, Windrush and Liberty Life. Allahur Akbar!
 

The Journey Continues, 

Rasina Winfred Rasina
Email:  rwwrasina@gmail.com  
Mobile: +267 71886794
Facebook Page: Rasina Winfred Winnie Rasina
Twitter: @Rasina_W_Rasina

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WeekendLife

A Star is rising

29th June 2021
Star Phalane

Having made his debut appearance in a singing competition, My Star, from 2010 till 2015, Star Phalane has been constantly and effortlessly reaching for the stars.

Who can forget Star’s dance moves and stage presence? Without faltering, he was one of the few contestants one can’t remember to forget, even to this date.

He stood out in his own right, but even with that being the case, he was shamefully kicked out of the Top 10 of the singing contest. He never clinched the grand prize, but that wasn’t much of a big deal because, failure can be a blessing in disguise if more effort is put to it and you have the right mind set.

It is fortunate that the young lad is tenacious and is alive to the fact that every cloud has a silver lining, had it not been for this, we’d not be here celebrating his fighting spirit.

Star has, against all the odds stacked up against him, managed to get his act together and focused his eyes on the ball. Now a jack of all trades, Star has bragging rights to being fashion designer, entrepreneur, MC, choreographer and a singer. He is a force to reckon with, and his works speaks to the versatile creative he is. He doesn’t bite off more than he can actually chew nevertheless.

In an exclusive interview with Weekendlife this week, Star revealed that he is a self-taught fashion designer even though there is a small crop of well-established designers he learns few flairs and elegances from. This form of learning doesn’t cost an arm and a leg unlike enrolling for fashion and design course, we’re not against the lads choice of learning, cause we believe education is not only found in a classroom set up.

“Most fashion designers studied design at school and it is only a small portion including myself that are self-taught. I believe it goes back to individual talents that people are born with. It was upon me to develop and bank on this talent. I leave room for learning from others though, it works in my favour.”

Star’s designs had many prominent public figures salivating and day dreaming about wearing one of his creations. The likes of Annah Mokgethi; Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, socialites such as Vincent Matthys as well as rapper; Baxon, have all line up around the corner to be seen in Star’s creations.

With all the success the young talent has and all the famous and high ranking people after his talent, Star is humble and down to earth. It is probably for this reason that the universe is giving back to the lad tenfold especially after being knocked down so many times in the past. Star doesn’t look down on others nor does that mean he thinks any less of him and the God given talents he has.

“I don’t think my designs are different. I am the one who’s different in a special way and obviously that doesn’t mean I’m better than any other fashion designer. I can also let the cat out of the bag on how to produce better designs. One ought to network and be consistent on their work. This means being able to survive against all odds, it’s a pandemic year and designers should be able to tell a story through their designs,” Star said.

It is not so common in Botswana to find male fashion designs. Stereotypes labelled fashion designing to be female’s hobby if not business. But there are ways to express authenticity and what life has to offer. It can be on paper (sketch), on clothes (designing) or on record (melodic). Star is amongst few male designers resolute to stamp out these pigeon-holes.

Above and beyond fashion designing, Star is also a singer and choreographer. He is not as right as rain, but he definitely leaves a mark once on stage. His incredible moves can be traced back to Mophato Dance Theatre. This dance assemble is the country’s first Afro-fusion and Contemporary dance company, that has been selling Botswana through dance.

The group has performed in New York, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Canada and Japan. Currently a lead dancer and singer with the group, Star is also the company’s costume designer.

“I started off as a professional Latin dancer and a street dancer. Eventually, I was employed by Mophato and subsequently became a member. That was a dream come true. So with time I starred as a lead singer in most of the musical plays the group participated in. It was magical and really motivated me to see a dance group appreciating my skills. I explored my creativity and loving each and every bits.”

Like riding a bicycle, Star never forgot how to sing. Just recently, he was announced as a finalist on the revamped My African Dream singing competition. He told Weekendlife that it wasn’t really smooth sailing as he was against the best talents, but having weathered the storms, the competition was a learning experience. Star is currently working on an Extended Play (EP).
We look forward to the rising star in Star.

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WeekendLife

Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

3rd June 2021
Real You Network creates an inclusive environment for LGBTI+ persons

The month of June marks a time of celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year, LGBTQ+ allies and corporate companies joined in the celebration and developed new initiatives to support the vulnerable group. On the 1st of June 2021, Botswana’s diamond mining company, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), launched a new project dubbed the Real You Network.

This is a platform that creates a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ employees to allow them to bring their whole selves to work every day and work to their full potential.

The company stresses and prides its self in coming up with projects that make it the best place for people to thrive in their truest selves, something that is in their inclusion and diversity calendar.

When speaking during the virtual launch of Real You Network, DTCB Senior Human Resources Manager, Stella Moetse said “we will reach success when the talent that we have here in the glass house represents all the different people we have in our society, especially the minorities; and these are people living with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ and not only having them, but in positions of influence and decision making. This will be the true measure of inclusion.”

In September 2017, De beers announced a three-year partnership with United Nations Women; an arm of the United Nations dedicated to Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls.

As part of this partnership, the group committed to taking a holistic and long term approach to promoting gender equality within the business and communities. DTCB says, the commitment in its group has gone beyond gender to create an inclusive workplace for all.

“Because of this commitment to promote and support an inclusive workplace, DTCB which is part of the De Beers group resolved to be inclusive in its approach. As a result, we have elevated inclusion and diversity to Board level reporting. We promote awareness through training our employees on identified inclusion and diversity topics such as anti-bullying and harassment, unconscious bias and inclusive hiring.”

Moetse applauded and appreciated the role that advocacy groups for LGBTQ+ play in pursuit of their rights in society, indicating that it is not an easy task for them to given societal orientations. “It is commendable however, how they are constantly challenging us to break down any preconceptions, removing structural and societal barriers and biases.”

Technical Services Senior Manager, Prudence Mabua, shared the same sentiments, saying that LGBTQ+ persons face obstacles when it comes to accessing many of their rights, including their right to social protection.

The Real You Network, will allow for an environment of openness and promote a culture of a fully inclusive network open to all colleagues regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, she said.

“Through events such as this one, our vision is to continue creating platforms that allow for employees and individuals to share lived experiences as this is key in increasing understanding, tolerance and acceptance,” Mabua highlighted.

“There is significant ignorance and resistance to the reality of the existence of LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. While people may not have the intention to be homophobic, the language they use is often offensive. This increases the fear of coming out as people are scared of being subjected to judgement and discrimination.”

Uncovering the main objectives of the Real You Network, Mabua stressed that the platform will enable DTCB to be visible in its consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters and allegiance of the community, hold conversations to sensitize its workforce on LGBTQ+ inclusion and challenge policies and procedures as well as attracting and retaining qualified people of the LGBTQ+ community.

Further, the Network will focus on sustainability and accountability, by achieving continuity by treating inclusion and diversity as a culture not events. It will also focus on acceptance of diversity and ensuring zero discrimination culture within the organization.

Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2020 by Asher and Lyric indicates that most African countries still criminalize and stigmatize LGBTQ+ practices. These countries are anti-homosexuality and protection of LGBTQ+ person’s rights is minimal.

Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Maldives, Uganda, Iran, West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Oman, Malawi, Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are some of the countries of the world which criminalizes homosexuality. Nigeria is the only country in the world with cruel treatment of LGBTQ+ persons.

In Nigeria, homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison, and at most times the death penalty. In some of these countries, discussions of LGBTQ+ rights and gender expression are criminalized, flogging can occur for cross dressing, and homosexual intercourse receives 6 months to 3 years in prison.

Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are sometimes barred, imitating the opposite sex can result in prison time and buggery receives up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.

Nonetheless, there are other countries (mostly from the West) which promote and protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries legalized same-sex marriages, protect the community against discrimination, criminalizes LGBTQ+ violence, implement transgender legal identity laws and are safe places for LGBTQ+ persons to live in.

These are: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, France, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the United States.

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WeekendLife

Botswana fades away from Miss Universe pageant

17th May 2021
MISS-UNIVERSE-2013-Tirelo

Botswana once had a story love affair with the world’s biggest premium beauty pageant, Miss Universe. This was in 1999 when Botswana’s first representative at Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, effortlessly snatched the title.

It was every contestant’s beautiful dream to wear the crown, but winning at first entry was implausible if not magical. Kwelagobe made the country contented, and history was made. Taking a closure significant look at her performance at the Miss Universe held at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, Kwelagobe battled it out on and off stage with 84 contestants and showed them dust. She was in the Top 5 spot with South Africa, Venezuela, Philippines and Spain. There are countries which snatch the Miss Universe title every year.

Miss Universe 2019 was a South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Mpule Kwelagobe scorecard looked pretty remarkable. She scored 9.05 out of 10 on her interviews, 9.18 swimsuit, 9.36 evening gown, semi-final average 9.19 and 9.48 on the Top 5 question. These results were good enough to earn her the crown.

However, over the years (since the crowning of Mpule Kwelagobe), Botswana has been fading away from participating at the Miss Universe. Between 2002 and 2003, the country did not participate in Miss Universe but in 2004, the country sent a winning title of Miss Universe Botswana to Ecuador, Miss Universe 2004.

In 2010, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group: an international entertainment and fashion company domiciled in Botswana took over the Miss Universe Botswana pageant after a six-year absence. Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana 2010, and represented the country in Las Vegas on August 23. As it is right now, Ramasedi is the only former Miss Universe queen still keen in having her name shine out there: she works closely on projects aimed at empowering women and young girls.

Sadly so, 2013 was the last time Botswana participated in Miss Universe. After five years of not participating at Miss Universe pageant, the first Miss Universe Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe took over the franchise. The winner selection of Miss Universe Botswana 2019 was to remark Botswana to Miss Universe 2019, however, was cancelled.

2019 marked another possible six years since Botswana lacked participation in Miss Universe. This drastic zero participation in this premium beauty competition paved way for our neighbours South Africa to sail smoothly at the competition. Zozibini Tunzi became an instant global queen and everyone’s favourite after displaying intelligence, poise and taking up space to be crowned Miss Universe 2019.

The pageant was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. This will be the third time in the history of the competition in which the event will be held after the calendar year has ended: this previously occurred during Miss Universe 2014 and Miss Universe 2016 (in which Botswana was not participating).

Miss Universe Organization announced early this year that the competition would be held on May 16 2021, at Seminole Hard rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States. Zozibini Tunzi will crown her successor at this competition.

Botswana, will not be participating at the Miss Universe 2020, again. The weakening Miss Universe Botswana has been attributed to by internal fights within the organization. But why participate at Miss Universe?

The Miss Universe Organization is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.

Women participate annually to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models. The delegates and titleholders that have participated in the MUO system are able to cultivate their personal, professional and philanthropic goals. These women are forward thinking and motivated not just talk about change, but to initiate it.

Prominent beauty pageants analyst in Botswana Morekolodi Smith took Weekendlife in an exclusive interview that it has been so many years of absence from participating at Miss Universe, and this shows that Botswana lacks consistency and commitment.

“The franchise holders fail to host a national pageant. I think they should hand over the license to Miss Botswana Organization because it hosts the pageant annually. Then the winner gets to participate in both Miss World and Miss Universe. They can maybe crown two representatives. Botswana has faded away from Miss Universe platform and fans have forgotten about it,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

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