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Big Comics Affair

This year’s installation of the Heavyweights International Comedy Festival (HICOFEST) will bring to the stage more than 11 comedians from across Southern Africa, unlike the usual three or four comedy acts we have been accustomed to since it premiered 4 years ago.

“Unlike our normal comedy shows where we feature about 4 or 5 comedians, with HICOFEST we will feature over 11 comedians most of whom are heavyweights who are hot and in demand now.

However, we also give a chance to local upcoming heavyweights to experience the big stage with established acts. Another benefit of the event is heavyweights from outside the country will offer workshops to local comedians on how they can improve their craft,” Major Moves Comedy Events Coordinator Gaolathe Kediemetse told Weekend Life.

According to him, although the comedian line-up has been increased, patrons should still expect their favourite show to take the usual 3-4 hour show the HICOFEST has always been.

“This is a comedy festival and the country’s biggest comedy show, we have increased the number of comedians who will share the stage to over 11 acts, but we have not extended the show duration. Each comic will have 10 -15 minutes on stage.”

The event, Major Moves Comedy’s biggest annual flagship, and perhaps the country’s biggest comedy spectacle will be headlined by local funny lady Kelekwang “Rekunde” Mophaleng alongside multi award winning South African Mashabela Galane.

Mophaleng affectionately known as Rekunde is Botswana’s most acclaimed female comedian, after shooting to fame in 2012 when she first appeared on national TV as a contestant in the My African Dream Talent search show. According to Kediemetse, Rekunde is one of the country’s top comedians, and by using her as the show headliner, Major Moves is trying to uplift women in the industry.

“It is not easy to find women in comedy here, we have been trying to find more women but it has not been easy. It appears females have more challenges than men do, like issues of child minding.

Women turn down events because they wouldn’t have a child minder at a particular time. It’s not only so in comedy, but for the entertainment industry at large,” he said.

Over the years, Rekunde has proven herself to be a force to reckon with, conceivably dispelling the myth that women are not funny. She has performed in major comedy events in the country, including HICOFEST 2015, Mahalapye Home Coming Comedy show and the 2015 GIMC Comedy Night. Her material has also been publicised on radio, including South Africa’s Motsweding FM.

Other comedians who will enthral patrons at the event include Moshi the comedian from Tonota and Katlo ‘K-Lo’ Lekgowe from Kopong. Another comedian Boniface ‘Roy’ Phetolo from Xanagas will be given a chance to showcase his clean, high energy, fun and clever comedy alongside the heavyweights.  For this year’s HICOFEST, Major Moves wanted to give a relatively unknown local the chance to showcase their skill.

Known for pulling in greats in comedy, the organisers didn’t hold back either for their fourth episode. Three top comedians from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland will perform for the first time in Botswana at the comedy spectacle.

Namibia’s Tapiwa Makanza will be worth the watch.  At age 15, Makanza was the youngest ever to win the Last Comic Standing Namibia competition in 2012. But perhaps his biggest achievement yet is winning gold at the Namibian auditions for the World Championship of Performing Art. This led him to represent Namibia in Los Angeles, California at the championships alongside over 50 participants from countries worldwide. He was awarded Namibian Comedian of the Year 2013 and starred in the FreeYourMind comedy show weekly on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

Mduduzi Dlamini of Swaziland is no stranger to the stage or fame, known to his fans as ‘Mdura’; he is the busiest and most sought after comedian in the Swazi kingdom. Being a regular performer in the South African circuit the youthful and hilarious comedian always sells out shows in his native Swaziland.

As for Zimbo, Clive Chighubu, a raw gem from the City of Kings and Queens, he is one of the stand-up comedians that always stand out wherever he performs. The Bulawayo-born and bred actor-cum-comedian has been nominated more than once for a National Arts Merit Award. His catchphrase “Ye Ye-e” has become a trademark and a hit with audiences. Chighubu has extensive abilities in acting, emceeing and has been involved in a number of major plays and films in Bulawayo.

Presenter of the Major Moves Comedy show on Access TV Onalenna "Zozo" Mosweu from Dikhukhung and Ouza from Maun will also be part of the line-up.

Show headliner, Mashabela and Saleman will bring their Botsisa Bo Papago repertoire.

HICOFEST is slated for August 5 this year and will be held at the award winning GICC. Tickets are available at Webtickets & Spar outlets at P269 (single) and P449 (double).

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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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