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Access TV: A breath of fresh air

A new privately owned television station is making waves. It has been hardly two months since Access TV has been in operation but so far the producers are bringing cutting edge programming which speaks to the ordinary young Motswana.

The TV channel is off to its humble begins. A visit to the office cum studio revealed a work in progress-surprisingly though, every program is shot in the almost empty office. The studio is the size of a normal office and is filled with various back drop boards, and they are changed with every shoot.

The office is so far equipped with two sets of computers, with some of the employees working on laptops and sharing the same desk. For them it is about making their dream a reality. Oblivious to Weekend Life’s presence during the tour one of the producers is lost in his work on his laptop.

Various shows produced at the newly set up studio were instant hits with viewers. From the newly aired comedy show to a blind date show, a youth talk show and a cooking show, the fresh programming has been well received.  

In an interview with co-founder Gabatsoswe Mogapi, he revealed that Access TV was conceived between him and his partner Thatayaone Gumede a little over a year ago.

Between them there are some 13 years of experience in the TV industry, and when discussing the idea then, their greatest hurdle was finance, something they later decided to disregard when they resolved to just plunge ahead and make their dream a reality.

Access TV is an all self-sponsored venture, when they started the channel late in May; the duo had tried to source sponsorship from various investors, government included.

However, with time against them, they decided to take the first steps without the required sponsorship 5 months later than they had anticipated. “We had originally wanted to go on air in January but we were delayed, because we had not had the received feedback with regards to finances, but we didn’t want to wait any longer. We decided that we should just start and if investors come in, they will find us having taken the first steps.”

“Had we waited for financing, this would not be happening as we speak,” he said.

Although the station has been in operation for close to seven weeks now, it has since aired about 7 programs, all of which are in house productions. “We introduce a new program with each week. Our normal programming though runs from 6pm to 10 pm, its baby steps and that will change with time.”

The youthful former eBotswana producer was however quick to clarify that they are not a music channel. “We play a lot of music during the day until normal programming starts at 6pm. We are still trying to develop more content and with time, as our finances improve we will be able to increase our programs. People have to understand that due to budget constraints we are not yet able to bring them the movies, dramas and other programming, they should bear with us.”

The response according to Mogapi has been overwhelming. “I didn’t expect so much response from all over. It has been good, people are appreciative of the fact that we are in our start up days.”

The channel according to him is not only a Botswana channel. “We are airing as far as some parts of Europe, and in Sub-Saharan Africa as well.”

The free-to-air channel is available for users who own various decoder boxes and can be accessed by searching it on them.

While people have been appreciative of the channel, Mogapi told Weekend Life that they have been inundated with questions about whether the channel is on DSTV which is used by many Batswana.

“DSTV is a box owned by someone obviously and if you search for Access TV on it, it will go under the public bouquet, and people can get it on any other decoder, be it philibao or any other which uses satellite frequencies,” he clarified.

Mogapi and Gumede met at eBotswana where they both worked, Mogapi having been there for three years while Gumede had worked there for some ten years. “We want to air local content. If our programming could at least be 80:20 of local content versus foreign content,” Mogapi noted.

“We hope that soon we will divert from airing in-house programs and can be able to have local producers bringing in content for us to air, but that is another money issue and our hope is that investors listen to us and see the potential we see in our own. Government cannot do it alone, we took the first steps hoping that potential sponsors can realise that we can change the employment scenario as well as the entertainment and broadcast industries locally,” said Mogapi.
Access TV is on Facebook and can also be tracked online through its YouTube page AccessTVBW.

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WeekendLife

Death or Divorce – a tough choice for many

24th May 2022
pic

Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.

“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.

Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.

For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”

Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai

I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.

“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”

Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.

“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.

Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.

“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.

Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?

“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.

I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.

A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.

How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?

“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.

“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.

“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”

*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.

Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights.
Email: clairemom26@gmail.com
Twitter: speakclairely

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WeekendLife

7 Days to go before As One Music Concert

24th May 2022
ATI

Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.

Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.

She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”

She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.

“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.

She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.

Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.

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WeekendLife

Phakalane soars to new heights

24th May 2022
Magang

Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.

When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.

Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.

Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.

“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.

So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”

Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.

The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.

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