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Cross Okavango Delta Expedition: Africa’s best adventure trail

Crossing the Delta on Mokoro (dugout canoes) has been dubbed “Botswana’s ultimate travel experience,” the expedition offers the traveller the chance to see the Okavango up close and personal. A Mokoro drive tells the story of the Okavango Delta to Batswana and the rest of the world through the naked eye, capturing the best photographic scenes and moments with delta animals through the camera lens.

The second edition which will set off end of next month is even more thrilling, bringing on board various local artists in order to inspire them to create artworks based on their delta crossing experience.

The Cross Okavango Delta Expedition is led by Thalefang Charles, a renowned Photojournalist and backpacker who has a great passion of travelling and photographing Africa over the years. He is supported by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and the second expedition across the Okavango Delta will start from Seronga to Maun from July 23 to August 8, 2016.

It has been confirmed that this year, the expedition will travel with various local artists (musicians, poet, painters, and photographers) in order to inspire them to create artworks based on their Delta crossing experience. The artworks would form part of the celebratory artworks by Batswana on the country’s 50th independence Celebrations and presented at an Okavango Delta Art Exhibition event that will be organised by the BTO in September this year.

“The aim of this project is to promote conservation, share the Okavango Delta with Batswana, promote tourism and the arts, as well as to celebrate Botswana’s golden jubilee,” said expedition leader Charles. This trail has a great potential to be among Africa’s best adventure trails. The expedition will be a trailblazer for more daring adventurers from around the world and locally.

Expedition Team includes the following local artists; Monaga ‘Stiger Sola’ Molefi- a legendary and well celebrated guitarist from Maun where he is also based, Rapper HT- born Kealeboga Mabua HT or Tautona is hip-hop artist from Maun but is based in Gaborone, Lesego Nchunga known as LeshieLovesong a renowned poet and singer, based in Gaborone but originally from the Chobe area as well as Abel Makondo- a painter born and bred in Maun. He is a painter and currently teaching Art on part-time basis in Maun. It would be his first time into the heart of the Okavango Delta.

Photographer Pako Lesejane was part of the trailblazing team that crossed the delta in 2015 and will also form part of the team this year with Charles leading the expedition team. A film crew would also be following the expedition to produce a television documentary for the project.

The team will also partner with The Conservation Music Project, which is a brainchild of Alex Paullin from US who has been following traditional music from around the Delta to promote conservation. Paullin will work with musicians to produce music inspired by the Delta for the Delta.

The team will travel with expert Bayei polers from Seronga and Jao Flats who would be leading them through the ancient routes of their great grandfathers across the Okavango Delta.

“Batswana do not know the Okavango Delta and this is my little effort to teach Batswana about the Okavango Delta. With this trip I hope to inspire artists to describe this amazing place or describe themselves with this place. I hope they too would share the Okavango Delta with Batswana and the world. I believe after 50 years of independence it is about time we tell our own stories about our places. The Okavango Delta has inspired many foreign artists, photographers and this expedition aims to use the Okavango Delta to inspire Botswana talent while spreading the conservation message and celebrating Botswana,” said Charles.

Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) alluded to the fact that the expedition will certainly provide an opportunity for the world to appreciate it even more with the envisaged song and art productions that are part of the expedition.  This is part of the continuation of BTO’s ‘Explore Your Campaign’ which they believe resonates with the golden jubilee celebrations’.

This is our call to adventure. As George Mallory once said when asked what’s the use of Climbing Mount Everest, “What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.

Without adventure man would not have stepped on Everest peak, or on the moon, he would have been scared to cross oceans and deserts, so this is our call to the adventure”. Mallory died on Everest.

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Self-taught fashion designer speaks

26th July 2022

A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.

The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.

“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.

The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.

She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.

“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”

They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.

July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.

“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.

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Gospel awards re-organised

26th July 2022

The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.

The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.

He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.

The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.

The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.

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Makhadzi, Master KG invade Thamaga

18th July 2022

The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.

The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.

Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others.  “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.

“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.

“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.

“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.

“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.

The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.

”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.

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