As part of their weeklong events, the now renowned Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) have included Theatre in their programme of events. The event, in its third year running has grown in leaps and bounds and has since been listed amongst the top ten events to attend in Africa. The organisers are working with some of the country’s best Theatre performers to tell Botswana’s story.
The top three plays that have been selected to partake at the theatre night include Blue, Black and White by Donald Molosi which tells the romantic love story of the interracial marriage of former President Seretse Khama and Ruth Khama. A Woman of Many Firsts by Moduduetso Lecoge which tells the story of Dr Gaositwe Chiepe right from her upbringing through to becoming the icon she is today as well as Morwa by Tefo Paya which depicts the struggles of growing up in Botswana from as far back as 1966 when we gained independence and the challenges faced by men growing up in Africa.
The headliner of the night is Blue, Black and White, the award winning off- Broadway play. It is the longest-running one-man show in Botswana’s history and it always brings pleasure for Donald to perform it for Batswana.
“Not only is it the first Botswana play off-Broadway but it is also the first play ever staged professionally about Sir Seretse and Lady Ruth Khama’s transformative inter-racial marriage. I therefore find it fitting to perform it in Botswana this year as Botswana turns 50,” said Molosi.
The play has been performed around the world and it won several awards.
Another play that many Batswana will have an opportunity to cherish is A Woman of Many Firsts played by Moduduetso Lecoge and directed by Moletedi- One Ntseme. The one- woman play tracks Dr G.K.T Chiepe’s progression as a young Motswana girl from Serowe through her career in education, administration, diplomatic service and politics, right up until her retirement. She is definitely an icon that Botswana needs to know more about. Through this play, Batswana will engage with part of their history.
She definitely set standards from a young age. She attended secondary school at the prestigious Tigerkloof College in South Africa during apartheid era. Thereafter, with the help of the Government of Botswana’s (then Bechuanaland Protectorate) scholarship, she proceeded to Fort Hare University where she completed as one of the few black females in the world to graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology and Botany. Furthermore, she went to read for her Master’s Degree at the University of Bristol in the UK in the 1950’s. She was the first Motswana female to attain a Master’s degree.
Dr G.K.T Chiepe’s illustrious career in education, administration, diplomatic service and politics spans over 5 decades from 1948 to 1999. She was the first Motswana female Education Officer during her time. She climbed the ranks until she became the first female Director of Education. Then she later became the first female African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom after Botswana’s independence. For a long time, Dr. Chiepe was the only female in the Botswana Cabinet; first as a specially elected Member of Parliament and later as an elected Member of Parliament for Serowe South.
Morwa’, The Rising Son speaks back to the challenges faced by a young man growing up in Botswana. Paya strongly believes that as much as we must celebrate our achievements over the past 50 years, we cannot forget the struggles that Batswana go through every day. Morwa is a play that uses personal narrative although it is relevant to all Batswana.It challenges the audience to gain a deeper understanding of how people's experiences as they grow up can deeply affect them and in turn help them relook at themselves and how they live their lives.
“At this point in our country’s history, where we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we must also take time for reflection and introspection. We have achieved great things but we have also had many short falls and if we do not learn from our short falls and improve them, we may not have much to celebrate in the coming 50 years,” said Paya in an interview with WeekendLife.
His play also looks at how we raise the boy child, “if we do not raise the boy child to be more caring, more considerate and empathetic, we are in trouble, socially. If you look at most social issues, at the root of the problem is the patriarchal system and men,” he asserted.
The play is about Morwa, a young Motswana man on his journey of discovering what it means to be a man. The play is based on Paya’s personal narrative and looks to evoke dialogue and a better understanding of the challenges faced by Young Men in Africa. The play poses many questions about Masculinity, Gender Roles and Identity.
In this intense performance, Paya delivers a combination of story-telling, physical theatre and ritual. This play was awarded The Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa in 2015. The plays will be performed at Mantlwaneng Theatre at Westwood School on August 30th 2016.
This past weekend MultiChoice Botswana hosted media and lifestyle enthusiasts in Oodi for an evening of fun, drama and everything in between. The treat dubbed Big Brother Titans Botswana media challenge basically recreated the Big Brother experience right here in Botswana.
Big Brother Titans is the joint South African and Nigerian edition of the Big Brother franchise. The series follows contestants as they live in an isolated house and compete for a cash prize at the end of the show by avoiding being evicted from the house by the viewers.
These viewers vote their favorite housemates to stay on the show. The show features housemates from South Africa and Nigeria. The first season of the show premiered on January 15 2023 on DStv.
DStv Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembile Legwaila told WeekendLife that they saw it critical to host media friends to experience how it feels by being in the Big Brother house.
“For the very first time in history of Big Brother, we’ve seen the merging of two superpowers, Mzansi and Naija, with the Big Brother Titans season and what a better way to celebrate the monumental season than hosting our media friends.”
Participants were treated to top notch reception complimented by the Oodi sunset which just blew them away. A special shuttle was organized from Gaborone to Oodi, at a farm house that is just incredible in terms of design, aesthetics and ambience.
Of course they were welcomed by soft cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for those who are not drinkers, and the next booth was an opportunity for housemates to introduce themselves to the man of the house, Biggie. RB2’s new baby Mdu the Party played the role of Biggie, and he nailed the character.
Some of the contestants were asked what they will do with the grand prize of P5000. With my ongoing voluntary movement, #Pad4HER, I needed the cash prize to push the campaign. #Pad4HER is a campaign that I started last year with an aim of helping female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to sanitary towels. Anyway, luck was not on my side but my colleague from The Botswana Gazette, Gosego Motsumi emerged as the winner.
We got done with the questions and made way into the house. The party began with more drinks and the first challenge kicked off. For this particular challenge, we were divided into pairs. I was matched with Motsumi and we won the first challenge.
Other housemates asked how we managed but it was simple: we had a strategy before embarking on the challenge. We sat down and debated on what we need to do in order to emerge victorious.
DStv engaged a phenomenal local chef, Rachel Tlagae who served some enchanting, light meal. Its Big Brother Titans so we ought to mind what we eat and also take note of quantities. Chefs also brought some wine to go with the meal and everyone was contented.
THE WINNING CHALLENGE
Housemates were taken through the last challenge: mental ability. This particular challenge needed them to know who they are as well as knowing their fellow housemates. It was one of the simplest challenges yet difficult. This is where I lost lot of points even though I was at the top (after winning the first challenge).
These housemates were all unique in their own way. From the media side was myself, Sharon Mathala, Leungo Mokgwathi, Gosego Motsumi and Nancy Ramokhua. This is a team which did exceptionally well altogether. Motsumi emerged as the winner, followed by Mathala and me on fourth position.
The third position was won by Loungo Pitse from influencer’s side, and he tagged alongside DJ Gouveia, Dato Seiko, Kedi Molosiwa and Gape Makwati.
Legwaila said “We wanted to have a healthy mix of traditional media (print and radio) as well as social media personalities, artists and content creators in the house. We chose individuals who were characteristically different from each other because variety and diversity is important to us. We of course chose those with outgoing personalities as well as those who are a little more introverted as we wanted the interaction to be authentic and organic. We wanted a solid group of individuals who represented the many different people that make up this beautiful country.”
DSTV IS COOKING SOMETHING
When quizzed if there are plans to have a similar Big Brother Titans Botswana, Legwaila said “MultiChoice Africa is focused on entertaining audiences all over Africa with the current Big Brother franchises; BB Titans, Mzansi and Naija. Though we have no immediate plans to have a Big Brother Botswana in the future, we are continuously looking at ways to entertain our Botswana audience with local content and we are excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks from our country.”
The 71st Miss Universe competition will be going down at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans next week in the United States. There are eighty four entrants at this year’s Miss Universe, and Botswana will once again not be a part of the pageant.
The Miss Universe will be hosted by Jeannie Mai and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, who last served as host during Miss Universe 2020, while Mai last served as backstage correspondent during Miss Universe 2014. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Zuri Hall will serve as backstage correspondents. This will mark the first time in a 70-year history to have an all-female presenting panel.
Botswana last participated at the Miss Universe in 2013, in which the Miss Universe Botswana pageant was won by Tsoane Macheng. Ever since then, Botswana never made its return to the biggest beauty pageant in the world, despite its consistent ability to send a representative to participate at the Miss World competition.
Miss Universe Botswana Director, Safie Sekgwa, allegedly holds the Miss Universe license. Efforts to reach him proved futile, as his mobile phone rung unanswered.
Despite Botswana showing zero efforts in participating at the Miss Universe, the beauty pageants 2019 crown was flanked by two smaller diamonds cut from the same stoned mined in Botswana.
Jewelry designer Mouawad created a new “Power of Unity” crown reportedly worth 5 Million US Dollars, and the title was won by South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi. She was the third South African to be crowned Miss Universe.
BOTSWANA’S POOR RECORD AT MISS UNIVERSE
Botswana is said to be one African country with the most beautiful women, but, the poor performance at the Miss Universe, communicates otherwise. Perhaps, representatives at the pageant are not academically gifted, as the Miss Universe tests how keen they are also.
Mpule Kwelagobe made history when she was crowned Miss Universe 1999. That was few months after she was crowed the first ever Miss Universe Botswana. Kwelagobe became the third woman from Africa who was crowned Miss Universe.
In 2000, Miss Universe Botswana then, Joyce Molemoeng did not place at Miss Universe, and the same blue reality struck again in 2001, when Mataila Sikwane also failed drastically.
After a two year hiatus, Miss Universe 2004, Icho Keolotswe also failed to place at Miss Universe. That was the end of participation at Miss Universe, only to return in 2010. Tirelo Ramasedi, Miss Universe 2010 also did not win. The same losing trend followed from 2011 (Larona Kgabo), 2012 (Sheillah Molelekwa) and 2013 (Tsaone Macheng).
MISS UNIVERSE 2022 UNDERWAY
Preparations are ongoing to hold the 71st Miss Universe competition. Harnaaz Sandhu of India will crown her successor at the end of the event. There are nine countries which have withdrawn from participating: Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Romania and Sweden.
As for returns, Miss Universe 2022 will see Angola, Belize, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Uruguay.
Lebanon won Miss Universe in 1971, Angola in 2011, Trinidad and Tobago in 1977 and1998. Youngest Miss Universe 2022 participants are aged 18, and they are from British Virgin Islands, Iceland and Krgyzstan and Switzerland’s representative is nineteen.
MISS UNIVERSE ALMOST 6 MILLION US DOLLAR CROWN
Miss Universe has unveiled its new crown for the 71st competition. The new crown, “The Crown Number 12: Force for Good” was crafted by world renowned luxury jeweler Mouawad.
The new crown, with pear-shaped blue sapphires surrounded by diamonds and valued at approximately 5.58 Million US Dollars, will be the prestigious mark of honor for the winner this coming week.
According to the Miss Universe organization, the Force for Good crown emanates Mouawad’s passion for crafting the extraordinary, featuring the meticulous setting of sapphires and diamonds, whose design is replete with symbolism.
Reflecting the point that significant change does not happen in an instant, the base of the crown is set with diamonds symbolizing the status quo. From the base upwards, rippling wave motifs reflect the momentum of change, with their varying sizes portraying that this momentum gains ground gradually through advocacy at different moments and places, to audiences large and small, over time.