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Lecoge’s thrilling monologue

THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: Lecoge, the stage actress and director of the renowned “A woman of many firsts-the life of Dr. G Chiepe”, poses with her icon

Moduduetso Lecoge, the stage actress and director of the renowned “A woman of many firsts-the life of Dr. G Chiepe”, has said that doing the play showed her just how much resilience she has, announcing that she will soon take on another prominent Motswana woman’s life to the stage.

While she was cagey to reveal the next mystery of a “prominent Motswana woman”, whose life she will act out, Lecoge was happy to share what the A woman of Many Firsts, the play about her grandmother’s life, had impacted on her as an actress.

“I had to be on stage alone for 40 minutes. That requires a lot of focus and stamina. It was tough because I have never had to do that before but I managed to pull it off,” she told Weekend Life.

The play, staged at Maitisong last month, has been described by theatre enthusiasts as having broken the norm that ‘monologues are boring’.

People not privy to her acting prowess, would be forgiven to dismiss her along with the play, too, perhaps on the premise that she was taking advantage of being Dr. Chiepe’s grand-daughter. She, however, believes she was the right person to tell her grandmother’s story well.

“She is advancing in age, so she did not see what the fuss was about, and I do not think she would have opened up to anyone else the way she did with me. Plus, I have more than two decades worth of stories about her,” Lecoge stated with the confidence of one who knows her subject well.

From the beginning, the playwright had wanted people to take away the fact that a play staged by one person can be filled with an amalgamation of emotions, something she has so far achieved.

“The actress was quite animated in her work, she was really into evoking some emotion out of all of us and, as a matter of fact, she did just that,” a blogger wrote in her review of the play. “Personally, I took the play as one of my favourites of its kind. I think that the production team actually deserves applause for dramatizing history in such an enjoyable manner.”

Lecoge got standing ovations on all the three shows, which were all well attended.

The subject of the play, Dr. Chiepe herself, also weighed in and encouraged the actress.

“She is extremely proud and was blown away. She liked the play so much she watched the show twice,” said Lecoge. “Many of my family members, her included, did not understand why I wanted to study theatre, but she now says she sees that it has paid off, and that it is my calling and God-given talent.”

While she concedes that one man/woman plays are relatively new to Batswana, Lecoge said that she believes Batswana are more receptive to theatre than generally believed and that the appreciation for it has grown. “However, more support needs to be given to the arts,” she added.

Lecoge does not believe that women have it hard in theatre, particularly because of places like The Company@Maitisong and Folk Tale Theatre Company, which she said continue to give women like her and others the platform to showcase their skill.

The actress further revealed that since taking that first step to stage a solo performance, she is more and more determined to put more of her work out.

“I have finally found the courage and confidence to do solo projects. It is a lot more difficult but worth it,” she said.“I also want to be able to tell more African stories about unsung heroes. Recently, I joined Folk Tale Theatre Company and that is our mandate.”
Stage theatre, she said, has grown a lot in recent years.

“What makes me happy is the fact that more thespians are doing their own work. There is unbelievable talent here and more people are unleashing their potential.”

Lecoge is a third year Visual and Performing Arts student at the University of Botswana. She has been acting professionaly since 2014, when she acted in the Maitisong Festival headliner “Blue, Black and White”. She has also acted in “Pula:Money Matters” as well as in “Phemelo”, which was staged at the 2015 Letlhafula Festival, Madi Majwana, earlier this year as well as the Madi Majwana radio drama.

At the beginning of 2016, she joined Folk Tale Theatre Company as the fourth member. She has also been involved in other theatre productions at Maitisong, notably as Assistant Director for “Basadi ba ga Shakespeare” (part of the “Shakespeare o a Tshela” project).

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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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