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).
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.
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.
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.