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US actors Tasha Smith

US actors Tasha Smith

Dreams Alive Club founder, Tshepiso Tebogo-Maruping’s dream of fostering self-efficacy skills, leadership development among youth through the use of performing arts is slowly gaining ground. Launched just last year, the non-profit organisation has already brought three internationally renowned acts into the country for the cause, and this year they are at it again. On May 11 and 12, they are bringing Tasha Smith’s Actors Workshop (TSAW) to town.

Smith is American actress renowned for her part in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and sequel, Why Did I Get Married Too, she is currently supporting act on hit series Empire. The workshop will also feature another Empire actor, Morocco Omari who joined the show in its third season.

In an interview with Weekend Life, Tebogo-Maruping revealed that she had long wanted to have Smith run the workshop because of the TSAW as well as because she, not only as an actress but a business woman was well accomplished and she could inspire a lot of young people and aspiring actors and business women. When she founded the Dreams Alive Club, Tebogo-Maruping said she had emailed Smith about coming over to facilitate, but because of financial constraints the organisation could not afford to bring her over.

However, as fate would have it, Smith decided to come to Africa on holiday with friend Omari this May, and it was then that she got back in touch with Tebogo- Maruping about hosting the workshop.

“Having Tasha here is invaluable, it is not to be taken lightly as it is indeed a huge honor,” said the Dreams Alive Club Founder and coordinator.

While she acknowledges that because of the tickets’ fee most of the youth the organisation targets would be left out, she reiterated that the workshops are fundraisers for the outreach program she usually runs for children mainly from the Old Naledi Township and the Tlokweng SOS village.

The Actors’ workshop to be hosted at the Stanbic Piazza at Molapo Crossing will run in two parts,3 hours each. The first class on the 11th will run from 1pm to 4pm and will be for aspiring actors and the second which will run from 5 pm to 8 pm will be the master class. On the 12th, Smith will host a Women Empowerment Evening where she will interact with not only actors or aspiring actors but leaders in their own right as well as business people who may benefit from the motivation.

Furthermore, Tebogo-Maruping believes that although the Performing Arts industry has been mostly ignored in the country, it is starting to be acknowledged and she believes that by bringing international performers and actors, the sector will grow as a lot of talent will be developed.

The organisation has had good runs hosting workshops of this kind, in April last year it had brought, still from the US choreographer Reyna Joy Banks who facilitated dance workshops for various categories in Gaborone. Later in December of the same year, Banks returned to do more classes for Dreams Alive and the second time she conducted them with Braley Evans of Sparkle fame as well as Amber Baker.

Last year, said Tebogo-Maruping, the organisation received a lot of government support, to run the initial workshop, she said they benefited through the Arts and Culture grant.

This year though, the organisation did not receive any funding from government but she is hopeful that through support from stakeholders the event and other future plans will be successful.

The club, she revealed plans on having a boot camp later on it the year that will benefit all professionals in the performing arts, and she has her eye on more Hollywood talent so that they could cover different aspects of the performing arts.

“I think it’s important that we find the right support. Performing Arts opens people’s minds. Its a paradigm shift, resources and partnerships are necessary,” she said.

Smith and Omari, Weekend Life has learnt, will be on vacation in South Africa and will also visit Botswana around the time of the workshop. The 45 year old Smith is not only an actress as she is also a producer, the Couples Retreat star had her marriage to Keith Douglas annulled last year December after having being married for almost 5 years.

Meanwhile, 41 year old director and actor, Omari has had a career spanning 18 years in the TV industry and has also appeared in movies like Half Past dead 2 and Constellation. He was previously married to Jo’Nell Kennedy.

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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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