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Friday, 19 April 2024

Sereetsi; A Master of arts

WeekendLife

Growing up in the dusty streets of Somerset Township in Francistown, music was the only thing that comforted people, when you had it you would flaunt it. To him music became part of his life. Having passed through the stage of being a newspaper Editor, he bears a strong character, he developed a thick skin and he is not easily shaken, he is the body of skills, and mastermind behind a unique album that a few months ago not only blew the entire industry but set the bar high in terms of local productions Writes DAVE BAAITSE.

From a tender age, music was the only art discipline that he fell in love with before theatre and writing. This was best influenced by the environment in which he grew up, a township where he was exposed to loud music playing from drinking spots or just neighbours who had bought a new cassette and wanted to show off. He recalls the beats of Disco, the melody of Reggae and thumps of Mosako, the popular township music of the late 80’s and early 90’s he was often exposed to.

Tomeletso Sereetsi could be best described as a force to reckon with. After graduating from the University of Botswana with a double major in English and Sociology, he was first recruited to Mmegi Newspaper as a reporter, where he did not stay long before moving to Echo Newspaper, rising through the ranks until he became the Chief Editor. Through his professional journalism career, he later found himself at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) based in Palapye, a move he jokingly dispels and tells how he does not know how it came about. At the end of his contract, Sereetsi who had a burning desire to give full attention to his calling in music was more than determined to hit the ground running. He did not want to extend his contract.  

Eventually, this led to the birth of his first studio recording album Four Strings Confessions which was released in April 30, 2015. The album which made headlines, left many jaw dropped went abuzz on social media and has won many hearts. The album was well crafted and bore diverse elements of musical productions roped into a single creativity that endured a wide spectrum of creativity with a basis of Setswana culture dominating.

He reveals that Radio Botswana, being the only station that played when he was growing up played a major role in exploring his talent as a musician. He still recalls how he used to steal a radio as a small boy listening to great shows like hard rock, Country music which played the greatest artist of all times like Dolly Parton, Dobie Gray and others. His favourite show by then was called Come- Together which according to him played the greatest bands.

He was however introduced to his magical instrument, a four string guitar by a program called Dipina le Maboko which paled during weekends. It played some of the talented Batswana four string guitarists and his all time favourite player was a Lecheng born Toko who was known as ‘Phunyaselesele’. Others were Phika Ditsebe, Clever Sibanda, Sam Raditsebe just to mention a few.

The beauty of playing this magical instrument was later translated into a book because according to Sereetsi, people look down on it and take it for granted. He would also write a book, also entitled “Four String Confessions” to preserve the tradition of the four string guitar. It was the pressure that came with the book that finally had start working on the album; the book brought a lot of criticism with it, as after its publishing some people questioned how he could write on an instrument he himself could not play.

It is safe to say that through the album, Sereetsi has managed to silence all his doubters. His album has, for the better part of the year, and since its release been the talk of town, and its launch last weekend was just testament to that.  The launch was competing against two major events that coincided with his show, The BOPEU Live Concert featuring Tshepo Tshola at Stanbic Molapo Piazza and Mascom Live Sessions Featuring Lira and Samantha Mogwe at Botswana Craft. However Sereetsi who was performing for a sober audience at Maitisong Theatre had his show sold out at a venue which has a four hundred and fifty sitting capacity.

A special moment for the crisp voiced folklore artist, “This was special and I was feeling emotional, it gives hope in terms of our music industry considering that I did not get any support from the corporate world,” said Seeretsi in an interview with WeekendLife.  To him working at a big institution like BIUST was a great experience, he was exposed to people who made him aware of his potential. It made him realise the abnormity and capacity of understanding what he can do.  He currently seats home and makes music, which is now the main thing that puts bread on his table and pays his bills.             
 

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WeekendLife

Radio titans gloss RB2

11th April 2024

 

In a thrilling turn of events, former YFM on-air presenter Petula Khulman, now known as Petula El’Kindiy, is set to co-host the morning show with the station’s current star, Thabo Bolokwe, fondly referred to as T.H.A.B.O. Petula’s radio journey began at Yarona FM and spanned over a year and a half, during which she honed her skills and developed a loyal fan base.

Petula, a Media Studies graduate from Rhodes University, holds a wealth of experience in the industry. Her career took her across borders, from Yarona FM to Gabz FM, and even to a community radio station, Bay FM. She later returned to YFM, where she hosted a show called The Plaground.

Her latest venture, “The Morning Essentials,” kicked off on July 1, 2020. The show, which airs from 3am to 5am on weekdays and 6am to 10am on Saturdays, quickly gained popularity among listeners. Petula attributes her success to her passion for media, music, and dance, as well as her appreciation for her colleagues at YFM.

However, her journey wasn’t without its challenges. In 2023, her work permit was denied by South African authorities, leading to a temporary pause in her radio career. Despite the setback, Petula remains undeterred and is ready to bring her bubbly personality and captivating voice back to the airwaves of RB2.

 

Adding to the excitement, Khumo ‘Missgeekays’ Kgwaadira is also making a comeback. The popular media personality and businesswoman, who was last heard on RB2 in October 2022, will be back on air from Monday. Missgeekays, who owns a restaurant called Kana Kgang, has been keeping herself busy with various ventures, including a stint as a freelance presenter.

Her return to RB2 is eagerly anticipated, and her fans are thrilled to hear that she will be back in her familiar mid-morning slot. The exact details of her show are still under wraps, but one thing is for sure – with the new lineup, RB2 is poised to make a big splash in the radio landscape.

“With the new lineup, RB2 will be the biggest thing ever. We expect fireworks and amusement from the morning through mid-morning and the afternoons. All the faces that are returning to the airwaves will contribute to the radio station’s growth and a snowballing of listenership,” a source close to the station revealed.

So, get ready for a thrilling ride as RB2 unveils its new look and lineup this coming Monday. With Petula El’Kindiy and Khumo ‘Missgeekays’ Kgwaadira leading the charge, there’s no doubt that RB2 is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever!

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WeekendLife

Strawberry Ritual: An unconventional key to virtual interview success

11th April 2024

In the modern era of swift communication, where digital platforms have become the cornerstone of professional interactions, mastering the nuances of a Zoom interview is a vital skill for job applicants. The pivot towards remote work has rendered platforms like Zoom indispensable for establishing connections with prospective employers. So, imagine if we told you that a humble fruit could be the secret ingredient to enhancing your self-assurance and excelling in that virtual interview? Indeed, the fruit in question is the strawberry!

“A whopping 59.1% of the workforce prefers remote work over a conventional office setting,” asserts Forbes, a staggering fact that underscores the global trend of working from home. In the UK, Zoom witnessed a dramatic surge in its daily active users (DAU), peaking at approximately 1.7 million around the end of November 2020. This significant upswing in DAU coincided with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, as more individuals began participating in virtual meetings for both work and social engagements with their families and friends.

But how does a strawberry fit into this narrative? What might seem like a punchline to a whimsical joke could revolutionize your approach to virtual job interviews. CEO Chantry Somtun of JustBanter shares this ingenious trick that could make a world of difference.

According to CEO Chantry Somtun of JustBanter, consuming a strawberry before your Zoom call could have a profound impact on your performance. The National Institute of Health has discovered that strawberries contain folate, a compound that aids in calming nerves and reducing anxiety by stimulating the production of serotonin, a hormone crucial for maintaining a positive mood and mental well-being. Moreover, strawberries are teeming with anthocyanins, antioxidants that enhance brain and emotional health, making them an excellent choice for those seeking to alleviate stress and anxiety before significant virtual meetings.

So, how can you incorporate this simple yet potent trick into your pre-Zoom routine? It’s as straightforward as savoring a few fresh strawberries 10-20 minutes before your call. If fresh strawberries are unavailable, frozen ones or even a refreshing strawberry smoothie can serve as excellent alternatives. For the best results, consume the strawberries on an empty stomach to ensure faster absorption of folate and maximize their mood-enhancing benefits.

Beyond just soothing your nerves before a critical interview, strawberries offer a myriad of health benefits, such as being rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to overall well-being. By integrating strawberries into your pre-Zoom ritual, you can not only boost your confidence but also support your body’s health in the process.

In a competitive job market where first impressions matter, adopting this unconventional yet effective strategy could be the game-changer you need to distinguish yourself and leave a lasting impression on potential employers. Therefore, the next time you have a Zoom interview scheduled, reach for some strawberries and experience the positive difference they can make in enhancing your confidence and performance.

In a world where virtual connections have become the new norm, utilizing simple yet powerful techniques like the strawberry trick can set you apart and help you navigate the challenges of virtual job interviews with ease. By capitalizing on the natural benefits of this humble fruit, you can elevate your Zoom confidence to unprecedented heights and pave the way for success in your job search. So, why not seize the day? Grab some strawberries, take a bite, and witness your Zoom interview game soar to new heights!

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WeekendLife

Mrs Botswana’s ‘MO’ to gender parity

18th March 2024
Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong

Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong, an illustrious beacon brightening the corners of Botswana, wields her vision for gender equity and empowerment like a torch, illuminating paths for her community. Standing at the helm of the Anaya-Tlhwatlhwa Foundation, and donning multiple hats as an international personal wellness coach, a savvy business magnate, and the esteemed Mrs. Botswana 2023/24, her mission is to cast rays of change into the lives she touches.

Her strategy for bridging the gender divide is both comprehensive and visionary. Mokgathong, understanding the vitality of lifting women and girls, equally champions the cause of young boys and men. She advocates for a culture of mutual admiration and understanding across gender lines, fostering a society unbound by the shackles of conventional gender roles—a society where balance and harmony reign supreme.

 

In her magnum opus, a collaborative venture with entities like NAPHA, Men and Boys for Gender Justice, the Botswana Police Service, and Girls for Girls Botswana, lies a quest for familial empowerment. Her goal is to fortify the foundation of families, supporting parents and guardians, sons and daughters alike, equipping them with the capabilities to forge strong intrapersonal and professional bonds.

 

“My project is family oriented, we want to focus on the family as a whole, we want to help both parents or guardians, men and women and the children of households both boy and girl. I am passionate in doing so because lately women and the girl child have been given a pedestal, they have been given a lot of help and a lot of recognition while men are considered as perpetrators and young boys are neglected, therefore we want to groom both the girl and boy child so that they grow up to be able to interact with each other and when they get to relationships, be it personal or work wise,” she said.

 

Mokgathong’s reach extends further than mere intervention; she invests in the empowerment of individuals through education, skill development, and the allocation of resources crucial for autonomy and enduring triumphs. By nurturing innate capabilities, igniting the flames of innovation, and promoting entrepreneurship, she sets the stage for marginalized communities to emerge from the shadows of dependency, crafting their own realms of prosperity.

 

“As we educate a girl child to be strong and independent, we also enable a young man or boy to be able to accept that strong independent woman, ensuring that the equation is balanced. I also want to help stop gender-based violence while protecting our children. When I began my initiative, it was based on GBV and child protection, but it developed into campaigning for the less fortunate and vulnerable,” she stresses.

 

Her journey, fraught with hurdles, including early disappointments in her pursuit of the Mrs. Botswana title, stands testament to her resilience and indomitable spirit. Gratitude fills her heart for mentors, sponsors, kin, and comrades whose support has sculpted her into the powerhouse she is today.

 

She says: “People want to be involved with you when you are a top finalist or the reigning queen. When I first started, I was only a person, and it was difficult and time-consuming to generate cash, solicit donations, and obtain obligation, particularly in rural areas. But right now, as the reigning queen it is a bit easier to reach out to collaborators and sponsors and I pray to God that as I am continuing with my project after crowning the new queen it will continue to be so and growth and more people will be willing to invest and help out.”

 

Juggling her myriad roles demands the prowess of a maestro, yet Mokgathong thrives by weaving her family into her philanthropic endeavors and mastering the art of time management. She empowers young aspirants to self-reflect, establish objectives, harness mentorship and sponsorship, and gear up for the trials that lie ahead.

 

As Mrs. Botswana, her ambition soars beyond personal accolades; it’s tethered to the upliftment of her nation through the empowerment of women, the nurturing of men’s talents, and the preparation of the youth for a flourishing future. She envisages expanding the Anaya-Tlhwatlhwa Foundation’s influence, delving deeper into rural engagements to sow seeds of empowerment and hope for generations yet to come.

 

“For charity work to be more effective, I believe we need to empower other than just giving. We need to empower the less privileged and the vulnerable, with the right skills and knowledge so that they can sustain themselves in the long run. We need to help those who are talented and innovative. I am proud to say my work is doing wonders, the kids that we are mentoring are able to find direction in life, they now know what they want to be as they grow up and they are able to identify subjects they want to study and career they want to pursue. Families that we have been in contact with, families that are from different background are able to identify their skills and they are able to grow and turn them into businesses.”

 

In essence, Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong stands as a pillar of strength and a source of inspiration in Botswana. Her unwavering commitment to fostering gender equality, community upliftment, and personal development lights the way for others. Through her relentless endeavors and steadfast dedication, she renders a profound impact on her community and beyond, etching a durable mark of empowerment and optimism.

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