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Botswana’s Jubilee: An oddessy of the blue-eyed boy of Africa


As a blistering wind tears across a little stadium at the eastern end of Gaborone at midnight on the 30th day of September 1966, a daring political and constitutional adventure is unfolding. A hitherto unknown black, white and blue striped banner makes a bold ascent up the flag mast, seemingly dwarfing the descending union Jack flag of the once mighty British Empire. A new republic is born in the family of nations.


Cradled at the centre of the Southern African subcontinent, Botswana in 1966 is a daring political experiment. Colonial tyranny and the subjugation of its African neighbours on its northern, southern, eastern and western frontiers is the order of the day.

Its economic fortunes are to both the daring and   the fainthearted, doubtful. As the instruments of constitutional transfer are exchanged, the British Colonial Government's only bequest to the fledgling republic is a poor economy, with little next to no economic infrastructure.

However, the fervent zeal of the patriotism of the nation's peoples, is carving a bold and undaunted vision. A new national optimism is in the air, seemingly spurred on by the sheer thrill of a new democratic enterprise in the African continent.


The narrative of Botswana five decades on, is an epic tale of staggering economic strides, an unrivaled track record of multi party democracy, and a political stability and peace that has defied the odds of  decades old regional political turbulence ,as well as a roller coaster of misrule in our continent.

As the nation stands on the jubilee threshold, emergent winds buffet the gains  of our national project , and these summon the benign temerity and daring of our generation to  not only protect a national legacy, but to  also bequeath a just and equitable order to the next generation of our people.


Deeply embedded in the tale of Botswana’s stupendous odyssey, is a miracle hidden in the laying of its foundation stone, one hundred and thirty years ago. The mystery of a selfless and God fearing people ,whose  Christian monarchs and peoples in 1885, surrendered their realms and sovereignty for the forging of greater Tswana nationhood.

Against the backdrop of sheer European colonial presumption, and the imperialist designs played out at the 1885 Berlin Conference for the partition of Africa, the founding fathers of our nation, Khama the Great, Kgosi Bathoen the First, and Sebele the Second, embarked upon a daring campaign throughout the British Isles  in the year 1895, to defy the grand ambitions of the export capital of the British South Africa Company.

As their epic campaign reaches a crescendo, and with British public opinion firmly behind them, their engagement with the British government saves Botswana from annexation and control by the British South Africa Company. It is a major turning point in the history of the nation.


It is however what the three Chiefs do at their historic meeting with Queen Victoria that may very well be at the centre of the mystery of our nation's fortunes.  Accompanied by their hand maiden and adviser, the Reverend Willoughby, the chiefs hand over to Queen Victoria the gift of a Bible.

Could it be that the powerful symbolism of a compact between the four monarchs, symbolised by the Bible as a token of exchange, served to indelibly etch God's ordinances into the very DNA of the foundation stone of our nation? Could this explain the relative peace and stability of our nation and its economic fortunes?

Does this mystery have anything  to do with the remarkable pattern of Christian ministers who graced our key seats  of governance at the founding stages of our nation, such as the Rev Dr Alfred Merriweather our first parliament speaker, the Rev Derek Jones, as the first mayor of our capital city of Gaborone, serving together with the first ten councillors of our capital, two of whom, Rev. Geoffrey Mogome and Rev Makhaola were God fearing leaders from the Assemblies of God tradition.

Or could the prayer of the Scottish missionary John Mackenzie, our nation's  first colonial Governor, made on the banks of the Losie river in Elgin in Scotland, asking the Almighty God to send him to serve in foreign mission fields, have anything to do with it?


Not only has Botswana's stability been a blessing to its people, but many other people fleeing persecution and political oppression from the region and the continent, over the many years. Following the massacre and genocide of the Maharero  people on the Namib desert by German colonialists at the beginning of the 20th century, the Maharero  people of Chief Samuel Maharero took refuge in Bechuanaland.

Botswana has played host to most liberation political movements of its surrounding nations over the decades of political struggle. If any redemptive purpose has been ascribed to Botswana, it's the endowment by Almighty God to serve the nation's as a City of refuge, and to showcase peace, and a just and equitable order to the nation's.


One thing is abundantly clear, while the sheer industry of a people and its leaders may advance the fortunes of their nation, the enterprise of nationhood out with the providential intervention of the maker of the heavens and the earth, is consummate human presumption destined to flounder on the alter of humanist egotism.

The  universal tenets of God make a clarion call to us at this hour of jubilee, to summon the nation to a moment of sober reflection, acknowledging His divine providence, and entreating Him to steer us into good fortune for the coming season and generations to come.


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WeekendLife

‘Mindset’ unlocks positive mindset

2nd February 2023
At the age of 17, Boniface Lewanika is ready to take over the world. He has shown commitment to being the next big thing to ever emerge from Botswana. Mindset MusiQ, as he is affectionately known, is a self-taught music producer. The story of how Mindset started music production can be traced back to end-to-end lockdowns, which jaded him to the core.

At least, for Mindset MusiQ, these lockdowns were a blessing in disguise. He got to unlock the hidden potential in him, or maybe, the creativity that he never knew about. Being locked down meant that Mindset MusiQ has plenty of time to waste, but he was quick to switch his mindset to coming up with something positive.

He saw it much better to waste time on the internet. Well, for lot of people, the internet was the only saving grace then. But for Mindset MusiQ, it was the beginning of a journey that he intends to walk for the rest of his life.

“I became a music producer because I love music. I then asked myself why I should not make music, that’s when in 2020 during lockdowns I started watching YouTube tutorials on how to make music. I didn’t have any knowledge on how to produce a song. YouTube introduced me to Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) which is a software used for music production.”

The Letlhakane born then downloaded his first software which was Ableton Live, which was way too complex and distorted. “I felt it was too hard to learn and I switched to FI studio which was also complicated but fortunately, easy to use. Because I don’t have a good voice to sing, music production became too good to me and very flexible to embark on.”

Mindset MusiQ became part of the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) national roadshow, after being picked from the capacity building workshop. He was challenged to speak to the audience, fellow creatives (artists and music producers) and his presentation caught the eye of the adjudicator, DJ Fresh.

“I heard about the artist’s capacity building workshop from my mother, who saw it on Facebook. My father immediately reacted and dropped me off and even though I was late, the host then introduced me and the rest became history. As we speak, I am part of the Top 30, and we will be having the finale on the 11th of February in Gaborone.”

Being on the Top 30 for Mindset MusiQ is a dream come true. This is because he wasn’t even told that there will be a boot camp and grand prizes, and he has always wanted to advance his premature music career. He said this has shown that he is on the right track.

“Working with DJ Fresh is really cool. It’s not everyone who can be afforded that opportunity and the experience humbles me all the time. Already, I have rocked the Thando remix and I can’t wait to do more with his mentorship.”

Mindset MusiQ is currently in South Africa working on cooking more music with industry moguls. He was invited by producer Trey Bankz and some colleagues from Imperial City Music, a new record label in Johannesburg

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WeekendLife

All The Star She Is lands on BTV

2nd February 2023
With zero existence of TV programs empowering women in Botswana, a new show that strives to make that news of the past has just started airing on the tedious BTV. At least, after so many years, All The Star She Is will inspire viewers to see a new change in terms of supporting women in Botswana.

Each incredible series celebrates women but not from all walks of life, but those who are turning heads in the entertainment industry. The show will cast a bright light on women who have conquered tremendous obstacles and weathered the storms.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Monday, Director of Cosign267 Koone Boikaego said the show reveals the paths that these phenomenal women took to be where they are in the entertainment and media industry.

Cosign267 is a 100% youth owned film and TV Production Company led by Boikaego. It has worked with a number of organization, executing various projects such as filming, shooting, editing and one-on-one couch interviews.

The youthful company recently wrapped up the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) three months’ national roadshow and boot camp. It was assigned with capturing all moments of the roadshow, alongside Thato DJ Fresh Sikwane.

“Celebrating women is one thing that is often overlooked. We put together this project to take followers into the lives of creative and incredible women. They are determined to break walls and pave way for the next generation of women. In this show, these women serve viewers with factual stories of how they started and what it takes to be at the forefront, the bittersweet experiences that took them that far. It’s really a show that many young girls can draw inspiration from.”

Breaking down the show plan, Boikaego said airs every Saturday on BTV at 6PM, hosted by One Rabantheng. Rabantheng, famously known as Divine Diva is a media and marketing consultant, legendary radio personality who worked for Duma FM, e-TV and RB2, where she was shown the door for speaking foul of the then President without being aware that the microphone is on.

There are thirteen stars to be featured on the new show, therefore, this means that there will be thirteen episodes. Some of the familiar faces featured on the TV show are: Mpho Sebina, Olorato Ledique, Oratile Kebakile, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Tumi Ramsden, Kelly Ramputswa, Tshepie Olds, Winx Motcher, Mmaphala, Loretta and Nicole Martinez among others.

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WeekendLife

Lifestyle enthusiasts feel Big Brother vibes

27th January 2023

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.”

THE LOVE

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.

WINNING STRATEGY

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.”

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