The second edition of the annual Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) 2015 is finally here, next week marks the commencement of the week long events. The much anticipated and most decorated week in the the country’s Arts calendar has been making headlines for quite some time now after its successful inauguration last year.
However, this year’s edition which is well hyped is promising to re- write history as fireworks are expected to detonate at the event. The event organisers went all to assemble Africa’s crème de la crème, pitted amongst our very best locals. It promises to be bigger and better.
The GIMC, is held to celebrate Gaborone and the culture of Batswana through music, festival, comedy, poetry, jazz, choral, cultural performances etc. It caters for everyone’s unique tastes so that no one is left out during the week’s events. Only the best international, regional & local artists are chosen to perform at GIMC in order to afford good quality performances for the attendees to get their money’s worth.
In line with international trends and standards Gaborone will this year once again be counted amongst the likes of Cape Town, Harare, Mbabane as it plays host to Botswana’s biggest music and culture event. Simply titled Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC), the weeklong event will run from 02- 06 September will showcase different forms of art.
On Wednesday 2nd September, BotswanaCraft will present the amazing poetry night featuring TJ Dema who did wonders and set the bar last year. TJ is a Motswana poet based overseas. She will perform alongside her counterpart who also performed during the inauguration week last year Mandisa Mabuthoe. The two are some of the country’s outstanding poets who are based in foreign land.
Thursday night, lovers of choral music will gather at Maitisong to enjoy the choral night which has brought yet again one of the most decorated and respect choirs in the country being KTM Choir alongside last year’s best archives’ of the 1st be Mobile National Choir Festival, Maikano Sereneders from Gaborone West.
They will share the stage with Trinity (UCCSA) as well as Mochudi Circuit Choir (DUTCH). Last year KTM proved to be master of the game after they were faced off with stiff competition from big horns such as Adante, Gaborone Youth Choir and Sedibeng choir. This was with no doubt one of best choral nights that brought together the battle of heavyweights.
The talk of town is the much awaited Friday night at the newly built Molapo Piazza where laughter is going to be the ‘business’ of the day as renowned comedians crack not just jokes but hit below the belt. Renowned international Poet from Nigeria, Basketmouth will stand a mêlée on the stage with local colossal act in Dignash alongside Major Moves Comedy’s Mawee and Rekunde.
Music lovers will get value for their money on Saturday at the national stadium when the music festival brings together a southern Africa affair. One of the bets groups to have ever emerged from the African soil, Mafikizolo from South Africa will be back at the same sport where they entertained the crowd a few weeks ago during the Orange Kabelano Charity cup.
They are definitely one of South Africa's most favourite music groups and they have worked hard to take their loyal fans through the musical journey of their lives. The transport for the journey is Six Mabone – a classic car of the 60s-which is the title of their seventh album.
Six Mabone is an album that made many people realise how rich South Africans are, musically and that with the right production team like Dangerous Combination Crew [DCC], Oscar "Oskido" Mdlongwa, Mandla "Spikiri" Mofokeng, Bruce "Dope" Sebitlo, Zynne "Mahoota" Sibika plus jazz maestro, Don Laka, behind you – you can keep the world on its dancing feet and win as many music awards as possible.
Six Mabone definitely cemented Mafikizolo's status as one of the most sensational groups in South Africa and musical phenomena in Africa.
Mafikizolo will be performing alongside Khuli Chana (SA), Gareth Cliff (SA), Jah Prayzah (ZIM), and locals Zeus, DJ Oneal, Sasa Klass, Charma Gal, Chrispin the Drummer, Dollar Mac, T.H.A.B.O, MMP Family, Mapetla, ATI, Eskimos, Lecco, Lizibo, Scar, BK Proctor, Mafitlhakgosi, Tumza and Dj Amstel.
To wrap up the show on Sunday, BotswanaCraft will once again treat Jazz music lovers to the great sounds of legendary South African Ringo Madlingozi alongside fellow countryman Kyle Shepherd featuring locals Sethunya Maele, Mpho Sebina and Jazzman. Obviously this is a Sunday not to be missed, Ringo has a very large following in Botswana and every time he visits he kills the show. Once more the event organisers urge Batswana to come out to make this show the next biggest event of all times.
Stakeholders are also encouraged to give their support to take it to greater heights; in years to come its impact should resemble a true Africa success story, the future Africa’s grandest gathering.
Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is known for its bad reputation that has been getting worse over the years. There has been a lot of chinwag, squabbles and the organization literally lost touch. It has gotten so bad that stakeholders pulled out, and members were left with no choice but to face the music alone.
Just when you’d think the waters are calm, the new Executive Committee awarded a fledgling company, Total Music Group, to handle the 2021 music awards. This move was seen as a biased decision that got BOMU members bent out of shape.
However, BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Rasina told Weekendlife that the Executive Committee that it has many irons in the fire. He indeed admitted without reluctance that, BOMU has been clouded by hubbub.
“We pledged when the new administration took over that it would begin with cleaning our own house. We have built structures as we had promised and we are glad that they are fully functional. One of those is the disciplinary committee.”
“BOMU has for a long time appeared to be lacking discipline and proper laid down procedures. This has led to the organization losing out big in its endeavour to serve its members and the entire music fraternity. The National Executive Committee, chapter committees and sub-committees have committed to ensuring that non proper governance and accountability shall take centre stage and this is all that is happening,” Rasina told Weekendlifeon Tuesday.
Rebuilding and rebranding a disintegrated intuition such as BOMU is not just a walk in the park, it needs concerted efforts and team work to actually reach that goal. A stitch in time saves nine, but as for BOMU, the entire union failed to address its dares a long time ago, but the union says everything is on track in recuperating public trust and fixing the mess created then.
BOMU Research and Policy Committee is hard finalizing a new code of conduct which will contribute significantly to how members and leadership conduct themselves and relate with each other for the furtherance of BOMU’s mandate, Weekendlifehas been reliably informed.
“We are doing everything according to our constitution, logic and reason. We advise our members that they should point out where the constitution has been breached and that they are at liberty to follow due process and report any misconduct to the disciplinary committee,” said Rasina.
This is following the suspension of some executive committee members and BOMU subscribed members for questioning the integrity in awarding the music awards tender. Some members, told Weekendlife that they will seek legal advice on the matter.
“We do have members who have already appeared before the disciplinary committee on various charges and decisions are yet to be taken. We also have members who are yet to appear before the committee for various complaints levelled against them. Current suspensions are related to various complaints and offences.”
With regard to appointing Total Music Group, BOMU National Executive Committee says it used Article 9.3.19 of its constitution. The article says; “The National Executive Committee of BOMU shall have the authority to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the Union.’’
Rasina says the leadership needed a company to manage, host and sell the BOMU awards for five years consecutively so as to attain stability and refurbish the brand image of both the music awards and the organization. “Without any money at our disposal, we debated on the best model and agreed that we should engage a company that also has the capacity to mobilize resources. We used our discretion and decided on a direct appointment model which is perfectly legal and constitutional.”
To a stranger, Seneo Perry would describe herself as a young darling zealous about wildlife conservation, international travel and tourism enthusiast.
She is also a staunch believer in empowering young children through educational programs that could expose them to live improved livelihoods.
Perry is a former beauty queen (Miss Earth Botswana 2020). For her, a beauty queen should get down and put in some work, get dirt and make an impact. Of course a picture paints a thousand words, and judging from her successful projects, she lives the talk.
During her reign, Perry adopted the SOS Children’s Village. This is a home for 92 orphaned and less privileged children. She introduced few projects to aid the running of the children village, at the same time sourcing sponsors. She named one of her projects ‘Restoring the Prime Colors of the Earth.’
Restoring The Prime Colors of the Earth was founded on the basis of teaching children about the importance of conservation and environmental protection through tree planting and vegetable gardens.
The project, she told Weekendlife this week, gained local and international recognition, particularly from tourism magazines.
COVID-19 came over and messed up her strategies for the year. Perry however did not cry over spilt milk instead she was smart enough to divert into other streams of raising funds to execute her obligations.
Perry did not put all of her eggs in one basket by doing something that could make her get infected, but rather sold t-shirts that would double as a promotion strategy dubbed #PeopleWildlifeEnvironment. To this date, she raised over P7000.
“I love being out in the wild and promoting sustainable tourism. I would then pick the best 10 children that worked very hard at the project I have with them and introduce them to the wild with the money I raised,” she said in an exclusive interview.
“The idea is to stick to making the trip for the children educational especially on the aspect of conservation because realistically speaking tourism is the backbone of conservation.
I want them to have first-hand experience with the African elephant and visit the Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation in Maun. Unfortunately due to floods in Moremi Game Reserve, the plan of a game drive has been aborted.”
Initially, Perry says she wanted the children to have been those from the SOS Children’s Village. She had to put them on ice due to insufficient funds to transport them to Maun. This however did not dishearten Perry, instead she located Bana Ba Letsatsi (in Maun) to embark on this journey.
She told Weekendlife that the trip will be undertaken today (Saturday 20th March 2021).“Tourism has always been the backbone of conservation and it needs to be protected. Therefore, it is imperative to introduce children to wild spaces so they get to appreciate the ecosystem in the wild.
These young children will be leaders and decision makers in the near future. Decisions made will either cause a catastrophe to the wild or help it recover to a point wherein both humans and animals co-exist.
Seneo Perry is an environmentalist equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University and Miss Earth Botswana 2019 finalist. She was crowned Queen in 2020.
She is also a member of Kalahari Conservation Society, a conservation society which is instrumental in environmental initiatives and activities that concern the environment.
Beyoncé once said in one of her famous songs; ‘I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want’ and Sasa Klaas took those lyrics to heart, living her life according to what pleased her, not caring how people perceived her. Klaas was unapologetic about how she lived her life.
Sasa was born Sarona Motlhagodi on the 17th May 1993, daughter to Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Annah Motlhagodi. Sasa’s music career took off when she collaborated with Scar in ‘A ke mo khande’, soon after that she became a presenter on etv’s The Foundation: The Next Level from 2011-2012, following which she released her first solo hit Hadsan.
Klaas was mostly known for her hit single MmaMongwato, released in 2015 and in between she featured on many songs with the likes of songstress Samantha Mogwe, BanT, William Last KRM, to mention but a few. Her last song was with her on and off boyfriend Baxon, releasing ‘The best things’.
Sasa was an embodiment of a 21st century phenomenal woman. She challenged stereotypes associated with women in the male-dominated music industry, breaking glass ceilings to become the country’s most recognised female rapper.
A thick skin she had, she would take criticism as sarcasm and laugh off all trolls made about her. Obviously criticism hurts, but for her, it was more of a learning curve to be sturdier rather than a stumbling block.
Her controversial nude posts didn’t sit well with a number of people but that did not stop the artist from living her life as she pleased. Skin, especially on social media, has been regarded as distasteful but for Klaas it was another form of art, it was her idea of feminism. She was a nudist and unapologetic about it.
For so many young women in this generation, showing your skin is being content with yourself, at least, some learnt this from Klaas.
Living life like there is no tomorrow doesn’t necessarily mean going way too fast with the trends. It actually denotes to being able to delight yourself with the premium things you like. This means going out on vacations, checking in at the best hotels in town and catching up with friends.
She was a fun enthusiast (unapologetically so), and a bubbly figure who would pose for pictures at any given time. Klaas lived her life fiercely and fearlessly. Her passion and pursuit for the things she loved was unmatched.
SASA KLAAS’ DEATH Saturday 6th March 2021 was never the same again. Self-proclaimed queen of hip-hop, singer, songwriter, influencer, socialite, feminist, activist and go-getter Sarona Motlhagodi was shockingly announced dead on this day.
It has been reported numerous times that Sasa Klaas died of a helicopter crash at Xumabee Game Ranch, in the West Sandveld near Sojwe. According to an official communication from government, the pilot was unable to execute a safe landing.
An official statement from the family spokesperson and uncle to Sasa, Frans Van Der Westhuizen said that at the time of her death, Sasa was in a helicopter with one Leonard Matenge. Matenge survived the crash having sustained minor injuries. The preliminary findings from the helicopter are yet to be concluded by the aviation authority.
BECOMING MMAMONGWATO Sasa Klaas climbed the industry ladder steadily over the years since her debut, cementing herself as a household power brand. “Over the years, I have grown from that young woman, I have found a new sound and direction that I am now following.”
Her hot single release ‘MmaMongwato’ sent all her young and old aficionados to cloud 9. They obsessed over the hit and it is without doubt Sasa Klaas did justice to the song, so much so it had social media and radio stations in a frenzy.
The queen herself, said the inspiration behind the song stems from the norm where slim women have been projected as the ideal model of beauty. Technically, she represented women with her full figure-ness, a description so familiar with Bangwato women, hence the title of the song ‘MmaMongwato’.
Since then, Sasa Klaas challenged women to be themselves. She was a feminist and would use her social media to effect change as best as she could. She had over 140 000 followers on her Facebook page before her untimely demise.
When addressing the media at the time (June 2015), Sasa Klaas said, “We have learnt that the feminine side has not been given a chance for expression. Women are always seen as a sex symbol.MmaMongwato is a song I dedicated to women and it will help remove that mentality.”
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY LEFT REELING The sudden passing on of Sasa Klaas has left the music industry shattered and in despair. The queen of rap was indeed the people’s bae, even artists in neighbouring countries have sent their messages of condolence, South African rapper Tuks Senganga being one of them.
In Botswana many fellow artists have taken to social media to show their shock and send messages of condolence to the family.
“You represented women in the male dominated industry. I appreciate you for representing women, teaching them to love and appreciate themselves,” wrote Amantle Brown. “Your absence will be evident and it will be felt in every single way,” says Samantha Mogwe.
Vee Mampeezy has urged Batswana to continue celebrating Sasa’s life and changing their Facebook profile pictures to any picture of Sasa, most followers have done so in respect of the life lived by Klaas.
May your soul rest in peace Sarona ‘Sasa Klaas’ Motlhagodi.