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A Journey in Vegetarianism


Growing up in Gaborone of the 1970s and 80s, in what some might have called a regular, lower-middle-class, single-income family, food for us at home nearly always consisted of nothing else but traditional Tswana/Setswana cuisine –mabele [sorghum], bogobe jwa lerotse, morogo [traditional greens], dinawa [black eyed beans], ditloo [Jugo beans], mmidi [maize], and, of course, this being Botswana, meat, meat, meat – though even this latter commodity would over the years become increasingly unaffordable for many urban households, without the option of slaughtering their own stock!


Only occasionally, on a Sunday, after church or Sunday school, as the case might be, or, for that matter, on Christmas Day, as those of our generation might care to recall, would one ever get to taste the much desired chicken and rice combo.


So you can imagine my shock when, in 1992, on an excursion to the East African nation of Tanzania, I was told that of all things, rice, which we here in Botswana have long considered to be something of a;’[ special treat, and definitely something to write home about, was for them, along with ugali, just another staple – eaten almost every other day (sometimes with milk!) by both the urban elite and the common people in the countryside.


Then in 1986, when, like a soldier headed for battle, I went out on my national tour of duty in Tirelo Sechaba, I experienced what I might regard as my first major dietary disruption – since TS was, if nothing else, all about tin-stuff – those cartons of Luck Star fish, corned beef, baked beans, and the like, that one hoarded in their kitchen.


So with neither mum nor sisters, at home, to prepare any of those nice and sumptuous family meals, for many us, TS participants, the scheme also coincided with a major decline in our eating habits, essentially reducing many to a life of only tin, rust and zinc.


Then a year later, in August 1987, while I was registering as a fresherman at the UB, my stomach hit rock bottom again, with the advent of institutional and communal eating arrangements, with then UB head cook, Mme Mma Dichaba, spoiling us to her treats of boiled chicken and rice and the like – which one would suppose were not too different from what they ate in government hospitals and the prisons services, for instance – and which we, freshermen, relished so much and gnoshed with gusto and glee, as befits highly active and blooming youth.


However, I would not be for too long an ecstatic and enthusiastic guest at Mma D’s table, for mid-way into my academic programme at the UB, I would soon be railroaded to stop eating meat and subscribe to a strict and sparse form of vegetarianism – no beef, no chicken, no eggs, and the like – by my rasta minders on campus.


And even though I would once in a while find myself shuffling indecisively at the head of the food queue, not sure whether to dig into Mma D’s piles of boiled chicken in front of me, or just simply settle for the standard soya, which the kitchen staff had taken to preparing as a stop-gap measure ‘for the rastas’, I would over time take my vegetarianism to even newer heights by finally throwing the eggs and fish out of the kitchen window – essentially rendering me an ultra veg, or vegan, in the process.


And still talking about fish, I had been told by none other than Ras Bupe, a dreadlocked Jamaican émigré and one my rasta friends and interlocutors in Dar, that it was ‘actually a very dirty animal’ that absorbed all manner of impurities under water – despite it being eaten in virtually all parts of Tanzania since the country is not only coastal but is also home to many inland water sources, rivers and lakes.


Then, years afterwards, while living temporarily outside Botswana as a foreign student, I would find being a vegetarian one of the simplest things one could ever do – even though my housemates, who from other African countries, would swear to God that they could not, in all honesty, reconcile being vegetarian and being African, at the same time!


Around the same time, too, almost everyone at home was on my case, turning up the pressure on me, my dad even asking my ‘better enlightened’ brother-in-law to help to make me understand that ‘man could not live without meat’ and that you needed beef in order to develop strong bones and a sound mind!


In this, they were apparently not alone.


For in his book The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (first published in 1884), Marx’s old friend and confidante, Friedrich Engels, had stated quite bluntly that "The superior development of Aryans and Semites is, perhaps, attributable to the copious meat and milk diet of both races, more especially to the favorable influence of such food on the growth of children. As a matter of fact, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico who live on an almost purely vegetarian diet have a smaller brain than the Indians in the lower stage of barbarism who eat more meat and fish.” (Italics mine).


But finding it increasingly difficult to tie together a solid and steady vegetarian regimen in a new and shared setting, and with my shoulder length ‘dreadlocks’ to also tag along (and feed), I was massively famished and undernourished, weighing only 45 kg on the bathroom scale – which I would grow to dislike.


And, finally coming home to settle, in the dreary late nineties, my choosiness on matters of food and diet began to slowly fizzle out as I came upon and re-entered that shared, traditional cuisine that I had grown on and quit some seven years earlier – arguably in favour of something healthier, more ethical and ‘spiritual’, to use a popular cliché!

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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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