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Molapo Crossing vouches for artists

Introduces Molapo Piazza for night shoppers, fun lovers

Your all round entertainment centre is ready to host any event of repute. Be it your favourite international artists, or indoor sports and fun events, finally Molapo Piazza is ready to satisfy all checklists for best audio and visual quality, and capacity crowd controls.


The Piazza is the latest feature to complement Molapo Crossing, which has been in existence for 11 years as an expediency mall placed between the busiest intersections in Botswana.


“Molapo crossing is a mall that focuses on basically the small shops, it is unique from these other entire malls because most of the shops here are locally owned,” said Luc Vandecesteele, the owner of the Molapo Piazza.


 “We have never wanted to compete with any other shopping centre, we are small and different.” Luc said they give preference to small shops because that is their uniqueness. “We are trying to support our fellow citizens.”


Molapo Piazza is the only venue in Botswana specifically designed as a multi-purpose entertainment center. It caters for a capacity crowd of over 4,000 standing or 1,400 seated fans. The Piazza is designed as a multi-functional auditorium allowing more flexibility and choice to the organizer of any quality concert or expo with ease. The Piazza is ideal for indoor sports, entertainment of all sorts, gatherings, conventions, expos, product launches and most of all performing arts. It has the only stage in Botswana that can cater for a full Philharmonic Orchestra.


This venue has been certified by different international organisations to be of international specifications. “We have been contacted by a company in South Africa, “BIG CONCERTS” to hold legendary John Legend but we had to refuse because we were not yet done with constructions, but in the near future we shall hold international acts,” said Luc. Molapo Piazza has been certified and visited by companies and government departments like Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, HRDC and COSBOTS. “Everybody has been here really,” said Luc.


Having started all the work in mid 2013, Molapo Piazza’s owner says that he always wanted to promote creativity in Botswana. “The government should start teaching and promoting creativity in schools because the future belongs to the creative minds,” he says.


According to Luc, the reason why they at Molapo Piazza promote creativity is because he encourages people to create their own shows.


“Molapo Piazza is just a package; all we want is promoters and artists to create their own shows. We have it all here and we are the new kings in town,” said Kgosi Goodwill, the events manager.


The project, which cost almost P55 million will support local artists. Molapo Piazza has joined hands with The Botswana Society for the Arts, Maitisong and Thapong to support local artists. “Thapong Visual Arts Centre is bringing some of their sculptures here for better viewership,” highlighted Luc. Luc says this is a better way of showing the talent that Batswana artists have, because their mall is interactive and people can actually see these works better than when they are at Village, where Thapong Visual Arts is located.


Security in shows in Botswana is always a challenge, and most people worry much about it before they go to these shows. To make things better for people Molapo Piazza has promised its people protection. “During the first hip-hop concert we had to hire a security company with around 50 bouncers to help us control the people,” said Kgosi.


“Security and other services are optional and available through our list of preferred external suppliers,” stated Luc. Adding onto what Luc said about the security they provide in their shows Kgosi said, “We would rather have quality than quantity, security rather than profit.” Luc explains that they have received advice from Botswana Police Service about security and they are still implementing it.

“We refused to hold another event last week because of its manner because we did not want to jeopardize the security of our customers,” said Luc. Adding on what his manager said, Kgosi said they are looking at hosting concerts that are easy to control.


Previously revelers had a mind-blowing experience of technology on offer complemented by LED displays and audio experience to put performances at par with the world’s finest stages.” Trevor Noah was recently hosted here and the event was so successful” said Luc. Besides Trevor Noah’s show, the piazza has held other 3 concerts and on the 14 February the venue will be packed again as we celebrate valentine.


The Molapo Piazza, is currently in its finishing stages of construction and expected to be completed in the middle of the year. The Piazza is ideal for indoor sports, entertainment of all sorts, gatherings, conventions, expos, product launches and most of all performing arts.

It is the venue to give any entertainer, promoter, facilitator, sponsor or producer their money’s worth. Beside the big venue, the piazza has 3 restaurants, yet to open, a gym with the only half olympic indoor pool in Botswana, a music school with three music studios, a VIP events hall, a small clinic and several new offices.


The Molapo Piazza was designed to provide a base for the arts in Gaborone. “When designing the venue we did keep all the arts in mind and wanted to achieve a centre that will be a window to the world for local arts.” He said. Molapo is positioned in the cetre of the capital and is very easely accessable by visitors form the surrounding hotels.

“The design philosophy was simple, we wanted to take advantage of its central location and design a venue that enabled the hosting of as wide a variety as possible of events.” Luc said.


In order to ensure that the arena attracts the creative people it so desires to attract, management decided to build an 8 meter high sculpture at the end of the arena. Steve Diseko, a local artist, under the guidance of management, was appointed to construct the bird. More sculptures are under review and will be added shortly. Some might be coming from the Thapong Centre, others will be new commissions.


The Botswana Society of Arts was donated a container by the Molapo management. It is positioned at the new entrance of the mall and will be used by the Society as a permanent exposition hall for visual arts. Management hopes that artist themselves will wantto work at the mall, and it is ready to search for a permanent studio for artists at the mall.

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WeekendLife

The King’s journal 

23rd November 2021
Kgafela Kgafela II

This book is a true-life story of an African King based in South Africa. The Last Frontier is a resistance stand by Bakgatla Ba Kgafela tribe and its line of Kings from 1885 against a dark force called ‘western democracy’ that is insidiously destroying lives, peoples, nations and threatens to wipe away whole civilizations in Africa.

The story flows through four important episodes of history, beginning in about 1885 when Bechuanaland Protectorate was formed. This section briefly reveals interactions between Kgosi Linchwe 1 and the British Colonial Government, leading to the establishment of Bakgatla Reserve by Proclamations of 1899 – 1904.

The second episode deals with Kgosi Molefi’s interaction with the British Colonial Government in the period of 1929-36. The third episode records Kgosi Linchwe II’s interactions with the British Colonial Government and black elites of Bechuanaland. It covers the period of 1964-66, leading to Botswana’s independence. Kgosi Linchwe ii resisted the unlawful expropriation of his country (Bakgatla Reserve) by Sir Seretse Kgama’s government of 1966 to no avail. He wrote letters of objection (December 1965) to Her Majesty the Queen of England, which are reproduced in this book.

The fourth episode covers the period between Kgafela Kgafela II’s crowning as King of Bakgatla in 2008 to 2021. It is a drama of the author’s resistance to the present-day Botswana Government, a continuation of Bakgatla Kings’ objection against losing Bakgatla country to the Kgama dynasty assisted by the British Government since 1885. The story is told with reference to authentic letters, documents, and Court records generated during the period of 1885-2019. There is plenty of education in history, law, and politics contained in The Last Frontier for everyone to learn something and enjoy.   

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WeekendLife

Gospel concerts make a comeback

16th November 2021
Bishop Benjamin Dube

Hailed for being the prime gospel concert after the Covid-19 pandemic had put events to a halt, Golden Relic, in conjunction with Sweet Brands, recently unveiled the Arise and Worship Concert, Botswana. The show marks the return of worshippers and fans to enjoy music and worship together after what seemed like “cooler box” events were taking over the entertainment scene. 

The concert to be held on December 11th 2021, at the Molapo Showcase, has a packed lineup with the Headlining acts being Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela from South Africa and Botswana’s very own Obakeng Sengwaketse. More international acts from Nigeria and Ghana are also expected to grace the event. The show organizers have invested an effort in diversifying the lineup with live performances. 

The promoter of the Arise and Worship Concert, David “DVD” Abram revealed in an overview of the event that; “We have lost a lot of loved ones this year, and when that happens, one’s spirit goes down, and we need a light to ground us once more, to heal our souls. Therefore, the two main purposes of this event are to do the work of God and, secondly, to make sure that we nurture and develop talent in Botswana. With challenges that come up with events of such magnitude, the team and I have been committed to seeking guidance from God through having night prayers.” 

Abram added that as promoters, they usually have a bias towards already established artists, thus neglecting the upcoming ones and wanting to change that. “We approached the Melody Gospel TV Show since we aim at nurturing new talent and agreed on having one of the winners as a headliner for the event to allow them to share the stage with gospel giants so that they are exposed to the industry. This resulted in securing the Second Winner of the Melody Gospel TV show; Thabiso Mafoko as a local headlining act.”

The concert also aims at celebrating a Motswana. Multi-Award Winner; with the most recent title; BOMU Best Traditional Gospel under his belt, also best known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Obakeng Sengwaketse enthusiastically said, “I want to thank the organizers of the Arise and Worship concert, it means a lot to me after recently winning two awards that are currently the highlight of my career.

I regard this as a great revival because the Covid-19 pandemic has muffled events such as this. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with the great Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and more artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Sengwaketsi urged Batswana to come and witness the greatness of the Lord as their lives will never be the same.”

Tickets are selling like fat cakes with VVIP tickets having only five tickets remaining; the VVIP tickets include rounder access backstage to all the performing artists. The event will also comprise a seated Gold Circle Ticket, which accounts for 50% of revellers to allow for easier enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and avoid a potential stampede.

In a bid to entice merrymakers to buy tickets, the promoters have come up with a layby strategy and buying tickets on an instalment basis for the attendees to be able to buy their tickets since the COVID-19 Pandemic has left many Batswana in financial ruin but having the interest to attend the event.

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WeekendLife

Fame vs Mental health

9th November 2021
Lizibo

One can only imagine what is like being in the public eye. It is not a walk in the park; and not as easy as people might think it is because of the pressure from the public. Celebrities or influencers are perceived to be perfect, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect parents, financially stable, healthy, and always smiling and patient with everyone – Is this for real?

However, when people’s expectations of celebrities are not met, the same celebrities are often victimized, body shamed, or blamed, fairly or unfairly. As a result of them not having a personal life, they are often scrutinized in all aspects of their lives; their lives are aired for the public to see and judge. Celebrities are often extra careful about everything that they do, they have to go an extra mile as compared to how ordinary people live their lives.

To understanding this experiences by public figures, this reporter made a case study of Mr Lizibo Gran Mabutho, the firstborn in his family with only one sibling, his younger brother. Lizibo describes himself as a simple Kalanga guy who was chosen by music and did not choose music.

He said being raised by his mother and grandmother, he grew up surrounded by music from birth. Lizibo said his grandmother was a religious person who held church services at their house in Zwenshambe, “for me singing was from Monday to Sunday. I was not like any ordinary child who only sang at church on Sundays or sometimes in school assembly, for me it was a daily thing. My mother was also a talented dancer in our village that is what I mean when I say I did not choose music, but music chose me.”

Lizibo said though he grew up surrounded by music, it was hard for his parents to accept the path he has chosen to be a musician. Lizibo said he had to prove to his parents that music was his passion and that it could pay the bills like any other profession. He said eventually they saw his passion for music and supported him.

Lizibo said being exposed to music from a tender age made him venture into the music career from a tender age. He said he was part of the Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete (KTM) choir, Lizibo said being in the public eye for the longest time has taught him that he is living for the people and that he does not have a life. He said the very society that is watching him has so much expectation for him and that means he has to conduct himself in a good manner because people are looking up to him.

Lizibo said he understands the saying that great power comes with great responsibility, “when people see me, they see a role model. I realize and understand that people are and have been modelling me even when I was not aware of it, I know of six mothers who have named their sons after me because they felt that I inspire them somehow.”

He said he has accepted his fate that he will never have a normal life because people are looking unto him. He said he is grateful to be in the public on a positive note by bringing hope to the people because he has always wanted to be part of people’s solutions and not their problems.

He said, “people should understand that our careers are our calling. One needs to be spiritually connected to their calling as an artist. The most rewarding part about being in the public for me is not about payment but about being the solution to someone’s problem.”

Lizibo said the greatest challenge that he has ever faced about being in the public eye has been the issue of trust, not able to know which friends are genuine and which ones are not. He said as a way of avoiding fake friends he has always kept his four close friends who have been there for him through thick and thin. Lizibo said being close to his family has also helped him as they have been his strength when things were not going well for him, “most of the time people say we change when we taste fame. That is not necessarily true because people are the ones who changed when we became famous. People always want something from us, nothing is ever genuine with people and that is why I chose to keep my circle very small.”

Lizibo said as much as he travels a lot because of the nature of his work because it is naturally demanding, he said he always ensures that he creates time for his family. He said that at home he is Lizibo who is sent to do errands, he is Lizibo the son, not a celebrity.

He said there is a lot of pressure that comes with being in the spotlight, “the public puts so much pressure on us mostly about the material lifestyle they portray us to have. We are often compared with South African celebrities, but people fail to understand that we are two different countries. Most people fell into the trap and are living above their means resulting in them living in debt. I often tell youngsters not to fall into that trap of being tempted to live life above their means.”

The advice Lizibo gave to upcoming celebrities was that they should know that being in the public is not about them, but it is about the people. He said, “one of my mentors once asked me if I make music about myself or the people. He said I need to make music for the people because it is my responsibility to feed them with what they need, he said they might not even be able to know that they have a need but that I need to identify that need and meet it. Our responsibility is to serve people what they need, our music is to feed people’s hunger. My music is about love, I feed people love.”

Lizibo said it is important for celebrities to seek counselling and take care of their mental health, he said he has been investing in his mental health for years because he understands the importance of mental health especially when one is in the public.

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