Fashionista advises on oversized suits and big bellies
Rules of Parliamentary Etiquette & Decorum are spelt out eloquently in the Parliament Standing Orders, but in most the way Members of Parliament present themselves in the form of fashion attracts responses from members of the public.
Across the globe, it has become ‘fashionable’ to scrutinise how lawmakers dress, and present themselves inside and outside Parliament – they are expected to be fashionable. The Log Raditlhokwa once cut former Botswana National Front (BNF) president, Otsweletse Moupo to pieces because of his perceived lack of taste when it comes to fashion and presentation of himself.
Tapping into Raditlhokwa’s jab on Moupo then, it has become part of the national discourse to discuss MPs’ clothes especially at the opening of Parliament or during the State of the Nation Address and Budget Sessions. Generally Botswana MPs observe Parliament rules when it comes to dressing, the biggest problem is taste.
We will miss Rre Phandu Skelemani’s suits of many colours and his unpleasant shirts and ties. He is not alone though, the problem persists! Oversize suits and funny colours continue to irk many at the National Assembly. As role models, MPs are judged every day.
The Parliamentary Decorum and Etiquette expected of Members of Parliament and the public is based on the Standing Orders of the Zambian Parliament and the Members’ Handbook and the traditions and practices of Commonwealth Parliaments. It is intended to serve as a quick reference guide on Parliamentary Decorum and Etiquette. On paper our MPs are following rules to the letter, but in the eyes of the public, many are missing the point on fashion tips.
We expect male Members of Parliament to put on a lounge suit, a pair of long trousers, a tie and jacket, with long or short sleeves and a scarf or tie. The official dress for female Members of Parliament will probably be a formal dress, dress suit or skirt suit, short or long sleeved and below the knee, or formal executive trouser suit (excluding khaki and denim). But the problem is that our MPs can bring any colour as long as it is not party regalia! And this is way we get laughing the whole day.
On the 2nd of February Minister Matambo presented his budget speech. Not everyone concentrated on crunching the numbers, others rather chose to focus on the finer things; fashion among them.
WeekendLife engaged fashion experts to provide a guide for our legislators. Fashion connoisseur, Taolo Taes Entaile has a few tips for male MPs: “Men should put on shoes matching with their belt, it is a standard policy of fashion,” he said.
He went on to indicate that men should not be in-denial about their body types so they can easily choose the kind of suit to wear. The fashion enthusiast added that net searching the kind of cuts to go for is not something to be ashamed of, rather it saves time and benefits the owner of the body.
“A plus size person cannot wear a skinny cut suit, it might just burst and create problems, so I say go for something comfortable, something that holds everything together,” he explains.
Some Batswana men have big bellies thus end up going for oversized suits as a way of trying to cover them. Baggy clothes don’t fool anyone and in fact draw more attention to your weight while downgrading your overall appearance, mood and the impression you make; fitting clothes makes everything look proportional, balanced, and neatly framed.
On the other hand, Entaile says skinny MPs should go for Italian cuts. Entaile expressed concern about men who leave suit labels hanging or visible to everyone! He says they should always remove the stitching on the vents and the label on the left sleeve before wearing a new suit.
Entaile explains that these MPs are in the public eye, therefore for them, image is everything. What they wear can send a wrong message but can also give people hope. The public analyses a person before they can even talk to them so a good fashion sense can pave way for many things.
Some men tend to think that button-down collars are for casual wear only, but they can work great with dressier looks as well. A tried-and-true pattern like herringbone or glen plaid in a muted shade makes an impression without crossing into the realm of brightness. Some say stitching in jacket pockets should not be cut, because putting objects in them will cause the jacket to lose its shape but fashion experts say it is pointless to have non-functional pockets and a business-card holder certainly won't do any damage.
According to Entaile, male MPs should know that when choosing a suit blazer to wear with a long sleeved shirt, the wrist end of the shirt should be visible. The sleeves of the blazer should not completely cover up those of the shirt.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there should be space between the suit trouser and the shoes, most men are seen with pants covering up the shoes, experts say it is a violation of fashion; unacceptable.
Tailoring your pants a little bit short will add distinctiveness to your simple look. As a man, they say one should know their suit’s length and waist size. Most people think three-pieces are stodgy, but when the waistcoat is cut close to the body and hemmed to the belt line, a man looks slim and modern.
Since there is more youth in the parliament this term, fashion experts hope that this will pave way for improved dress code.
Entaile says neutral colours are the right way to show up in public since they brighten up the mood while too much colour is loud for people and dull colours are not attractive. A dark, patterned pocket square provides a welcome visual anchor to a light-coloured suit. MPs and the rest of Batswana men are reminded to always unfasten their jacket buttons when they sit, it is a standard rule.
Men in parliament are advised to find power suits, that is to say, the perfect colour, not too bright not too dull, perfect size, perfect matching belt and socks. Do not forget to accessorise with quiet earth watches, save the bulky shock-resistant sports watch for the gym or your outdoor-adventure excursions, it really has no place with a suit. Keep in mind; Fit is everything, even the world's most expensive suit will look bad if it is not tailored to the contours of your body; note that a tie bar should never be wider than a tie.
According to World Population Review, women aged 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Transgender people and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape.
From these very statistics Botswana can be found second only to neighbouring South Africa with the highest rape cases in the world. The number of incidents per 100,000 citizens do not take into account the number of cases that have not been reported to authorities. This goes without saying that Botswana may very well be on the same level as South Africa if not surpassing it.
Most of these victims have a hard time dealing with the violence they faced to an extent where it affects their day to day life.
WeekendLife interviewed rape survivor, Patience Ruwona, who was raped at the age of 15. Ruwona shared her gruesome experience and what it took for her to find healing, gather strength and move forward.
“It happened eight years ago and at the time I was only 15 years old. My mother was staying with her boyfriend at the time. So it happened that one day I came early from school. I was still doing form 2. I was the first one to come back from school. The boyfriend was home. So when I was changing into home clothes in my room, the boyfriend came in without even knocking. He then told me my mother has left some money so that whoever comes back first from school can go and buy meat,” Ruwona narrated.
“I then told him I will come get the money when I am done. He went back to his room. So after I finished changing, I went to their room. I knocked and he told me to come in. When I got, I found him half naked with only a towel. That made me feel very uncomfortable because when we were growing, we were taught never to enter an elder’s room when they are not fully dressed. I told him I came to collect the money and he pointed the dressing table.”
Unbeknownst to the young unsuspecting Ruwona, her mother’s then boyfriend would then grab the young lad, rip apart her garments and have his way with her. When Ruwona threatened to expose him, the audacious perpetrator would laugh in her face, telling her that there would be nothing her mother would do about the incident. And true to his words, Ruwona’s mother did not flinch upon hearing the gruesome crime that befell her daughter.
“In the evening when my mother came I told her everything. It was a simple thing to her and she never took it seriously. I told her I am bleeding and she said go and wash up we will talk about this some other time. Just like that suddenly I recalled that man’s words and I truly believed him. Till then I have not told anyone about this. I thought my mother is going to protect me, so if my mother failed to protect me no one else could protect me,” said a distraught Ruwona.
Seeking help after being raped
“Physically I had no desire to have sexual intercourse, I was scared. Years passed by and emotionally I was still battling because there were days I had flashbacks of the rape. It’s like a wound, it can never heal but it can stop bleeding. It never heals. It will bleed another time. I felt uncomfortable around men and I never went for counselling. I never went for anything, I thought I will cope on my own,” she said.
“So one day I decided enough is enough and I decided to speak out. That time I figured counselling would be best. I later went for counselling and I was doing well. I had to accept it happened and put everything in the past. Forgiving my mother helped me to heal.”
Director of Save A Woman, Babedi Samakabadi, has highlighted that rape is a permanent wound that one has to live with for the rest of their lives.
“The first thing the victim can do is to admit that they have been abused and they should be able to talk about it to whoever they can trust; could be a close relative, a counsellor, a friend or a pastor. It is not easy to take a step towards your healing but it must be done.
Victims of rape, must create a huge room in their hearts to forgive the perpetrators even when they are not sorry, forgiveness will help the victim to make peace with life and the future. Forgiveness will allow the victim to be able to get over the horrible experience and not associate the intimate relations as abuse at all times,” said Samakabadi.
“If one doesn’t allow themselves to heal and move on, dating and engaging in intimate matters are going to be a problem in their lives. As the victim can disclose to whoever they trust like friends or family, they are also advised to seek more especially professional counselling for proper psychological therapy, as the memories of the incident may torment the victim therefore therapy may assist with getting to live with such memories without being drawn back or life progress being affected . Lastly, the victims must know that issues as these aren’t easy to deal with through our own ability, we need God for strength, wisdom and courage. We have no power to diminish some of the weight in our emotions or the damage done to our souls and hearts, hence we need God to carry us through.”
If you or a loved one is in need of help in dealing with rape or gender based violence, the following organisations provide free counselling services;
BOFWA (Botswana Family Welfare Association) 390 0489
BOSASNET (Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network) 395 9119
LIFE LINE 391 1270
MBGE (Men and Boys for Gender Equality) 395 7763
BGBVC (Botswana Gender Based Violence and Support Centre) 390 7659
BOCAIP (Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme) 391 6454
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.