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.
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.
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.
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.