2014 My Maun Experience beautified
Since the inception of My Maun Experience (MME) some few years back, the festive season in Maun has never been the same. The event has increased the number of tourists coming to Ngamiland. It has also solidified the region’s acclaim as Botswana’s most distinguished tourist destination of all times. After visiting Maun in two consecutive years to take revel at MME showcase, WeekendLife staffer, David Baaitse shares the fundamental role of this initiative and as well as fantastic experience of being in Maun.
Last year saw shadows growing taller for the annual My Maun Experience when their long time partners Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) ditched them citing budget constraints. It was Botswana Fibre Networks Ltd (BoFiNet) who came to the rescue to make sure the fun goes on and much better.
The Marathon, introduced last year, was the centre of attraction this year, attracting more than two hundred participants across categories. With support from personalities such as Ngamiland Kgosikgolo Tawana Moremi, former Zebras star Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane, Nigel Amos and others, the race was a huge success and has shown massive growth.
The marathon was won by a South African, Jerry Motsau from the University of North West, a friend to Amos who was participating for the first time.
Bikes were also on display. Interestingly the heir to the Batawana Chieftaincy, Oatile Moremi known for his love for bikes with the President, also took part, coming second in the junior category. Another highlight of the event was the introduction of cycling which also recorded a good turn up.
Most of the people who visit Maun for the first time only know of the boat cruising but I will personally say, mokoro ride is a lifetime experience. Mokoro is a type of canoe that is very common in the Okavango Delta. It is propelled through the shallow waters by standing in the stern and pushing with a pole, in the same manner as punting.
Mokoro was traditionally made by digging out the trunk of a large straight tree, such as an ebony tree or Kigelia tree. Modern ones, however, are increasingly made of fibre-glass, one of the advantages of which is the preservation of more of the large endangered trees. Mokoro boats are still a practical means of transport for residents to move around and cross the Thamalakane River and fishing. The boats are very vulnerable to attack by hippopotamus, which can overturn them with ease. A two hours ride in this Mokoro is like like hell and heaven, you are excited yet terrified of the risks that come along with it.
Festive season here is not about the festivities around; it owes more to the exhilarating mood that keeps the people of Maun united. Their Setawana version of Setswana is one element that defines the people of Maun. They all speak it with one husky voice across the gender and full of creativity. It is here where you find words like ‘caucus’ referring to hot girls ‘staging’ meaning chilling and words like ‘rocker’ referring to a boss. I spent most of the time in Maun trying to understand these words and how they are used. However, one thing I noticed about the women of Maun is that they don’t take jokes lightly. Every time you crack a joke make sure that it doesn’t piss them off.
Maun people enjoy a place called Dark Pound, an entertainment centre which houses a number of bars, shops and a liquor restaurant. The people of Maun convene here, filling the place to the brim until when it closes before the fun lovers leave to the two popular clubs being the Trekkers night club and the Fresh Exclusive night club. Here revellers party until the wee hours. Other festivities include Horse riding, Scenic flights as well as boat cruising at Thamalakane River.
However the highlight of this year’s My Maun Experience was the place called the beach along the river bank. The indigenous people have identified this crocodile and hippo free zone, for swimming, relaxing and generally enjoying the atmosphere. Here, revellers come to park their cars play music while they enjoy their drinks. The beauty of this place is watching the sunset as speed boats zoom past at high speeds. It is a very exciting and mind relaxing experience.
Every year, My Maun Experience has seen almost all local celebrities, well known business people, political figures and renowned lawyers, visiting Maun during the festive break. A number of tourists from across the world who most of them are coming here for the very first time are spotted here, appreciating the beauty of the Ngamiland district.
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Dr Lame Pusetso comes to writer’s rescue
Multi award winning author of fifteen (15) books, Dr Lame Pusetso has put together a platform to empower local writers. Dr Pusetso is a President and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Kasapa Society.
She is also the Managing Director of Poeticblood Publishers and an owner of an online bookstore dubbed Mind and Soul Bookstores. Dr Pusetso has reiterated her commitment to helping upcoming authors, writers and poets in establishing their crafts and capitalizing on them.
In an exclusive interview this week, she said that she has put together a platform dubbed Botswana Literature Awards, which have fourteen categories.
When quizzed on what the awards stand for, Dr Pusetso said “writing as a form of art in Botswana is a skill that many have and have always been exploring. As a publisher, I have met different writers from all walks of life and some indicating that there isn’t enough motivation to keep going.”
In Botswana and according to the writer, there has been a limited representation of appreciation of authors. This is despite their efforts year in year out.
The whole intention of these awards really is to honor and recognize the hard work that local authors put in, when doing what they know best (writing).
“This is a way of appreciating their creativity and we will be doing this across all genres. The awards also act as a motivational tool to young writers who still have dreams of becoming best selling authors. Quite frankly, their works are of great importance and we cannot afford to let that slide like that.”
Dr Pusetso emphasized that all the winners will walk away with an award, a certificate and complimentary gifts to take home. “The two winners of Best Overall Author and Best Young Author will in addition receive book publication deals which includes book distribution and marketing for a year.
She gave a clearer picture of how authors can be a part of the literature awards.
“The awards are open to every author from the age of 7, must be a Motswana, and their book should have been published before or by 2022. For authors with more than one book, they are allowed to compete with only one book for one category, and different books for different categories.”
The young writer pinned hope on institutional collaborations, in order to stage the second edition of the awards next year, saying “We believe with these awards, the different institutions and stakeholders will show interest in helping nurture the literature scenario in Botswana.”
“It will also give authors hope and light to keep writing and penning down their stories for the benefit of all. We anticipate to host the next edition in 2024 with assistance from all interested parties.”
THE LITERATURE AWARDS CATEGORIES
Dr Pusetso stressed that there are fourteen (14) categories, and they are: Religious or Faith Based Book, Poetry Book, Children’s Book, Multi-lingual Writer, Best Collaboration, Setswana Novel, English Novel, Motivational Book, Best Young Author (7-13), Overall Best Author, Best Theory, Best Online Writer, Best Media Writer (Honor Award) and Honor Award (Long Serving Best Author).
EXPLAINING SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Media and Honor Award, Dr Pusetso said are not based on submissions but nomination by the committee. “For Honor Award, we want to appreciate the individual who has inspired the Botswana writing scenario over the years and even assisted numerous authors as both a writer and a community leader.”
The Best Media Writer award is meant to appreciate a journalist who is actively taking part in appreciating and helping authors in marketing, advertising and affording them a platform to showcase their works through their writing skills.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Literature Awards will be held on the 29th April and they are partially sponsored through the literacy grant. This is a grant under the Botswana National Library Services which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.
Women’s Awards hit the ground running
The second edition of the much-anticipated Women’s Awards Botswana will be going down on the 27th May 2023 in Gaborone at Travel Lodge. The organizers of the prestigious awards have announced finalists, with three nominees per category.
Women’s Awards Botswana is established to empower women and celebrate them from all walks of life and across sectors. The awards raise awareness for women to be granted equal participation, particularly in decision-making positions, as one way of breaking the gender bias.
They also seek to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women from diverse industries in Botswana. Taking a closer look at the categories, He for She award celebrates and shines a light on men who stand and support women.
These are men who advocate for inclusion of women, men who stand against GBV and men who promote any service that can better women life. Her Abilities award looks into women who have shown determination to keep moving and achieve any goal they have set for themselves, regardless of their disability.
Other awards are self-explanatory. They celebrate women in arts, culture and entertainment, agriculture, creativity, innovation and technology, tourism and hospitality, community impact as well as organization supporting women.
ORGANIZER SPEAKS ON CRITERIA USED
When speaking in an interview, Founder and Director of Women’s Awards Botswana, Bofelo Zebe, said in their first edition, they had fifteen categories, which was enough for a piloting project.
“But we left out many industries or lines of work. After the event, we received reviews and suggestions, and there was an intensive evaluation that led to us increasing the categories to eighteen for this second edition.”
He said the nominees were voted in by the public, adding that the finalists were judged by a panel with the support of votes from their supporters.
When shedding light on what winners take home, Zebe indicated that there is an award trophy, certificate and goodie bags for all categories but “we are working to have financial sponsors jump on board so that winners and nominees can receive monetary incentives. We are also busy at work trying to retain our previous sponsors.”
THE 2023 WOMEN’S AWARDS BOTSWANA NOMINEES
HE FOR SHE AWARD
Desmond Lunga, Tlhabo Kgosiemang and Christopher Seagateng
BEST WOMAN IN ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ditshupo Mosoboloko, Thanolo Keutlwile and Seneo Mabengano
HER ABILITIES AWARD
Koketso Seleke, Goabo Kgasa and Mumsie Odirile
SPORTS WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Naledi Marape, Ouname Mhotsha and Keamogetse Kenosi
WOMAN FASHION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Montle Rantatana, Lesedi Matlapeng and Trudy Bakwena
BEST WOMAN IN AGRICULTURE
Nomathemba Masuku, Basadi Molelekeng and Keolebogile Keabetswe
BEST WOMAN IN CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Marang Mbaakanyi, Didintle Moreki and Thandeka Palai
BEST WOMAN IN TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
Masego Keleadile, Wapula Matshambane and Tshepo Phokoje
YOUNG WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Bridget Gothaang, Waone Makobo and Kimberly Matheakgomo
WOMAN OWNED SME BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Suits Africa, Nomlu Nail Bar and Sunflower Desserts
BEST WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS
Prezlin Clothing and Dawn Bell Academy
FEMALE MUSIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko and Priscilla K
BEST ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING WOMEN
Sekao Foundation, The Fighters Support Group and Single Mothers Living with HIV
BEST WOMAN WITH COMMUNITY IMPACT
Lebopo Bulayani, Nanzelela Chaitezvi and Kebadile Wasenda
MEDIA WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Poppy Sello, Keikantse Shumba and Kedi Lezozo
FAVOURITE PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Marang Selolwane, Palesa Molefe and Masi Sithole
BEST WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP
Naseem Lahri, Neo Bogatsu and Lily Rakorong