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Maikano Serenades at National Choir Festival

be-Mobile were the main sponsors of the Festival

The first be-MOBILE National Choir Festival took place at a packed Sir Seretse Khama Barracks (SSKB) Auditorium on Saturday with renowned choral choirs battling it out in five sections. After a long day’s battle, Gaborone based Maikano Serenaders; Moeding Alumni Artists from Lobatse; as well as Ramotswa based Andante Chorus each took home three awards.

The competition began with both male and female categories belting out ‘I have a bonnet Trimmed With Blue’ composed by Herbert Hughes and ‘When De Stars Begin To Fall’ by Hugh S. Robbertson. All the choirs demonstrated a lot of maturity and did justice to both songs more especially Robbertson’s composition where they displayed antiphonal effects: dialogs, overlaps between groups of voices (one starts before the other stops; contrasting alternation between groups of voices). It must have been not an easy task for the board of adjudicators to determine the winner in these categories.

In another instalment (section C) all choirs were tasked with two pieces from Western and African. Here they showed a lot of maturity in voice couplings; pairings, two contrasting pairs, one voice contrasting with the others, faux bourdon, parallelism, chord-stream counterpoint. Mogoditshane UCCSA proved to be the best in Western piece while Palapye Voices went home with an award for best in African piece. They performed Our Father by Mike Modise and Thapelo ya Kagiso by Pilane Sebigi.

With three awards on the night, the Gaborone based group Maikano Serenaders were the best achievers of the night pocketing home monies amounting to P34, 000 after coming third in Section A – Western piece winning P10, 000; they also got first position in section A – African taking with them the trophy and a whooping P14, 000.

Maikano also took first position in the male category which earned them P10, 000. The group looked stunning with men putting on slim fit navy blue suits while the ladies rocked high waist colourful German prints skirts with white shirts.   

A panel of adjudicators comprising of the well-known composers of choral music here in Botswana and from neighbouring South Africa had an opportunity to remark on the performances. In their deliberations they encouraged choir conductors to refrain from disturbing the performances by dancing – they should focus on directing. They advised them to follow the dynamics and to pull their socks, however they said the future of choral in the country looks promising.  

They also advised them to be original in their compositions. The best way to become a better composer is to practice composition. “It's quite clear what it means for a pianist to practice, but what does it mean for a composer to practice? Quite simply put notes on page, have those notes performed and learn from the experience, and study scores and recordings to learn how other composers solved their compositional problems,” they were advised.

For choral music one of the most important things to learn is prosody, which is how you fit the words to rhythm and pitch. It's great to have words like common-tone-pivot-chord in your vocabulary when you want to discuss your work with others, but for yourself as a composer it's far more important to know what kind of chord that refers to.

Another important aspect of choral music is consonants; these are basically produced by vibrations of the vocal cords or the breath in the mouth and the stoppage of the lips, teeth, tongue or palate. The stoppage may be complete or only partial. There are five categories: vocal consonants with pitch, voiced explosives, pure (voiceless) explosives), sibilants and aspirate.

While addressing the audience Botswana Choral Music Association (BOCMA) president, Bushy Leremela Bogosing said Choral music genre in Botswana has grown in leaps and bounds. He said gone are days when it used to play fiddle to other music genres. He pointed out that each year the standards keep on getting better and choral music talent is given a chance to grow.

Sponsors of the National Choir Festival included beMOBILE as the main sponsors, Unigem, Department of Arts and Culture, Radio Botswana and Botlhe Medical aid. The festival gave local composers a platform to showcase their creativity.

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200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020

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.”

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AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020

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.

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Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.

Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)

Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.

“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”

For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”

“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.

Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.

“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.

When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.

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