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Friday, 19 April 2024

Life Loss Love explores LGBTIQ real life narratives

WeekendLife

 A digital photography project dubbed Life Loss Love aims to raise awareness about the prevalence of discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer persons in Botswana; despite the widespread misconception they have basic protections.

First things first, LGBTIQ people worldwide continue to face stigma and discrimination especially in the health care. Access to healthcare is a fundamental human right, a human right recognized in an international human rights law through multiple United Nations treaties and reflected in national level legislation in many countries.

Even with the recognition of the right to health of every human being, LGBTIQ people are still subjected to stigma and discrimination, leading to disparities in access to, quality and availability of health care services. LGBTIQ people are denied services, experience discrimination by healthcare professionals who are unaware of health concerns particular to the LGBTIQ community.

Criminalization of same-sex relationships and punitive laws against LGBTIQ individuals further exacerbate negative health outcomes of the LGBTIQ community. Partners of the LGBTIQ in Nigeria, where homosexuality is criminalized and punishment includes death by stoning, reported that due to the climate of fear and repression they did not access the medical care they needed because they were afraid of being arrested or facing violence.

Homophobia and Tran’s phobia, both internalized and experienced, and social stigma, contribute to isolation and discrimination against LGBTIQ people, having long term impacts on mental health and well-being. Reports highlight that the LGBTIQ community face higher incidence of anxiety, depression, HIV and suicidal thoughts than heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.

Those who are not out, are forced to remain closeted, or do not have social support may experience more severe mental health issues. Mental health is still an emerging issue in many parts of the world leading to inadequately systems and services available to the LGBTIQ community, who often need these services too.HIV continues to be pervasive among key populations including transgender women and men who have sex with men.

Trends point to increased incidences of HIV transmission among young gay men. While these populations may experience higher exposure to HIV risk, countries continually fail to provide sufficient health care resources to both curb transmission rates as well as provide affordable and accessible treatment and services.In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, Life Loss Love project coordinator Bradley Fortuin said stigma and discrimination towards LGBTIQ individuals is still a major challenge in Botswana and it goes unaddressed. ‘’this affects every aspect of daily life of these people; at family level, school and work environments, personal relationships, faith and even spiritually. LGBTIQ people often have to hide their true identity, thoughts and feelings just to survive and fit in.

when the Botswana High Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2019, this saw a big obstacle being removed. LGBTIQ people expected they would be assimilated into mainstream society. However, the reality is that decriminalisation did not end exclusion, stigma and discrimination as there are still human rights violations. Sexual and gender minorities in Botswana still experience unjust treatment, harassment, rape and other physical assaults’’ he told Weekend Life reporter Tlhabo Kgosiemang.

He further said the digital photography aims to explore the various real life narratives of LGBTIQ people, highlighting the intersections with other movements like the Women’s movement and the Disability movement. It draws attention to various societal issues from body positivity, same-sexual affection, religion, spirituality and faith, promoting topics around sex positivity, rape culture and toxic masculinity. ‘’marginalization often happens through the interplay of culture, beliefs and history. We can be subjected to discrimination in many forms.

As one of the subjects of this first series of images, Life Loss Love shows chapters of my own personal journey; from being sexually assaulted as a child by a family friend for being ‘’too girly’’ and feminine, to being told that my being gay was punished by God through the death of my mother. It is a testament of triumph, courage and forgiveness.it is about finding love, belonging and encouraging everyone to live their truth.’’

Fortuin stressed that he collaborated with Lame Dilotsotlhe, who is behind the lenses for this first edition, adding that to date; he has worked with 5 LGBTIQ identifying persons locally. ‘’This project is for all, and i will have to carry it out every quarter of the year. If people are interested they can contact us via instagram @lifelosslovebw.’’
When answering a question I probed about the inspiration behind the name, Fortuin underlined that ‘’life is a journey and we come across all kinds of situations, experiences that break us down, that mould us and those that make us stronger to be able to rise above all challenges.

All these experiences can be divided into life, loss and love. The name also came from my personal life’s journey and battle with my sexuality, having to deal with it and the impact that exclusion has had my mental and physical health. But also, I have had great life experiences; I have lived and experienced love in many forms, which has made me appreciate the lessons learned and my purpose in life.’’

Meanwhile, from Botswana to Barbados, Botswana’s ruling to decriminalising gay sex case made it key legal fights that will dominate LGBTIQ news in 2020. At number one, The U.S Supreme court is due to rule before June as to whether LGBTIQ people are protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on discrimination at work. Access to bathrooms for transgender students and lawsuits against the Pentagon over HIV-positive military personnel who were dismissed or banned from deployment are also hot-button topics where rulings are expected.

Number two: Botswana. A ruling is expected on a government appeal against a High Court ruling in June last year to decriminalise gay sex, making Botswana one of a handful of African countries to accept same-sex relations.Singapore’s High Court could rule on decriminalisation of gay sex this year. At least three men have filed cases arguing the law is unconstitutional or violates human dignity.

Jamaica is at number four. The Caribbean island’s colonial-era sodomy laws are being challenged by a petition lodged at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Any ruling would not be binding, but decriminalisation could cause waves in the region. Legal challenges to colonial ‘’buggery laws’’ have been launched or planned in Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.

A law punishing sex between men with life imprisonment in Barbados was challenge din 2018 with a petition to the IACHR, which has asked the government to respond. If the commission recommends reform and the government refuses to implement it, the matter could be referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.With two cases filed in Hong Kong, same-sex marriage could become a key issue in the city, where homosexuality has been decriminalised since 1991, despite an October ruling that there was no obligations to allow LGBTIQ unions.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya has appealed against a High Court ruling in May to maintain the ban on gay sex, punishable by 14 years in jail. A hearing date has yet to be set. In Europe, the European Court of Human Rights is reviewing the case of a gay man who said he was persecuted in Chechnya and holding an inquiry into a wave of arrests in 2017 of LGBTIQ people in Azerbaijan.

 

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WeekendLife

Radio titans gloss RB2

11th April 2024

 

In a thrilling turn of events, former YFM on-air presenter Petula Khulman, now known as Petula El’Kindiy, is set to co-host the morning show with the station’s current star, Thabo Bolokwe, fondly referred to as T.H.A.B.O. Petula’s radio journey began at Yarona FM and spanned over a year and a half, during which she honed her skills and developed a loyal fan base.

Petula, a Media Studies graduate from Rhodes University, holds a wealth of experience in the industry. Her career took her across borders, from Yarona FM to Gabz FM, and even to a community radio station, Bay FM. She later returned to YFM, where she hosted a show called The Plaground.

Her latest venture, “The Morning Essentials,” kicked off on July 1, 2020. The show, which airs from 3am to 5am on weekdays and 6am to 10am on Saturdays, quickly gained popularity among listeners. Petula attributes her success to her passion for media, music, and dance, as well as her appreciation for her colleagues at YFM.

However, her journey wasn’t without its challenges. In 2023, her work permit was denied by South African authorities, leading to a temporary pause in her radio career. Despite the setback, Petula remains undeterred and is ready to bring her bubbly personality and captivating voice back to the airwaves of RB2.

 

Adding to the excitement, Khumo ‘Missgeekays’ Kgwaadira is also making a comeback. The popular media personality and businesswoman, who was last heard on RB2 in October 2022, will be back on air from Monday. Missgeekays, who owns a restaurant called Kana Kgang, has been keeping herself busy with various ventures, including a stint as a freelance presenter.

Her return to RB2 is eagerly anticipated, and her fans are thrilled to hear that she will be back in her familiar mid-morning slot. The exact details of her show are still under wraps, but one thing is for sure – with the new lineup, RB2 is poised to make a big splash in the radio landscape.

“With the new lineup, RB2 will be the biggest thing ever. We expect fireworks and amusement from the morning through mid-morning and the afternoons. All the faces that are returning to the airwaves will contribute to the radio station’s growth and a snowballing of listenership,” a source close to the station revealed.

So, get ready for a thrilling ride as RB2 unveils its new look and lineup this coming Monday. With Petula El’Kindiy and Khumo ‘Missgeekays’ Kgwaadira leading the charge, there’s no doubt that RB2 is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever!

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WeekendLife

Strawberry Ritual: An unconventional key to virtual interview success

11th April 2024

In the modern era of swift communication, where digital platforms have become the cornerstone of professional interactions, mastering the nuances of a Zoom interview is a vital skill for job applicants. The pivot towards remote work has rendered platforms like Zoom indispensable for establishing connections with prospective employers. So, imagine if we told you that a humble fruit could be the secret ingredient to enhancing your self-assurance and excelling in that virtual interview? Indeed, the fruit in question is the strawberry!

“A whopping 59.1% of the workforce prefers remote work over a conventional office setting,” asserts Forbes, a staggering fact that underscores the global trend of working from home. In the UK, Zoom witnessed a dramatic surge in its daily active users (DAU), peaking at approximately 1.7 million around the end of November 2020. This significant upswing in DAU coincided with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, as more individuals began participating in virtual meetings for both work and social engagements with their families and friends.

But how does a strawberry fit into this narrative? What might seem like a punchline to a whimsical joke could revolutionize your approach to virtual job interviews. CEO Chantry Somtun of JustBanter shares this ingenious trick that could make a world of difference.

According to CEO Chantry Somtun of JustBanter, consuming a strawberry before your Zoom call could have a profound impact on your performance. The National Institute of Health has discovered that strawberries contain folate, a compound that aids in calming nerves and reducing anxiety by stimulating the production of serotonin, a hormone crucial for maintaining a positive mood and mental well-being. Moreover, strawberries are teeming with anthocyanins, antioxidants that enhance brain and emotional health, making them an excellent choice for those seeking to alleviate stress and anxiety before significant virtual meetings.

So, how can you incorporate this simple yet potent trick into your pre-Zoom routine? It’s as straightforward as savoring a few fresh strawberries 10-20 minutes before your call. If fresh strawberries are unavailable, frozen ones or even a refreshing strawberry smoothie can serve as excellent alternatives. For the best results, consume the strawberries on an empty stomach to ensure faster absorption of folate and maximize their mood-enhancing benefits.

Beyond just soothing your nerves before a critical interview, strawberries offer a myriad of health benefits, such as being rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to overall well-being. By integrating strawberries into your pre-Zoom ritual, you can not only boost your confidence but also support your body’s health in the process.

In a competitive job market where first impressions matter, adopting this unconventional yet effective strategy could be the game-changer you need to distinguish yourself and leave a lasting impression on potential employers. Therefore, the next time you have a Zoom interview scheduled, reach for some strawberries and experience the positive difference they can make in enhancing your confidence and performance.

In a world where virtual connections have become the new norm, utilizing simple yet powerful techniques like the strawberry trick can set you apart and help you navigate the challenges of virtual job interviews with ease. By capitalizing on the natural benefits of this humble fruit, you can elevate your Zoom confidence to unprecedented heights and pave the way for success in your job search. So, why not seize the day? Grab some strawberries, take a bite, and witness your Zoom interview game soar to new heights!

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WeekendLife

Mrs Botswana’s ‘MO’ to gender parity

18th March 2024
Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong

Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong, an illustrious beacon brightening the corners of Botswana, wields her vision for gender equity and empowerment like a torch, illuminating paths for her community. Standing at the helm of the Anaya-Tlhwatlhwa Foundation, and donning multiple hats as an international personal wellness coach, a savvy business magnate, and the esteemed Mrs. Botswana 2023/24, her mission is to cast rays of change into the lives she touches.

Her strategy for bridging the gender divide is both comprehensive and visionary. Mokgathong, understanding the vitality of lifting women and girls, equally champions the cause of young boys and men. She advocates for a culture of mutual admiration and understanding across gender lines, fostering a society unbound by the shackles of conventional gender roles—a society where balance and harmony reign supreme.

 

In her magnum opus, a collaborative venture with entities like NAPHA, Men and Boys for Gender Justice, the Botswana Police Service, and Girls for Girls Botswana, lies a quest for familial empowerment. Her goal is to fortify the foundation of families, supporting parents and guardians, sons and daughters alike, equipping them with the capabilities to forge strong intrapersonal and professional bonds.

 

“My project is family oriented, we want to focus on the family as a whole, we want to help both parents or guardians, men and women and the children of households both boy and girl. I am passionate in doing so because lately women and the girl child have been given a pedestal, they have been given a lot of help and a lot of recognition while men are considered as perpetrators and young boys are neglected, therefore we want to groom both the girl and boy child so that they grow up to be able to interact with each other and when they get to relationships, be it personal or work wise,” she said.

 

Mokgathong’s reach extends further than mere intervention; she invests in the empowerment of individuals through education, skill development, and the allocation of resources crucial for autonomy and enduring triumphs. By nurturing innate capabilities, igniting the flames of innovation, and promoting entrepreneurship, she sets the stage for marginalized communities to emerge from the shadows of dependency, crafting their own realms of prosperity.

 

“As we educate a girl child to be strong and independent, we also enable a young man or boy to be able to accept that strong independent woman, ensuring that the equation is balanced. I also want to help stop gender-based violence while protecting our children. When I began my initiative, it was based on GBV and child protection, but it developed into campaigning for the less fortunate and vulnerable,” she stresses.

 

Her journey, fraught with hurdles, including early disappointments in her pursuit of the Mrs. Botswana title, stands testament to her resilience and indomitable spirit. Gratitude fills her heart for mentors, sponsors, kin, and comrades whose support has sculpted her into the powerhouse she is today.

 

She says: “People want to be involved with you when you are a top finalist or the reigning queen. When I first started, I was only a person, and it was difficult and time-consuming to generate cash, solicit donations, and obtain obligation, particularly in rural areas. But right now, as the reigning queen it is a bit easier to reach out to collaborators and sponsors and I pray to God that as I am continuing with my project after crowning the new queen it will continue to be so and growth and more people will be willing to invest and help out.”

 

Juggling her myriad roles demands the prowess of a maestro, yet Mokgathong thrives by weaving her family into her philanthropic endeavors and mastering the art of time management. She empowers young aspirants to self-reflect, establish objectives, harness mentorship and sponsorship, and gear up for the trials that lie ahead.

 

As Mrs. Botswana, her ambition soars beyond personal accolades; it’s tethered to the upliftment of her nation through the empowerment of women, the nurturing of men’s talents, and the preparation of the youth for a flourishing future. She envisages expanding the Anaya-Tlhwatlhwa Foundation’s influence, delving deeper into rural engagements to sow seeds of empowerment and hope for generations yet to come.

 

“For charity work to be more effective, I believe we need to empower other than just giving. We need to empower the less privileged and the vulnerable, with the right skills and knowledge so that they can sustain themselves in the long run. We need to help those who are talented and innovative. I am proud to say my work is doing wonders, the kids that we are mentoring are able to find direction in life, they now know what they want to be as they grow up and they are able to identify subjects they want to study and career they want to pursue. Families that we have been in contact with, families that are from different background are able to identify their skills and they are able to grow and turn them into businesses.”

 

In essence, Mrs. Portiah S Mokgathong stands as a pillar of strength and a source of inspiration in Botswana. Her unwavering commitment to fostering gender equality, community upliftment, and personal development lights the way for others. Through her relentless endeavors and steadfast dedication, she renders a profound impact on her community and beyond, etching a durable mark of empowerment and optimism.

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