Creator and Executive Director of South African leading television soap opera Muvhango, Duma Ndlovu is expected in the country early next month to conduct acting auditions intended to select a certain number of Batswana actors who will be drawn into acting bridging course offered by Duma Ndlovu Actor’s Academy DNA.
To be held on the 1st February at Botho University, the auditions will give preference to graduates from Colleges and Universities who have been studying drama and television related courses but not closing doors to those who believe to be talented in acting.
In an interview with Weekend Life, Managing Director of Semi House Productions and Coordinator of FMM Trust Michael Mosipidi designated that the whole intention is to bridge the gap between students who have just graduated from performing arts institutions and show a keen interest to entering into the acting industry. ‘’Ndlovu has showed commitment to developing the arts and entertainment industry not only in Botswana, but throughout Southern Africa. This time around he will be here in the country to meet and infuse acting skills on film graduates who sees a niche in this industry.
The local acting industry has not being budding for quite a long time now and his visit here is only fitting so as to work on gaps that needed to be fixed’’ he said.The DNA Academy is a brainchild of Dr Ndlovu, who is also the Founder and Managing Director of Word of Mouth Pictures. Since its existence in South Africa in 2005, the academy has conducted a successful class of graduates offering a free of charge one-year bridging course that converted them into focused professional, ready and responsible enough to venture and do exceptionally well in the acting industry.
‘’Many aspiring actors in South Africa, who are relatively young graduated from these classes and most of them are surpassing in various theatre and television productions in South Africa, and for Ndlovu to be coming here, the whole aim is to reach the same goals. He wants young Batswana to consider acting as a career that can help uplift them, subsequently contributing towards the development of the industry and the economy of the country. It is a noble gesture coming from someone who is not a citizen of this country, and to be providing these classes for free, it’s just exceptional’’ Mosipidi noted.
According to Mosipidi, in South Africa, Ndlovu conducts classes of actors every Thursday and he made a pledge to carry-out the same particular course to the aspirant actors in Botswana last year. ‘’It was during our meeting that myself and other close networks of mine were assigned to organize the realization of this course here in Botswana for the year 2020. The class will open opportunities that will see our local actors performing at same competency with that of international counterparts in different local and international television productions. The aim of this relationship is to expose and export the local talent. We believe that the talent of our people can be a number strategy in diversification of our ailing economy’’
He stressed that in Botswana, a class of acting aspirants will be conducted after every two months for the whole of this year, saying that both auditions and the one-year acting course are free of charge.‘’This is a voluntary excise that is meant to raise the competency level of Batswana actors to the better and make them able to compete against their counterparts over the world. It is a continued generous support that Ndlovu through our partnership conducted some acting auditions in which three of Batswana actors found a space to act in his popular soapy Muvhango just recently’’.
Meanwhile, during courtesy visit at the University of Venda Research Centre last year, Ndlovu sensitized students about the nature of the television industry and what they need to do to get into the industry. He said ‘’our youth of today focused more on becoming actors and actresses because they want fame. In the television industry there are several career paths that media studies students can partake. There is being a producer, script writer, interpreter, video editor, art director, content strategist and audio visual technician amongst others’’
He expressed that in his company, he hires only those who have qualifications as he believes in bringing new faces and talent in the industry. I encourage you to study hard until you graduate because now as we speak, I no longer anyone without a degree. Language representation is one of the most vital matters and this matter has triggered me to start a Tshivenda soap opera. Develop hunger and thirst for success. The industry needs individuals who are ambitious, self-motivated and determined’’.Muvhango is a South African television soap opera that has over 5.5 million viewers.
The first episode was aired on 7th April 1997 and it was the first Tshivenda language TV drama, but later became multi-lingual in order to showcase that languages and cultures of South Africa should be used to unite rather than divide. The creator of Muvhango Ndlovu is Zulu by ancestry, but can speak and is fluent in all South African languages.The show is built on a premise that people exist within a context. The show has strong family orientated storylines that seeks to speak to the conflict between the traditional and the modern ways.
The Vhakwevho’s are the custodians of the traditional side of the show while the Johannesburg lot focuses on the modern ways. In 2006 the series was nominated for the South African Film and Television Award for best soap opera.
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.
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.