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Banana Emoji talks Queer sex!

But what does it really mean to be Queer? Yes, it’s an identity but it also conveys a sense of community. Queer isn’t a synonym for gay, but even in 2020, it still confuses the best out of many.

Queer is a word that clarifies that one is not straight and it ties them to the larger queer community, but it doesn’t categorize them as gay. The vagueness of the term is intentional-queer is an identity created for anyone outside of the heterosexual norm and meant to be inclusive and create a sense of acceptance.

While all labels used to describe one’s sexual orientation are unique to the individual, unlike homosexual, queer is an umbrella term that can be used by anyone under the LGBTIQ spectrum. Queer conveys both an orientation and a sense of community. ‘’The community aspect states ‘Because we’re all different, we can celebrate our differences. I can accept you for who you are, and there’s power in numbers’ there’s an aspect to it that doesn’t allow for isolation.

Some folks who fall somewhere in the middle of the sexual orientation spectrum, will describe themselves as queer rather than bisexual or pansexual. Others will use both and introduce themselves as bisexual and queer. The term queer is also used by those whose gender does not fall on the binary’’

The celebration and use of the word queer is one of reclamation. Not so long ago, queer was still used as slur. It was a derogatory term. The reclamation of the word is like, this is who I am, we don’t need to be like everyone else; let’s celebrate our differences, and don’t try to put me in any sort of box of who you need me to be because I’ll continuously try to break down the boxes. It is worth noting that while the word queer is generally celebrated, some LGBTIQ folks still prefer to avoid it due to its discriminatory history.

Sex planning is touchy, and when you’re queer, you often are asked things about your sexuality or find people assuming things about how you engage in sex that are entirely ignorant. Now, we all know LGBTIQ folks get asked a lot of strange and awkward questions when it comes to sex. Society, family, friends and pretty much everyone else will have something to say, and it can get awkward.

One person is more masculine, one is more feminine. Also known as: one person is always the top, one person is the bottom. Or, one person is the ‘man’ and the other person is the ‘woman.’ Assuming this masculine/feminine kind of relationship dynamic is myopic and will not make you look cool or informed. Queer people, just like all people, do not always take on traditional gender roles, whether both people have penises or both have vaginas.

We are talking about two human people here who may or may not be versatile when to comes to toping or bottoming or who may or may not stay in specific roles during sex. This logic applies to heterosexual couples too, by the way. For cisgender straight couples, it’s still wrong to assume that just because you have a vagina, you’re automatically down to take orders, or that just because you have a penis, you are in charge.

People assume that someone who is dominant is always controlling. If you find out a queer person is dominant in the bedroom, don’t assume that they are the one controlling the relationship. Likewise, if someone is submissive, don’t assume they can’t wear the pants. Who they are in bed is not always who they are in life. This is falling into that ‘one must be masculine, one feminine’ trap again. Sure, if one person is dominant in the sack, they totally might be dominant in the relationship, but you cannot assume that.

Queer sex is not some simple thing you can put into a box of ‘yes, that counts’ and ‘no, that doesn’t’. Penetration is not necessarily always involved when it comes to queer sex. Some cisgender gay women define sex between two women as when someone has an orgasm. Now, this is not necessarily how every person would define sex between two vagina owners. Anal sex does not always qualify as sex between two penis owners. Queer sex is not seen in the black and white, penis in the vagina that heterosexual sex is often, and most probably wrongly defined.

In his quest to explain all this misconceptions, blogger and owner of local artvism blog Banana Emoji Tanlume Enyatseng is hosting the third instalment and first of its 2020 edition of Banana Club, a platform aimed at informing, inspiring and engaging with various key publics in an effort to lead a relevant and dynamic conversations. The third club session will delve into the topic ‘sexual health and wellbeing in the LGBTIQ community’, next week in Gaborone.

He told Weekend Life that ‘’this particular session of Banana Club seeks to explore issues around queer sex, consent, pleasure and sexual health and wellbeing in the LGBTIQ community in hopes of encouraging people to think differently about sex in an environment that is truly inclusive. Sexual health is a fundamental human right and we believe in equal access for all people irrespective of gender or sexuality. Banana Club remains committed to changing the narrative that the queer community are difficult to reach; we ask instead where the gaps in knowledge are, what type of interventions will address them and work with communities to create culturally specific interventions.’’

Banana Club indicated that it welcomes the support of allies that agree with its manifesto and wish to work with them to achieve a certain aim. The session is split into two halves; one half being dedicated to sharing personal experience, with each participant  free to contribute as much or as little as they want and the second half being dedicated to questions and answers. With the help of the community, Banana Club wants to pinpoint where health institutions and practitioners are failing LGBTIQ people and propose ways that might remedy this. The session will be documented as part of a research process.

Enyatseng further indicated that as Banana Club, they seek to challenge dominant narratives and create a space in which the queer community can discuss freely, saying when they share their stories, they foster visibility and wipe out myths. ‘’the visibility that comes from different people sharing experiences, queering and disrupting views of the world, is a celebration of plurality’’ he said.

Bananaemoji.com established in 2016 is a blog that illustrates today’s evolving culture through art, social commentary, fashion and humor. Its readers are anything but the normal, they’re bold, free-spirited life lovers who recognize that perfection is boring. The blog reaches a community of over 6000 views around the world and works from the website have been published in such platforms as WeTransfer, Blaque Magazine, AfroPunk as well as Guardian.

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WeekendLife

The art of mastering instrumentals

12th April 2021
Kagiso "Fella" Kenosi

You will know a tree by its fruits, the same way you will know a music producer by their works.

Top music producers in the country have set themselves apart through the quality music they produce and reap the results of international recognition from as far as the United States of America.

These producers are behind every star performer, listening and analyzing each and every note. When artists perform a vocal swell, rising to an octave that sounds like it’s going to shatter voice box, it’s easy to forget that someone was on the other side of the glass asking questions like, “Can you hit that note every night, or will it hurt too badly? Maybe we should lower the octave to save your voice?”

Producers make hundreds of decisions in each song, not to mention the push and pull relationships they have with talented performers.These relationships can make or break careers. Some of your favorite bands and artists wouldn’t be so memorable without a great producer helping to guide their distinct voices.

Kagiso Kenosi, or better known as Fella in the entertainment industry, is only 31-years old but he has already left his imprint in the music industry. The young chap, originally from Palapye, is not in the industry to add numbers, but to do his magic working behind the scenes producing hit song after hit song.

When most producers went to school to produce the hits that we hear today, Fella’s foundation and passion for producing came from being active in church.

“I grew up in a catholic orientated family where music is the essence of our religion. The love for music in its entirety emerged from enjoying singing at church and blossomed over the years as I grew up, being exposed to the internet and software’s such as fruity loops.”

Fella says he then learnt how to make beats and proceeded with vocal processing so besides the love for music, he had an amazing group of people who helped him reach his life dream; being the best in music production. The sky was the limit for Fella.

Unfortunately for so many music producers locally, this kind of hustle is basically about being famous. Some of them bite off more than they can chew just for a quick buck that doesn’t even go a long away for them. At the end of it all, these fly by night prima-donnas end up cutting corners and producing subpar records which eventually leads to a premature death for their careers.

Fella’s advice is that fellow colleagues should be patient and continue learning the craft, even if it means taking online tutorials. “Even though I’m still learning too, for I believe music is a fast infinite universe where no one can never say they know it all, I think believing in what one does, the level of creativity and being able to stand alone can do magic.

We living in an era where people go through a lot, so it is imperative for a music producer to be able to relate to those kind of situations. This takes only the right instrumentals, which will compliment emotions of an artist.”

The most asked question outside the music industry is; who chooses the instruments for a song, is it the artist or the producer? Fella gave his take;

“I make instrumentals and keep them until an artist comes to work on a song. That’s when I advise on whether I think the concept they chose goes hand in hand with the instrumentals. We will then look for a more appropriate song.

In some cases, artists can come and we record vocals without an instrumental and then get to make a beat on top of the recorded vocal which in that case guides me to make a relevant instrumental,” he said in an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Wednesday.

Digging more into finding the difference between a producer and an engineer, Fella clarified that there is not much difference. There is actually a thin line between the two even though an engineer does more than a producer when dishing out a song.

“We use the word production to credit people who only make beats. Engineers are people who record vocals, clean them, do the mixing and master the song preparing the record for radio. I must say an engineer, does the critical components of a song.”

As young as he is, Fella has been through thick and thin with young artists. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions, because, frankly some of these fledging artists are way too complicated to work with. Fella admits that he too has flaws but c’est la vie, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

“It’s always a blessing and quite exciting because these different people of different energies and mind-sets and creativity will humble you. It’s a chastening experience and also accords me with experience to manoeuvre and adjust to people with different characters.

So truly, it has helped me grow as a person, and a producer.”

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WeekendLife

BOMU spruce up dirty laundry

30th March 2021
BOMU awards

Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is known for its bad reputation that has been getting worse over the years. There has been a lot of chinwag, squabbles and the organization literally lost touch. It has gotten so bad that stakeholders pulled out, and members were left with no choice but to face the music alone.

Just when you’d think the waters are calm, the new Executive Committee awarded a fledgling company, Total Music Group, to handle the 2021 music awards. This move was seen as a biased decision that got BOMU members bent out of shape.

However, BOMU Secretary General, Rasina Rasina told Weekendlife that the Executive Committee that it has many irons in the fire. He indeed admitted without reluctance that, BOMU has been clouded by hubbub.

“We pledged when the new administration took over that it would begin with cleaning our own house. We have built structures as we had promised and we are glad that they are fully functional. One of those is the disciplinary committee.”

“BOMU has for a long time appeared to be lacking discipline and proper laid down procedures. This has led to the organization losing out big in its endeavour to serve its members and the entire music fraternity. The National Executive Committee, chapter committees and sub-committees have committed to ensuring that non proper governance and accountability shall take centre stage and this is all that is happening,” Rasina told Weekendlife on Tuesday.

Rebuilding and rebranding a disintegrated intuition such as BOMU is not just a walk in the park, it needs concerted efforts and team work to actually reach that goal. A stitch in time saves nine, but as for BOMU, the entire union failed to address its dares a long time ago, but the union says everything is on track in recuperating public trust and fixing the mess created then.

BOMU Research and Policy Committee is hard finalizing a new code of conduct which will contribute significantly to how members and leadership conduct themselves and relate with each other for the furtherance of BOMU’s mandate, Weekendlife has been reliably informed.

“We are doing everything according to our constitution, logic and reason. We advise our members that they should point out where the constitution has been breached and that they are at liberty to follow due process and report any misconduct to the disciplinary committee,” said Rasina.

This is following the suspension of some executive committee members and BOMU subscribed members for questioning the integrity in awarding the music awards tender. Some members, told Weekendlife that they will seek legal advice on the matter.

“We do have members who have already appeared before the disciplinary committee on various charges and decisions are yet to be taken. We also have members who are yet to appear before the committee for various complaints levelled against them. Current suspensions are related to various complaints and offences.”

With regard to appointing Total Music Group, BOMU National Executive Committee says it used Article 9.3.19 of its constitution. The article says; “The National Executive Committee of BOMU shall have the authority to enter into legally binding contracts on behalf of the Union.’’

Rasina says the leadership needed a company to manage, host and sell the BOMU awards for five years consecutively so as to attain stability and refurbish the brand image of both the music awards and the organization. “Without any money at our disposal, we debated on the best model and agreed that we should engage a company that also has the capacity to mobilize resources. We used our discretion and decided on a direct appointment model which is perfectly legal and constitutional.”

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WeekendLife

SENEO PERRY: Beauty with a purpose

24th March 2021
Seneo Perry

To a stranger, Seneo Perry would describe herself as a young darling zealous about wildlife conservation, international travel and tourism enthusiast.

She is also a staunch believer in empowering young children through educational programs that could expose them to live improved livelihoods.

Perry is a former beauty queen (Miss Earth Botswana 2020). For her, a beauty queen should get down and put in some work, get dirt and make an impact. Of course a picture paints a thousand words, and judging from her successful projects, she lives the talk.

During her reign, Perry adopted the SOS Children’s Village. This is a home for 92 orphaned and less privileged children. She introduced few projects to aid the running of the children village, at the same time sourcing sponsors. She named one of her projects ‘Restoring the Prime Colors of the Earth.’

Restoring The Prime Colors of the Earth was founded on the basis of teaching children about the importance of conservation and environmental protection through tree planting and vegetable gardens.

The project, she told Weekendlife this week, gained local and international recognition, particularly from tourism magazines.

COVID-19 came over and messed up her strategies for the year. Perry however did not cry over spilt milk instead she was smart enough to divert into other streams of raising funds to execute her obligations.

Perry did not put all of her eggs in one basket by doing something that could make her get infected, but rather sold t-shirts that would double as a promotion strategy dubbed #PeopleWildlifeEnvironment. To this date, she raised over P7000.

“I love being out in the wild and promoting sustainable tourism. I would then pick the best 10 children that worked very hard at the project I have with them and introduce them to the wild with the money I raised,” she said in an exclusive interview.

“The idea is to stick to making the trip for the children educational especially on the aspect of conservation because realistically speaking tourism is the backbone of conservation.

I want them to have first-hand experience with the African elephant and visit the Elephant Havens Wildlife Foundation in Maun. Unfortunately due to floods in Moremi Game Reserve, the plan of a game drive has been aborted.”

Initially, Perry says she wanted the children to have been those from the SOS Children’s Village. She had to put them on ice due to insufficient funds to transport them to Maun. This however did not dishearten Perry, instead she located Bana Ba Letsatsi (in Maun) to embark on this journey.

She told Weekendlife that the trip will be undertaken today (Saturday 20th March 2021).“Tourism has always been the backbone of conservation and it needs to be protected. Therefore, it is imperative to introduce children to wild spaces so they get to appreciate the ecosystem in the wild.

These young children will be leaders and decision makers in the near future. Decisions made will either cause a catastrophe to the wild or help it recover to a point wherein both humans and animals co-exist.

Seneo Perry is an environmentalist equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University and Miss Earth Botswana 2019 finalist. She was crowned Queen in 2020.

She is also a member of Kalahari Conservation Society, a conservation society which is instrumental in environmental initiatives and activities that concern the environment.

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