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Jewel in the Sand depicts Basarwas modern lifestyle

Caught between modernity and 20, 000 years as hunter-gatherers, the San people or Basarwa as they are mostly called, sit at a crossroads. An indigenous people in Southern Africa, they are our oldest human ancestors; DNA testing proving the San are direct descendants of the first Homo sapiens.

But today their culture, traditions and heritage are at risk of being lost forever. The San live across South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Namibia. In Botswana, we call them Basarwa, where they live a largely nomadic lifestyle that has remained undisturbed for millennia. Culture is something that can die and it is dynamic. Basarwa lived in Central Kalahari Game Reserve, or CKGR if you may, and it is the second largest of its kind in the world, and survived by hunting which was passed on to the young generation as years passed by. But in 1997 the government began removing the Basarwa from the reserve, ostensibly to protect the area and integrate the community into mainstream society.

Now based in resettlement village, passing on age-old traditions has become harder and harder for the Basarwa. Some of the kids, Basarwa kids, are taken to schools and they tend to lose their culture because they are taught other ways of living. Also, the famous trance dance, a stalwart of Basarwa culture, could one day suffer at the hands of modern music, played on radios and mobile phones by youths.

From all these challenges, it is proof that indeed culture is dynamic, malleable and susceptible to change- for better or for worse. But with will and determination, some believe the Basarwa have what it takes. This has been made evident by a movie dubbed ‘Jewel in the Sand’ shot in the Ghanzi District in a remote village called Kole, a hub where most of the Basarwa are found even today! The movie is a Lenswood production product in association with AK Films and Visual Brew as its casting agency.

When speaking in an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, co-producer Abednico Rankwe said ‘’the movie strives to tell a tale of Batswana from a rural area perspective, where we tackled the real challenges they face. We also wanted to show the rest of the world how Basarwa have evolved, so we can change the perspective of those who still perceive them to be living in the wild wearing only animal skins. Our movie depicts positivity as we address educational challenges, women empowerment, social inclusion and truancy as it is escalating at higher rates within the Basarwa students’’

The movie has a teacher who goes all out to make sure he attains education for all and in the whole process solving these challenges. These dares are authentic challenges that do exist in the rural areas, Rankwe told Weekend Life reporter Tlhabo Kgosiemang.
Telling a story that is so indigenous and legitimate is crucial. It is vital for its own people can say it better. Rankwe believes that it is time Africans, or Batswana in particular tell their stories.

‘’We as Africans should tell our stories to the world than wait for people to come outside and start telling our African stories because they do not tell them exactly as they are. Who is better suited to tell a story about Batswana than us Batswana? It is also starting to prove that developed countries have ran out of stories to tell and have thus turned focus to Africa, and they are telling the world stories we could be telling them, and doing so better!’’

He also indicated that Batswana have a vast wealth of talent that is just waiting for one to mine and export to the world. ‘’Batswana’s talent is more like Jewels in the Sand that need to be unearthed. We have so much talent hidden in the villages far from the city. That is one reason why we shot this movie at a very small unknown village in the Ghanzi District called Kole. We wanted to extract this hidden talent and expose it to the world as we have worked with some actors from the village as well,’’ said Rankwe.

 However, the movie will be premiering at New Capitol Cinema late this month. ‘’We are shutting down the Riverwalk Cinema at eight in the evening for this launch; no other movie will be playing but Jewel in the Sand. It will be a red carpet themed ‘’elegant traditional or traditional glamour’’, where we want to infuse traditional attire with modern fashion and still look red carpet friendly,’’ said Rankwe.

The launch comes at the right time to cultivating cinema film culture in Botswana, to making it a custom to have local movies playing in cinemas: not only locally but even in international platforms, Rankwe indicated. ‘’We are as well trying to have another launch outside the country. The group saw it fit to ready the market for the rising stars and producers, subsequently opening the long forbidden doors for them. For the premier night our target market is the corporate and senior government officials, as they are the ones we want on board in spearheading the local film industry. We want to make them aware of the existence and relevance of this industry in the country’s economic development and in job creation’’.

It was also underlined that the intention was to fill up all the four cines at New Capitol Cinema, something that has never been done before. This is made possible by hash tag #FillupNewCapitolRiverwalk, which was created to send a positive message to the government, various stakeholders and film industry enthusiasts that Batswana still stand a chance to make it in this industry, therefore they are called to rally behind the local film industry and to give it more support.’’

The film industry, according to Rankwe, is one dormant industry that if well utilized and fully exploited can help diversify the economy of the country, and it’s basically the point they are trying to emphasize. ‘’We want to raise awareness and even demonstrate that this can be a rich industry so that potential investors can come forth and support it. It is time we get recognition, we get endorsements, funding, support, sponsorship and time we revolutionize this industry.

Shutting down the entire cinema and reserving if for a local production might cause enough waves across all sectors to develop interest in this industry. Of recent it has been difficult for companies and organizations to commit their resources into developing the film industry because they knew less about films and their value, and it is through our initiative to change this perception.

Rankwe stressed that they have extended an invitation to an International Multi Award Winning Film Director Dr Abraham Kabwe from neighbouring Zambia, as well as a surprise appearance from the most internationally celebrated movie star. He however said, they still awaiting confirmation from President Masisi and his wife Neo Masisi. The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture has since confirmed his attendance.

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WeekendLife

Lifestyle enthusiasts feel Big Brother vibes

27th January 2023

This past weekend MultiChoice Botswana hosted media and lifestyle enthusiasts in Oodi for an evening of fun, drama and everything in between. The treat dubbed Big Brother Titans Botswana media challenge basically recreated the Big Brother experience right here in Botswana.

Big Brother Titans is the joint South African and Nigerian edition of the Big Brother franchise. The series follows contestants as they live in an isolated house and compete for a cash prize at the end of the show by avoiding being evicted from the house by the viewers.

These viewers vote their favorite housemates to stay on the show. The show features housemates from South Africa and Nigeria. The first season of the show premiered on January 15 2023 on DStv.

DStv Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembile Legwaila told WeekendLife that they saw it critical to host media friends to experience how it feels by being in the Big Brother house.

“For the very first time in history of Big Brother, we’ve seen the merging of two superpowers, Mzansi and Naija, with the Big Brother Titans season and what a better way to celebrate the monumental season than hosting our media friends.”

THE LOVE

Participants were treated to top notch reception complimented by the Oodi sunset which just blew them away. A special shuttle was organized from Gaborone to Oodi, at a farm house that is just incredible in terms of design, aesthetics and ambience.

Of course they were welcomed by soft cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for those who are not drinkers, and the next booth was an opportunity for housemates to introduce themselves to the man of the house, Biggie. RB2’s new baby Mdu the Party played the role of Biggie, and he nailed the character.

Some of the contestants were asked what they will do with the grand prize of P5000. With my ongoing voluntary movement, #Pad4HER, I needed the cash prize to push the campaign.  #Pad4HER is a campaign that I started last year with an aim of helping female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to sanitary towels. Anyway, luck was not on my side but my colleague from The Botswana Gazette, Gosego Motsumi emerged as the winner.

We got done with the questions and made way into the house. The party began with more drinks and the first challenge kicked off. For this particular challenge, we were divided into pairs. I was matched with Motsumi and we won the first challenge.

WINNING STRATEGY

Other housemates asked how we managed but it was simple: we had a strategy before embarking on the challenge. We sat down and debated on what we need to do in order to emerge victorious.

DStv engaged a phenomenal local chef, Rachel Tlagae who served some enchanting, light meal. Its Big Brother Titans so we ought to mind what we eat and also take note of quantities. Chefs also brought some wine to go with the meal and everyone was contented.

THE WINNING CHALLENGE

Housemates were taken through the last challenge: mental ability. This particular challenge needed them to know who they are as well as knowing their fellow housemates. It was one of the simplest challenges yet difficult. This is where I lost lot of points even though I was at the top (after winning the first challenge).

These housemates were all unique in their own way. From the media side was myself, Sharon Mathala, Leungo Mokgwathi, Gosego Motsumi and Nancy Ramokhua. This is a team which did exceptionally well altogether. Motsumi emerged as the winner, followed by Mathala and me on fourth position.

The third position was won by Loungo Pitse from influencer’s side, and he tagged alongside DJ Gouveia, Dato Seiko, Kedi Molosiwa and Gape Makwati.

Legwaila said “We wanted to have a healthy mix of traditional media (print and radio) as well as social media personalities, artists and content creators in the house. We chose individuals who were characteristically different from each other because variety and diversity is important to us. We of course chose those with outgoing personalities as well as those who are a little more introverted as we wanted the interaction to be authentic and organic. We wanted a solid group of individuals who represented the many different people that make up this beautiful country.”

DSTV IS COOKING SOMETHING

When quizzed if there are plans to have a similar Big Brother Titans Botswana, Legwaila said “MultiChoice Africa is focused on entertaining audiences all over Africa with the current Big Brother franchises; BB Titans, Mzansi and Naija. Though we have no immediate plans to have a Big Brother Botswana in the future, we are continuously looking at ways to entertain our Botswana audience with local content and we are excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks from our country.”

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WeekendLife

DENIM RICHARDS American actor takes local productions to the world

23rd January 2023

American renowned actor, Denim Richards has been in Botswana for quite a while now with one clear mission: the revamp the film and entertainment industry.

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WeekendLife

Botswana misses out on Miss Universe again

9th January 2023

The 71st Miss Universe competition will be going down at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans next week in the United States. There are eighty four entrants at this year’s Miss Universe, and Botswana will once again not be a part of the pageant.

The Miss Universe will be hosted by Jeannie Mai and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, who last served as host during Miss Universe 2020, while Mai last served as backstage correspondent during Miss Universe 2014. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Zuri Hall will serve as backstage correspondents. This will mark the first time in a 70-year history to have an all-female presenting panel.

Botswana last participated at the Miss Universe in 2013, in which the Miss Universe Botswana pageant was won by Tsoane Macheng. Ever since then, Botswana never made its return to the biggest beauty pageant in the world, despite its consistent ability to send a representative to participate at the Miss World competition.

Miss Universe Botswana Director, Safie Sekgwa, allegedly holds the Miss Universe license. Efforts to reach him proved futile, as his mobile phone rung unanswered.

Despite Botswana showing zero efforts in participating at the Miss Universe, the beauty pageants 2019 crown was flanked by two smaller diamonds cut from the same stoned mined in Botswana.

Jewelry designer Mouawad created a new “Power of Unity” crown reportedly worth 5 Million US Dollars, and the title was won by South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi. She was the third South African to be crowned Miss Universe.

BOTSWANA’S POOR RECORD AT MISS UNIVERSE

Botswana is said to be one African country with the most beautiful women, but, the poor performance at the Miss Universe, communicates otherwise. Perhaps, representatives at the pageant are not academically gifted, as the Miss Universe tests how keen they are also.

Mpule Kwelagobe made history when she was crowned Miss Universe 1999. That was few months after she was crowed the first ever Miss Universe Botswana. Kwelagobe became the third woman from Africa who was crowned Miss Universe.

In 2000, Miss Universe Botswana then, Joyce Molemoeng did not place at Miss Universe, and the same blue reality struck again in 2001, when Mataila Sikwane also failed drastically.

After a two year hiatus, Miss Universe 2004, Icho Keolotswe also failed to place at Miss Universe. That was the end of participation at Miss Universe, only to return in 2010. Tirelo Ramasedi, Miss Universe 2010 also did not win. The same losing trend followed from 2011 (Larona Kgabo), 2012 (Sheillah Molelekwa) and 2013 (Tsaone Macheng).

MISS UNIVERSE 2022 UNDERWAY

Preparations are ongoing to hold the 71st Miss Universe competition. Harnaaz Sandhu of India will crown her successor at the end of the event. There are nine countries which have withdrawn from participating: Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Romania and Sweden.

As for returns, Miss Universe 2022 will see Angola, Belize, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Uruguay.

Lebanon won Miss Universe in 1971, Angola in 2011, Trinidad and Tobago in 1977 and1998. Youngest Miss Universe 2022 participants are aged 18, and they are from British Virgin Islands, Iceland and Krgyzstan and Switzerland’s representative is nineteen.

MISS UNIVERSE ALMOST 6 MILLION US DOLLAR CROWN

Miss Universe has unveiled its new crown for the 71st competition. The new crown, “The Crown Number 12: Force for Good” was crafted by world renowned luxury jeweler Mouawad.

The new crown, with pear-shaped blue sapphires surrounded by diamonds and valued at approximately 5.58 Million US Dollars, will be the prestigious mark of honor for the winner this coming week.

According to the Miss Universe organization, the Force for Good crown emanates Mouawad’s passion for crafting the extraordinary, featuring the meticulous setting of sapphires and diamonds, whose design is replete with symbolism.

Reflecting the point that significant change does not happen in an instant, the base of the crown is set with diamonds symbolizing the status quo. From the base upwards, rippling wave motifs reflect the momentum of change, with their varying sizes portraying that this momentum gains ground gradually through advocacy at different moments and places, to audiences large and small, over time.

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