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‘Jewel in the Sand’ depicts Basarwa’s 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

All roads lead to Francistown for ATI’s concert

18th May 2022
ATI

Organisers of the much anticipated As One Music Concert say preparation for the much awaited as one of the music concert are at the peak, with ticket and merchandise sales at a high just 13 days before the event.

In a statement Kesego Okie, Managing Director of Blue Skies PR Agency and event coordinator “The Concert is a celebration of ATI’s journey in music. It is also an incredible platform for all stakeholders, particularly businesses that operate in Francistown, to show their commitment to the resuscitation of the City’s economy following the impact of Covid.

We are grateful for the reception by the city leadership and look forward to cooperate Francistown heeding our call to support the arts, which would in turn, be supporting many livelihoods and small business in the area”.

She expressed gratitude to the public for their immense support evidenced by ticket sales and talk ability, saying this is testimony that indeed As One the nation can go fa in the true spirit of boipelego (self-reliance).

The concert is partnership between Batho Bame Investment and Blue Skies PR Agency. “A lot of work has gone in to prepare for the highlight, and I am thankful to everyone who believes in the dream and supports us. I promise nothing but the very best of me and would love to express my utmost gratitude to all creatives and businesses that are a part of this Journey” Atasaone ATI Molemogi.

The concert will be the first music show taking place within the main pitch of the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium, which was chosen to host because of its distinct state of art ambiance, coupling Francistown’s position as a gate way to many strategic places in Botswana.

Francistown is not only rich in history, but also an enabler for economic activity for unearthed tourist destination surrounding it. It is an honour to have been given the approval by the city leadership and the people of Francistown to host this Concert in their backyard’ ATI.

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WeekendLife

AMVCAs To Host Hollywood Stars At 8th Edition

18th May 2022

As part of activities for the 8th edition of Africa’s most prestigious award ceremony, the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice Nigeria will host celebrity movie stars and film directors from Hollywood ahead of the awards ceremony taking place on Saturday, 14 May in Lagos.

The visiting Hollywood stars will be led by Tasha Smith, actress, director and producer, known for her role in the acclaimed films, ‘Why Did I Get Married?’ and its sequel, ‘Why Did I Get Married, Too?’. She will be joined by Bayo Akinfemi, a cast member of the popular television series, ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ as well as Brandon Micheal Hall of the ‘God Friended Me’ series fame

Also expected are Sidra Smith, award-winning Producer and Head of Essence’s Film and TV Studio and Grant Housley, Hollywood Producer, Writer and Director currently at Paramount Pictures, where he has worked on some of the biggest films and most critically acclaimed television series in the world.

While in Nigeria, the stars will meet with the #AMVCA8 nominees and other industry stakeholders. This historic visit is in line with MultiChoice and Africa Magic’s efforts in sustaining the Africa film making and storytelling momentum, through deliberate global collaboration.

The eighth edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards is brought to viewers by Africa Magic in association with MultiChoice and is proudly sponsored by Amstel Malta.
For more information, visit www.africamagic.tv/AMVCA and follow all official handles of Africa Magic on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #AMVCA8

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WeekendLife

Of Musicians and No Shows

10th May 2022
Musicians and No Shows

There is a growing unpleasant of artists who do not pitch for events they have been booked for; or simultaneously, there could be another development – false advertising – where artists’ names are used to draw large crowds.

Musicians and promoters in their mission to put bread on the table seem to have resorted to obscene means of securing their means. To many, this is tantamount to fraud and deception to gain an unfair advantage over their unsuspecting fans who swoon at the mention of their name, their presence and entire existence.

The month of May has just begun and bottomless grievances are pouring in of no show musicians at gigs they have been booked and paid for. Instead of leaving the crowd stunned by a spectacular show they are leaving revellers disappointed.

Exhibit A; This past weekend Eswatini’s DJ Uncle Waffles was scheduled to perform in Botswana. She never pitched up for the shows and continues to be silent on her lack of presence at the show. Exhibit B; Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha were all set to perform on 29 April at the Victoria Falls Carnival 10th Anniversary but did not arrive in Zambia for the gig.

In a statement released on Sunday 1 May, Victoria Falls Carnival organisers confirmed that flights and accommodation were organised for DJ Maphorisa, Kabza De Small and Sha Sha.
The statement continued; “Confirmations were sent to them as agreed and emails were sent to them several times before, for some reason they did not show up at the airport on the day of travel…

Above and beyond we tried to communicate with the artists to change the date of performance but still we could not get hold of them despite all the effort and all means of communication from our side,” Organisers have demanded that the artists refund them the full booking fee and the payments made for flights and accommodation

“All three artists were paid in full and contractually bound to perform at the Carnival, and accommodated at every corner with their numerous flight and accommodation change requests.” Adds the statement. Exhibit C; South African artist Prince Benza’s passport was confiscated by the Deputy Sheriffs pending payment for damages on breach of contract.

He was scheduled to perform at Mogobane on the 31st of December at the Reflector Music Festival but did not appear as well. He nabbed when he came into the country for a separate event.
The President of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), Gilbert Seagile this week had his company; Gilbert Promotions registered in South Africa.

This puts him in an ideal spot to become an intermediary and help solve the feud between Botswana and South African artists and their no show at events.  Seagile emphasized that it’s not only international artists that miss events but even the local artists have the same tendencies. He elaborated that reasons for artists not pitching up are many amongst them ; breach of contracts , promoters not paying deposits and some can be natural like artist testing positive for Covid-19.

The BEPA president also indicated that fly-by-night promoters are also a concern as they do not follow the BEPA Code of conduct, “BEPA members are well coordinated, they have the code of conduct which guides them to do things accordingly. The government is pushing for promoters to join BEPA they have already started refusing with permits when one is not a member of BEPA.” he emphasized

Seagile said that the association is in talks with the South African Music Promoters Association (SAMPA) to provide protection of Botswana Promoters that when artists miss shows they can be able to rope in their lawyers in South Africa through SAMPA and Botswana through BEPA to compensate for losses incurred as a result of this exploitation.

He said another way of dealing with this matter is for Promoters to issue a contract to the artist as currently the norm is that the artist produces the contract to the promoter so this solution can help the promoters to protect themselves.

In an interview with Weekendlife, Superintendent Tumediso of Urban Police Station enunciated that matters of no show artists are normally reported by the promoter who normally comes as the complainant. The matter is then taken forward taking into consideration the evidence, this will in turn assist in determining on whether the case is theft, obtaining by false pretence or fraud.
When it is all said and done, revellers love musicians to hate them and hate them to love them. It is an unending toxic relationship which no one wants to pull away from.

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