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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

BOTSWANA TO HOST MISS WORLD 2026

6th December 2023

Even though Botswana has over the years been performing extremely poorly at the Miss World competition, the country has confirmed that it will be hosting the beauty festival in 2026. Initially, the country was to host Miss World next year, something it failed to confirm before deadline. Director at Miss Botswana, Benjamin Raletsatsi, says Botswana will be ready then to host all participants. Miss Botswana Top 25 finalists left the boot camp yesterday. Quite shocking though, Miss Botswana team is still failing basics as responding to media inquiries on time yet it is dangerously hoping to host an event of high status

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WeekendLife

DJ Sway ‘saved’ the YAMAs

22nd November 2023

DJ Sway, the daring and ambitious on-air presenter of Yarona FM, played a crucial role in saving the radio station’s music awards, known as the YAMAs. The event was initially dry and disorganized, but DJ Sway, who co-hosted with Pearl Thusi, injected life into the show. However, things took a turn for the worse when Pearl Thusi abruptly left the stage, leaving DJ Sway to carry on alone. Despite the unexpected setback, DJ Sway rose to the occasion and captivated the audience, effectively putting an end to the drama caused by Pearl Thusi.

In an exclusive interview after the YAMAs, DJ Sway revealed the behind-the-scenes chaos that unfolded during the event. He acknowledged the script editors, Phalana and Hope, who worked tirelessly to reedit the script and adapt it to a one-host format. Despite the last-minute changes, DJ Sway remained composed and focused, thanks to the support of his colleagues, such as Owen Rampha, Katlego Rakola, Tshepang Motsisi (DJ Easy), and LB.

When asked about his initial reaction to the unexpected turn of events, DJ Sway admitted to feeling saddened by how things ended. However, he credited Pearl Thusi for giving him a much-needed confidence boost during his moment of doubt. She reminded him that he was destined for greatness and that he didn’t need big stars to succeed. With her words of encouragement, DJ Sway regained his composure and approached the rest of the show with the same professionalism and charisma he displays on the radio.

To overcome the challenges he faced, DJ Sway relied on his radio skills and calm personality. He engaged with the audience as if he were speaking to a single person, pointing out individuals in the crowd to create a more intimate connection. He also expressed gratitude for his backstage team, who provided support and ensured the smooth running of the show.

DJ Sway expressed satisfaction in being seen as the saving grace of the YAMAs. He believed that he fulfilled his role as a host and brought joy to the Yarona FM board, his family, and his fans. Despite his success, DJ Sway’s journey has not been without hardships. He has experienced the loss of his mother and sister, which has left a lasting impact on him. While he continues to grieve, he seeks solace in therapy sessions and relies on his father for emotional support.

DJ Sway’s dedication to his craft and ability to overcome adversity make him a remarkable figure in the radio industry. His vibrant personality and deep knowledge of music have made him a perfect fit for Yarona FM. Despite the challenges he has faced, DJ Sway remains determined to make a positive impact and bring joy to his listeners. With his talent and resilience, there is no doubt that DJ Sway will continue to thrive in his career and leave a lasting legacy in the world of radio.

 

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WeekendLife

Chef Gustos walk of shame

22nd November 2023

Chef Gustos, the renowned hitmaker, recently experienced what can only be described as a walk of shame at the 8th edition of the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs). Despite being nominated a whopping seven times, he failed to secure a single win. Ouch!

The night was filled with surprises, drama, and controversy, but the biggest winner of the evening was Han C, who walked away with three awards, including Best Pop and Best Male Single for his hit song, “Sebinki.” Han C graciously announced that he would be donating P10,000 from his winnings to his fellow nominees, promoting a spirit of togetherness among artists. What a noble gesture!

Meanwhile, Chef Gustos found himself on the losing end of several categories, including People’s Choice Artist of the Year, which he had won in the past. He seemed unfazed by the loss, stating, “People know that ‘Away’ was big, but they won’t stop me.” It’s clear that Chef Gustos is determined to continue making music, regardless of the awards he receives.

However, he did express his frustration with the outcome, suggesting that the awards may be corrupt. He declined to comment further, citing the need to protect his brand and maintain good relationships with corporate clients. It’s understandable that he wants to avoid any potential damage to his future prospects.

In fact, Chef Gustos went so far as to request that Yarona FM not nominate him for future YAMAs. It seems he wants to distance himself from the disappointment and focus on his music without the pressure of awards. Perhaps this decision will allow him to create freely and without the burden of expectations.

While Chef Gustos may have experienced a walk of shame at the YAMAs, it’s important to remember that awards do not define an artist’s talent or success. His fans still appreciate his music, and he continues to have gigs with corporate clients. So, despite the disappointment, Chef Gustos remains optimistic about his future in the industry.

In the end, the YAMAs may have been a letdown for Chef Gustos, but he’s determined to keep moving forward. He won’t let a lack of awards dampen his spirits or hinder his creativity. And who knows, maybe next time he’ll come back stronger and prove that he’s deserving of recognition. After all, the true measure of an artist’s success lies in the hearts of their fans, not in shiny trophies.

 

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