It’s no secret that love is in the air around Valentine’s Day. Between the heart-shaped decorations, sentimental gifts that pop up everywhere, it can feel like an occasion that’s only meant for couples. But you don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy that day.
In fact, experiencing it solo or with a group of your naughty girls may even be more of a reason to celebrate. Some single ladies cosy up on the couch with their favourite romance movies and let their Hollywood crush be their Valentine.
Some make sure there is no shortage of delicious cake and cookies for them to whip up for friends, families and of course for themselves, so they keep themselves busy with bake treats. Yes it’s all great and fun to sweat a little; some single ladies give themselves the Valentine’s gift of endorphins by spending some time exercising. Well, that is a story for another day, but these particular Gaborone single ladies had maximum fun on Valentine’s Day this past Friday.
The event was called ‘Naughty version of Women’s Conference’. And indeed, those ladies went crazy like that! It was implausible, hysterical and I loved the concept because it was actually new, not only in Gaborone but the entire country as well. You know, our entertainment industry has been revolving around one and the same thing, something which ends up being droning. At times, we need a diverse line of attack to showbiz, bring in to some degree something that will leave folks turning heads, or nattering about it everywhere.
But, I was also fascinated by the fact that the naughty girls incorporated some sort of empowerment in it. I know you probably asking yourself how a wayward person can vest someone, but the ladies invited professionals from different fields to share insights on how ladies can fix their crowns. Organised by Tina Gotlop and Aretha Manama, the naught girls affair was a first of its kind, and featured performances from female DJs and the guest speakers included the founder of Motswana Woman Moral Education specialist, Rachel Matshaba, Ariel
Image Consultancy founder Kate Leboile as well as founder of Nalie Brands Nalie Kolobe.Upon arrival at the venue, Campus Exclusive at Molapo Crossing Mall, we were treated to a VIP lounge, assigned a young man to be our waiter for the night. He served cold beverages and the entire event; he was up, left, right and centre doing what he is getting paid for. It wasn’t so long and the place was filled up with some of Gaborone’s mischievous girls…single ladies so they say.
DJ Iman was there behind her decks doing some little magic with slow jams as ladies and few gents find their way into the venue. It was literally my first time to attend an event of such a calibre and nature, so my eyes were all over. I could see girls moving around on heels, and I mean inches! And oh, the theme of the event was ‘sexy and lace’Oh wow, what would you wear for a thing like that? Girls came prepared with their laces, faces polished way much better than beauty queens! I spotted few of those naughty girls on lingerie’s, and as I was still looking in shock, they stroked postures I have never seen before, not even on model photo-shoots.
The thing is, I never knew someone can be just so free and bold about wearing lingerie in public, but at least they had blouses just so they don’t expose their private assets. I wanted to see how all of this will unfold, so I stayed for a while.It was fun, the DJ Iman knew what stuff to play for single ladies and beverages came rolling like that, and exhausting the bill was never on the agenda anyway. But before I got carried away, and before the party levelled up, I had a chat with the organisers, to comprehend what really this naughty version of women’s conference is all about. ‘’We are a group of young women with a sole mandate to empower other young women. It’s every day that women get to experience so form of violence, shame or rejection and some do not know where to ask for help.
As much as that is heart breaking, we saw it fit to bring girls and ladies together under one roof, call experts, have informal fun interactions and see how best we can fix each other’s crowns and equip them with knowledge and power to take charge of their lives, as well as building some sort of sisterhood.’’ Tina Gotlop said in an interview with Weekend Life.The organisers joint forces with young enthusiastic female powerhouses, some which are DJs, image consultants, sexologists, motivational speakers, cyber-bullying survivors, gender-based violence activists, models as well as women in the entertainment industry. It was a whole girl’s squad. They say girls run the world, and indeed, they do!
‘’We also believe that real queens fix each other’s crown and it’s something worth reminding yourself on a regular basis. We live in a very competitive world but the simple truth is, women are more powerful when they work together. So instead of rivalry, we should be embracing collaboration, instead of trying to prove our power by standing alone, we should work as a team.’’Gotlop stressed that women’s networking groups are vital because they are safe places where they can discuss topical issues, challenges, ideas, even fears with other women in similar positions. ‘’It’s also a place of learning. New business women can learn so much from other, high profile women.
So this was not only to wine and dine, but a collaborative approach that helps create confidence, support, validations, empowerment, even accountability.‘’It’s easy to doubt ourselves sometimes, or equally, to set impossibly high standards. Talking to other women who are experiencing those same feelings can really help. When others believe in you, it’s much easier to believe in yourself. Networking isn’t just a way of finding useful contacts. These groups are a source of inspiration, motivation ideas and solutions. They are there to foster relationships that are mutually beneficial. And the more energy you put in, the more you get out. Let’s face it; men have been doing it for years’’, she highlighted
There was also appearances by June Seisa of Lakenet as well as Miss Tourism International Botswana 2019 Abigai Jansen. I must applaud these girls for coming up with a different approach to Valentine. They did not only create a conducive space for single ladies on Valentine, they shared crucial insights on how best ladies can grow themselves. It’s really impressive…and hopes other girls who did not attend start fixing their crowns too!
Odirile Sento, popularly known as Vee together with Magadeline Lesolobe (Charma Gal) took the liberty of playing as big of a part as they could to consolidate some resources for musicians which might be of assistance during these trying times.
In these unprecedented times of the overwhelming and the deadly COVID-19, it is only critical that people stand together and remain committed to helping each other, being kind enough to lend a helping hand in any way possible.
The contagious virus left people confounded, deprived and depressed. The pandemic shuttered many economies, industries and the entertainment sector was no exemption. If anything, the entertainment industry took the biggest hit of all the sectors but this was a hit felt in every country in the world not just a local tragedy.
There were tear-jerking testimonies of creatives, in particular artists, suffering from extreme hunger as events were given a rain check. Technically, social events have been shut for sixteen months now.
There were series of protests calling for the immediate opening of the creative sector, in a phased manner. Some brave yet unfortunate artists were arrested for taking up arms and protesting the strict COVID-19 regulations placed on the entertainment sector.
When protests failed and their laments falling on government’s usual deaf ears, prominent artists Odirile Sento, popularly known as Vee together with Magadeline Lesolobe (Charma Gal) took the liberty of playing as big of a part as they could to consolidate some resources for musicians which might be of assistance during these trying times.
COVID-19 has created untold challenges for musicians in Botswana, but there are possibilities- challenges have a way of breeding solutions nonetheless.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife on Wednesday, Vee said the Battle to Develop Artists Welfare is aimed at inspiring artists to learn diversification, which has been lacking for quite a stretch amongst fellow artists. A lot of local artists depend solely on music, which on its own has been performing below par, and COVID-19 has brought that into clear view, showing how most artists in Botswana live off scraps, barely making money off their beloved passion- music.
“This project was born out of compassion. The world as it is now is experiencing a rough patch, and you can imagine how other artists are coping. It is really a struggle, and we saw it critical to jump on-board and help our fellow colleagues. It will help artists start small businesses, some will start short courses which will enable them to find employment in the long run.
For it to have weight, we incorporated it into a challenge on stage, performing our songs. We hope this will inspire business moguls to sponsor and pledge some monies towards this initiative,” said Vee.
Charma gal indicated that the live battle on stage has been supported with musical instruments, further indicating that this is a volunteerism project with no proceeds to gain from.
“We will divide and disburse proceeds to our fellow artists, I mean these are people we have been working alongside for so many years. There is no how we can be reckless towards them when we see how hard the situation is.
We are in this together, and we are going to stick together like that. Some have started already doing something, and meeting them half way is only fundamental,” Charma Gal told WeekendLife.
The duo stressed that Gaborone North Member of Parliament, Mpho Balopi, has pledged P50 000 towards this battle, further calling on other businessmen to come to the party. Vee says Balopi supported the initiative from the get-go, brushing aside allegations that the project is politically influenced.
Initiatives brought forward to aid the entertainment sector have caused controversy, with Vee emphasizing that not all artists will benefit from this particular charity cause. “We have artists who are struggling, and sadly so. Some of them were bread winners and there is no income coming in, making it hard for them to cope with the economic challenges.
There has been an increase in VAT recently, and such developments make the situation worse. Rigorous assessments will be done to identify our desired beneficiaries.”
Vee and Charma Gal will be battling it out on stage with the battle scheduled to take place on the 28th May 2021. Because events are still striped, the show will be online with COVID-19 protocols to be adhered to.
Early December last year, scores of disgruntled artists congregated at GSS grounds seeking government to address their plight in the face of the COVID-19 restrictions.
2020 was a depraved year for the local entertainment industry. Music festivals, large gatherings and concerts were given a rain check as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the deadly Corona-virus. As for an industry that depends solely on events for survival, the move to shelf gigs was literally kicking a dog when it’s down.
There was no revenue coming in, and depression found its way into the already devastated industry. Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, was fingered in this muddle. He was censured for being hushed. The relief fund also sparked controversy, with many creatives of the belief that it’s prejudiced and impractical.
Early December last year, scores of disgruntled artists congregated at GSS grounds seeking government to address their plight in the face of the COVID-19 restrictions. The situation became chaotic as police officers told the artists that the gathering is illegal and that they should get a permit first. Artists decided to go the right way, applying for a permit to hold their meeting, and this time around in Old Naledi.
Creatives (most of which are BOMU members) came out swinging as they packed Old Naledi grounds in a show of strength against the COVID-19 Task team and politicians. But gathering a large crowd at the Old Naledi grounds was like playing a game of Russian roulette, as most of the attendees were potentially exposed to the Corona virus because there was no social distancing, wearing of masks, nor sanitization.
Artists however were clearly making their voices heard – they wanted their industry opened, but by the look of things the Task Force team will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat for this to be given the greenlight before another year comes to pass. Till date, the creative industry is still abandoned.
Following a series of protests, the custodian Ministry (MYSC) came up with virtual gigs and engaged artists for performances. However, this fuelled tension between upcoming artists and those who are already household names. In late December 2020, a group of young artists demanded answers from the Youth Ministry on how the so called ‘Big Artists’ secured virtual gigs from the Ministry.
A new BOMU Executive Committee was ushered in August last year which saw the Union and the custodian Ministry smoke a peace pipe. Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) is an organization that works as an intermediary between registered artists and the Youth Ministry.
On Friday (16th April 2021) at a press conference to launch the 10th BOMU music awards, BOMU President Phemelo ‘Fresh’ Lesokwane said the Union has effectively managed to rebuild and earn back trust with its stakeholders, including MYSC and De Beers.
“These two entities have been BOMU music awards’ top sponsors for the past 10 years. We have managed to revive the awards and appoint a person who I will refer to as a brand marketing specialist. There has been a lot of miscommunication peddled around and as a leader of BOMU, I will be irresponsible to ignore all of it,” Fresh said.
Fresh is definitely not MYSC nor Minister of Rakgare’s spokesperson, but he had this to say: “It is very important I clear up the distortion of facts out there. MYSC and BOMU leadership have been hard at work, and in the previous year, we managed to push 90% of our members to register with COSBOTS so as to benefit from the subsidy. For the matter of fact, this did happen.
BOMU says it managed to convince MYSC to fund their 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM). “The Ministry accommodated, paid all costs of accommodation and food for all the delegates who attended the AGM. This was a first for BOMU for as long as anyone can remember. I was so happy to see Minister Rakgare attending our AGM, which was for the first time also.”
Rakgare and his associates have been given a pat on the back for the national consultative meetings they took last year. They met with industry representatives and discussed calendar of events and how they should be rolled out. BOMU also pleaded with the Youth Ministry not to cancel events this year, and according to Fresh, the Ministry agreed.
“This is why they are helping with BOMU music awards and in due course, we will be calling the media to reveal the sponsorship. And on top of that, BOMU has access to the Minister and his circle of associates. They have their doors open for us, and we can’t be fighting with the Ministry while we see how welcoming it is to us. Lot of noise is made by non-BOMU members, which should be condemned in any way possible.
The Youth Ministry however, says it will engage on consultations with organizations, not individuals. This is why it is very important for artists to join BOMU now.”
This past week seemed like a time travel back to the early 1970’s where women were judged and stoned for what they wear, what they should wear, and whose attention their dress code will grab.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry gave their two cents on the matter, unnecessarily so. Its disheartening that in 2021 a woman is dictated to about what she should wear.
The genesis of the whole saga was because of a certified life coach and personal trainer, Agang Atlholang, derided as an example of an anti-feminist.
Atlholang updated a controversial post on her Facebook page where she seemingly attacked and dragged some women for wearing appealing clothes that leave little to the imagination.
The personal coach further went on to highlight that she could be fully clothed and be able to attract and steal some of these women’s lovers. Audacious of her to assume but more disheartening that her wardrobe is subliminally dictated by men.
It should be noted that this wasn’t her first controversial post where she has threatened or promised to take other women’s men, it may not be her last either but this post however did get on a lot of women’s last nerve.
“A woman’s sexuality is so much more than her thighs, (beep) and breasts. It’s your aura, confidence, seduction and the way you carry yourself, watching everything rock and roll in silence. I know who I am, I am a boss lady. I can still get your man without showing skin,” said Atlholang.
It is hard to place the fitness coach, is she pro-feminism or anti-feminism? Because one minute she would say something that makes sense and that almost everyone can relate to and other times she barks threats like a toothless bulldog.
She was not wrong to publicly and indirectly affirm that she doesn’t wear revealing outfits, but for her to be coming at those who do so was entirely out of line. How a woman presents herself to the world has a very little to do with a man’s preference.
Any personal liberation of what one chooses to clothe their own body is clouded by the misogynistic backdrop of the world we live in. In all cases, a woman’s body is assumed to be someone else’s before is it her own.
If she takes off her clothes, it is seen to be a sign of her insecurity and need for validation, rather than feeling comfortable with herself. Once she’s stripped, that’s all she is. This is the insidious pressures of misogyny that we all have a duty to attack and put in the past where it belongs.
WeekendLife reached out to Atlholang but her phone went unanswered. She did not respond to a questionnaire sent to her on Wednesday. Celebrated feminist Resego Kgosidintsi says there should be no expectations on what a woman does with her body. Some women are thick and curvy, while some are slim and petite, all body types are beautiful.
Kgosidintsi uploaded two pictures on her Facebook page in which she compared herself. In one picture she was only in a bikini on the beach whereas in the other picture she was wearing formal attire. She went on to say;
“I am the woman in both pictures, my worth did not decrease on picture 2 because I revealed almost all of my skin and neither is my worth on a 100 on picture 1 because my skirt is below the knee.
I have about 7 tattoos on my entire body and that still does not make me less of a woman. I drink and smoke cigarettes too and that doesn’t mean the woman in church who doesn’t smoke or drink more woman than me. Can we respect people’s choices, can we respect women.” Feminist, media personality and socialite, Oratile Kefitlhile shares the same sentiments as Kgosidintsi.
‘‘Feminism is subject, if I feel as a woman that when I’m fully dressed I’m celebrating my femininity, so be it. If another woman feels they are embracing their femininity more with their thighs out, that’s perfectly fine still. Let them be.
We have been preaching this revolution for a very long time of women being allowed to wear what they want, and being allowed to embrace their womanhood in the way that speaks to them, so I feel at this point we should not be having these debates,” Kefitlhile told WeekendLife on Tuesday.
Controversial poet, artist and businesswoman, Berry Heart is of the belief that women are envious towards each other. She argues that celebrating femininity has no boundaries subsequently making no one woman superior.
Quizzed on what makes women fight over small issues such as what they wear, she says “Batswana women are broken so much that we don’t want to see another woman succeeding on anything. We desire to make them dejected.”