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Prominent events take a rain check due to Corona Virus!

The entertainment industry is feeling the impact of the Corona virus outbreak, with a series of high-profile closures and postponements. The rapid spread of Corona virus disease that broke in 2019 is making headlines across the globe and leading to numerous and substandard deferments, cancellations and bans.

It’s all chaos and the entertainment industry is not loving it.The virus primarily spreads when one person breathes in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In addition, any infected person, with or without symptoms, could spread the virus by touching a surface. It could remain on that surface and someone else could touch it and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

That's why it's so important to try to avoid touching public surfaces or at least try to wipe them with a disinfectant.Worldwide nearly 175,000 people have contracted the Corona virus with the World Health Organization reporting cases in at least 135 countries, territories or areas.Cases of this novel virus are being discovered in new countries almost daily. 

On Wednesday March 11, the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic, with approximately 118,000 cases in 114 countries and near 4,300 deaths.The virus has found a foothold on almost every continent and Southern African region has not been spared. This week a number of cases were confirmed throughout the region in South Africa. With the travel industry being heavily affected by the spread of Corona virus, this has also had serious implications for the entertainment industry in Botswana.

Whilst we all agree that safety must come first, this will have a significant impact on the entertainment industry, and the earning potential of the artistes, as most don't have supplemental income. It can likely be a financial disaster for entertainers as work lessens. Promoters will not be spared either, as they will now find themselves ‘out of pocket’ in instances where infrastructure and obligations would have already been met and they have no alternative but to postpone their events.

Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association BEPA convened on Monday afternoon in an effort to map a way forward from this pandemic. The Association brought together its members, majority which are event promoters, organizers as well as venue owners. Together they decided on what to propose to the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Arts and Sport Development Tumiso Rakgare pertaining to all the cancellations and postponements caused by the Corona virus.

‘’We need answers, we are all equally worried about the Corona virus because it affects us one way or the other. I think it’s also appropriate to call the Minister to come and address us on how best we can go about this. In postponing these events, we lose lot of money we invested in these events and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. We proposing events go on because we have solutions, but still if government does not accept these suggestions, there is nothing we can do,’’ one promoter said in an interview with Weekend Life on condition of anonymity.

Exotic who is also a protuberant event promoter held that sometimes they ought to own up to their responsibility as citizens to curb the pandemic. ‘’Sometimes own up as a citizen, don’t wait to be told to own up because you will find that you are told very late. Act now, take full responsibility as a citizen to contribute to the prevention of Corona virus, let’s all postpone our festivals.’’However, the meeting was not inclusive to the media therefore, what was pondered is yet to be shared in due time.

The Ministry however dispatched on their social media that ‘’MYSC leadership met with Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association to discuss issues concerning the entertainment industry. The Honorable  Minister emphasized the need to take extra precautions in the wake of the Corona virus, and implored promoters to consider government's decision to limit events especially those with more than 100 people.’’

Hamptons Jazz Festival which was initially scheduled to take place this coming Saturday, Debbie Smith took to social media to express her gloomy emotion about the postponement of her prominent jazz fest.
‘’Words fail me guys! My team & I put some hard work for nearly a year. Regardless, we could never day dream of putting the public at risk and I fell this is wrong timing. We will be strong again and I must say decision to postpone the event is slowly sinking in.’’

Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) founder, Fish Pabalinga also pooled his blue opinions. ‘’This winter is going to be very cold for the creative industry.’’Pabalinga shared a statement on his official Facebook page that read ‘’The GIMC Family Fun Day that was scheduled for Saturday 4 April 2020 at Bojanala Water Front has been postponed to a later date to be communicated in due course. The Corona Virus, (Covid-19) is a serious health hazard that cannot be risked and certainly not with children around.

Those that purchased tickets, kindly keep them safe as they will be valid for when the event happens later in the year.’’Some of the other prominent events that felt the heat from Corona virus include Soul Fill Up with Franco. On Monday afternoon, the management of the much anticipated event called a press conference that updated the media about the festival going on amid Corona virus scares.Few minutes later, reporters acknowledged calls apprising them to make a reappearance to the venue where the presser was held, on dramatic turn of events. The event was postponed indefinitely. Toropo ya Muka could not be spared, as it writhed the same effects.

According to press statements shared, some events are confirmed to take place late this year while some stakeholders are yet to meet and reach an agreement on when to hold down the event.


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The King’s journal 

23rd November 2021
Kgafela Kgafela II

This book is a true-life story of an African King based in South Africa. The Last Frontier is a resistance stand by Bakgatla Ba Kgafela tribe and its line of Kings from 1885 against a dark force called ‘western democracy’ that is insidiously destroying lives, peoples, nations and threatens to wipe away whole civilizations in Africa.

The story flows through four important episodes of history, beginning in about 1885 when Bechuanaland Protectorate was formed. This section briefly reveals interactions between Kgosi Linchwe 1 and the British Colonial Government, leading to the establishment of Bakgatla Reserve by Proclamations of 1899 – 1904.

The second episode deals with Kgosi Molefi’s interaction with the British Colonial Government in the period of 1929-36. The third episode records Kgosi Linchwe II’s interactions with the British Colonial Government and black elites of Bechuanaland. It covers the period of 1964-66, leading to Botswana’s independence. Kgosi Linchwe ii resisted the unlawful expropriation of his country (Bakgatla Reserve) by Sir Seretse Kgama’s government of 1966 to no avail. He wrote letters of objection (December 1965) to Her Majesty the Queen of England, which are reproduced in this book.

The fourth episode covers the period between Kgafela Kgafela II’s crowning as King of Bakgatla in 2008 to 2021. It is a drama of the author’s resistance to the present-day Botswana Government, a continuation of Bakgatla Kings’ objection against losing Bakgatla country to the Kgama dynasty assisted by the British Government since 1885. The story is told with reference to authentic letters, documents, and Court records generated during the period of 1885-2019. There is plenty of education in history, law, and politics contained in The Last Frontier for everyone to learn something and enjoy.   

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Gospel concerts make a comeback

16th November 2021
Bishop Benjamin Dube

Hailed for being the prime gospel concert after the Covid-19 pandemic had put events to a halt, Golden Relic, in conjunction with Sweet Brands, recently unveiled the Arise and Worship Concert, Botswana. The show marks the return of worshippers and fans to enjoy music and worship together after what seemed like “cooler box” events were taking over the entertainment scene. 

The concert to be held on December 11th 2021, at the Molapo Showcase, has a packed lineup with the Headlining acts being Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela from South Africa and Botswana’s very own Obakeng Sengwaketse. More international acts from Nigeria and Ghana are also expected to grace the event. The show organizers have invested an effort in diversifying the lineup with live performances. 

The promoter of the Arise and Worship Concert, David “DVD” Abram revealed in an overview of the event that; “We have lost a lot of loved ones this year, and when that happens, one’s spirit goes down, and we need a light to ground us once more, to heal our souls. Therefore, the two main purposes of this event are to do the work of God and, secondly, to make sure that we nurture and develop talent in Botswana. With challenges that come up with events of such magnitude, the team and I have been committed to seeking guidance from God through having night prayers.” 

Abram added that as promoters, they usually have a bias towards already established artists, thus neglecting the upcoming ones and wanting to change that. “We approached the Melody Gospel TV Show since we aim at nurturing new talent and agreed on having one of the winners as a headliner for the event to allow them to share the stage with gospel giants so that they are exposed to the industry. This resulted in securing the Second Winner of the Melody Gospel TV show; Thabiso Mafoko as a local headlining act.”

The concert also aims at celebrating a Motswana. Multi-Award Winner; with the most recent title; BOMU Best Traditional Gospel under his belt, also best known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Obakeng Sengwaketse enthusiastically said, “I want to thank the organizers of the Arise and Worship concert, it means a lot to me after recently winning two awards that are currently the highlight of my career.

I regard this as a great revival because the Covid-19 pandemic has muffled events such as this. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with the great Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and more artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Sengwaketsi urged Batswana to come and witness the greatness of the Lord as their lives will never be the same.”

Tickets are selling like fat cakes with VVIP tickets having only five tickets remaining; the VVIP tickets include rounder access backstage to all the performing artists. The event will also comprise a seated Gold Circle Ticket, which accounts for 50% of revellers to allow for easier enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and avoid a potential stampede.

In a bid to entice merrymakers to buy tickets, the promoters have come up with a layby strategy and buying tickets on an instalment basis for the attendees to be able to buy their tickets since the COVID-19 Pandemic has left many Batswana in financial ruin but having the interest to attend the event.

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Fame vs Mental health

9th November 2021

One can only imagine what is like being in the public eye. It is not a walk in the park; and not as easy as people might think it is because of the pressure from the public. Celebrities or influencers are perceived to be perfect, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect parents, financially stable, healthy, and always smiling and patient with everyone – Is this for real?

However, when people’s expectations of celebrities are not met, the same celebrities are often victimized, body shamed, or blamed, fairly or unfairly. As a result of them not having a personal life, they are often scrutinized in all aspects of their lives; their lives are aired for the public to see and judge. Celebrities are often extra careful about everything that they do, they have to go an extra mile as compared to how ordinary people live their lives.

To understanding this experiences by public figures, this reporter made a case study of Mr Lizibo Gran Mabutho, the firstborn in his family with only one sibling, his younger brother. Lizibo describes himself as a simple Kalanga guy who was chosen by music and did not choose music.

He said being raised by his mother and grandmother, he grew up surrounded by music from birth. Lizibo said his grandmother was a religious person who held church services at their house in Zwenshambe, “for me singing was from Monday to Sunday. I was not like any ordinary child who only sang at church on Sundays or sometimes in school assembly, for me it was a daily thing. My mother was also a talented dancer in our village that is what I mean when I say I did not choose music, but music chose me.”

Lizibo said though he grew up surrounded by music, it was hard for his parents to accept the path he has chosen to be a musician. Lizibo said he had to prove to his parents that music was his passion and that it could pay the bills like any other profession. He said eventually they saw his passion for music and supported him.

Lizibo said being exposed to music from a tender age made him venture into the music career from a tender age. He said he was part of the Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete (KTM) choir, Lizibo said being in the public eye for the longest time has taught him that he is living for the people and that he does not have a life. He said the very society that is watching him has so much expectation for him and that means he has to conduct himself in a good manner because people are looking up to him.

Lizibo said he understands the saying that great power comes with great responsibility, “when people see me, they see a role model. I realize and understand that people are and have been modelling me even when I was not aware of it, I know of six mothers who have named their sons after me because they felt that I inspire them somehow.”

He said he has accepted his fate that he will never have a normal life because people are looking unto him. He said he is grateful to be in the public on a positive note by bringing hope to the people because he has always wanted to be part of people’s solutions and not their problems.

He said, “people should understand that our careers are our calling. One needs to be spiritually connected to their calling as an artist. The most rewarding part about being in the public for me is not about payment but about being the solution to someone’s problem.”

Lizibo said the greatest challenge that he has ever faced about being in the public eye has been the issue of trust, not able to know which friends are genuine and which ones are not. He said as a way of avoiding fake friends he has always kept his four close friends who have been there for him through thick and thin. Lizibo said being close to his family has also helped him as they have been his strength when things were not going well for him, “most of the time people say we change when we taste fame. That is not necessarily true because people are the ones who changed when we became famous. People always want something from us, nothing is ever genuine with people and that is why I chose to keep my circle very small.”

Lizibo said as much as he travels a lot because of the nature of his work because it is naturally demanding, he said he always ensures that he creates time for his family. He said that at home he is Lizibo who is sent to do errands, he is Lizibo the son, not a celebrity.

He said there is a lot of pressure that comes with being in the spotlight, “the public puts so much pressure on us mostly about the material lifestyle they portray us to have. We are often compared with South African celebrities, but people fail to understand that we are two different countries. Most people fell into the trap and are living above their means resulting in them living in debt. I often tell youngsters not to fall into that trap of being tempted to live life above their means.”

The advice Lizibo gave to upcoming celebrities was that they should know that being in the public is not about them, but it is about the people. He said, “one of my mentors once asked me if I make music about myself or the people. He said I need to make music for the people because it is my responsibility to feed them with what they need, he said they might not even be able to know that they have a need but that I need to identify that need and meet it. Our responsibility is to serve people what they need, our music is to feed people’s hunger. My music is about love, I feed people love.”

Lizibo said it is important for celebrities to seek counselling and take care of their mental health, he said he has been investing in his mental health for years because he understands the importance of mental health especially when one is in the public.

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