Marriage starts a giant chapter in any person’s life, it is for this reason that people are encouraged to not only take their time before getting married but are also urged to choose the right partner who could help them weather any storm. The beauty of marriage ultimately lies in understanding each other, and complementing each other.
While society may be sceptic about young couples who want to walk down the aisle, they surprisingly also understand what it means to have found an embodiment of true love in someone, and more often than not, they throw their full body weight behind the couple instead of their usual criticism. WeekendLife interviewed a young couple, Thato and Laone Mogotsi, who tied the knot at a relatively young age; Larona was 22 years whilst her husband was 24.
The couple’s story can be seen as the clichéd teenage love story we all see in rom-coms, where a 17 year old Thato fell head over heels in-love with a then 15 year old Laone – love at first sight.
Fast track to seven years down the road, the couple are the epitome of the coined phrase ‘I married my childhood sweetheart’. The Mogotsis have since grown in both maturity and in their marriage and are well on their way to making plans of growing their family.
For Larona, the proposal was not as romantic as she had hoped or expected. “It was just a basic proposal, he just threw it in, whilst we were having a conversation. This was in 2018. That was when things became quite serious. I was only 21 then. I did not really invest in the emotion that he really wanted to marry me. So he later approached my pastor, Boago Ramogapi and in February 2019 he told me he is for real and that I should go and inform my parents. There was no engagement ring and to be honest I wanted the ring” she said.
Both their families, when told about the engagement, were supportive of their children’s decision as they felt it was inevitable that the young couple would one day walk down the aisle. Traditional wedding processes went off without a hitch and the two were married.
To an outsider, their relationship may seem all rosy but the couple say they can attest to many struggles they had during their dating period. Not only that but Thato and Larona admit that people thought they were too young for any sort of commitment, let alone marriage, others were even of the opinion that they did not understand what they were doing. The nay-sayers did not keep Thato and Larona from hitching.
The bubbly and down to earth couple further highlighted that after high school, their relationship hit a breaking point which defined where they were headed.
“We had a crazy eight years of being together which marked a season of growth and much change in our lives as well as maturity. We found out that we were more mature than we ever thought we were. It was a period where we had a lot of fun. We got to understand that some things you cannot be engaging in them for too long.
So we decided to break away from the current norm of our age mates and we decided to do us. So there was a period of time when there was just the two of us, without any friends around. That was the time we got to know each other deeply,” said Thato.
“So we got together and got to understand each other because sometimes we are overshadowed by friendships, because a lot of times when he asked me to come and see him I would take a friend along. We were friends but I noticed a lot of things when friends were out of the picture.
When friends are around, there is so much influence. That was the breaking point of our relationship and since then it has been more than amazing,” said Laone.
The career driven couple, have published a book called ‘Married at 22’, in which they give a glimpse into their journey as a couple -from the time they met until the day they tied the knot. In the book, she explained that, when she left the alter she never left herself there, as she understand before she is a Mrs, she is herself hence she will never allow herself to be lost in marriage.
The couple also try to advise that there is no one formula to making relationships work. What would work for one couple may not work for any other couple and therefore it is important to first understand each other and find out what works in your relationship.
Their book is currently available for orders through their Facebook page and doorstep deliveries. The couple are in the process of having it on Amazon website by next month, July.
Creatives take covid-19 strain…
With doubts surging as to whether or not things will return to normal after the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Botswana artists and promoters’ hopes are running dry as the entertainment industry takes strain.
The creative sector was to be aided by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture development (MYSC), this was confirmed by Tumiso Rakgare, however, the funds are reported to be taking forever to be credited which has pushed entertainers over the edge, more so that their sector is totally closed.
The argument from the entertainers is that it is unfair for the transport sector to be fully operational while they are completely closed off. “The creative sector should be opened to allow the creatives to earn a living without depending on the government. A whole lot of creatives are so depressed because of having to stay for money without a salary hence all the gigs were cancelled.
In all the industries which has been opened there are protocols and the same can apply to the entertainment industry. Look at the bus services or transportation. They have protocols to observe. We can be opened as well and be allowed to observe the same rules,” said Thabang Garogwe, Botswana Afro Jazz Musician.
It is without a doubt that a lot of artists were feeding off from the sector, and now their supply ceased and they are hanging from a thread without knowing what tomorrow holds for them, some artists however suggest that the government must strategize.
“I believe that we should gradually open up the entertainment industry soonest. We can do it in phases with limited audiences and times, increasing gradually till we are back in full swing. This total closure is killing us. We have public transporters who are allowed 100 percent passenger capacity. We are talking zero social distancing and some routes, say Gaborone-Kasane, mean that people are stuck together in a bus for more than 10 hours. Why can’t I have a 5 hour outdoor event? Does it sound unreasonable for us to ask for this?” Sereetsi and the Natives said.
“I have had bookings locally and internationally cancelled. That’s a loss of income and livelihood.” The ‘Sedidi’ hit-maker, Amantle Brown also found herself drowning in anxiety as she too is sceptic as to whether the industry that kept things together in her life will open soon or not. She however calls out to the entertainment organisations to come through for their sector.
“Covid-19 has really hit us so bad, it’s crazy because when it started the first month and the second month, we were hoping that things will get to normal but when we saw ourselves going to the forth then firth month and then July. It feels like we are going to go crazy and explode. Everything is stagnant. Things have paused and panic is setting in, anxiety is setting and I’m just wondering where I am going to get money from to buy necessities,” she said.
“It is just messed up and I feel we need these music bodies to stand up and rise for this issue and figure a way to help us so that we can sustain ourselves until things get back to normal. We need help as soon as possible. We waited for way too long and we are starting to panic, lose grip and even demotivated.
MYSC relief fund has not yet come in yet. I am calling onto COSBOTS to find a way to pay our royalties, VIB to pay for our caller tunes so that at least we can gather what we could gather until things are better.”
Kabelo Mogwe from Culture Spears also established with this publication that, this has been their hardest year yet as their international shows were cancelled when international trips were halted.
“We make a living by music, especially us Culture Spears because most of the time we cross borders. Last year if I remember well, every month we were booked to perform internationally. Every month we were crossing the border.
That is where we were mostly affected. There are no shows as well, CD’s were made in South Africa and the pandemic slowed us down. Night shows and corporate shows were really affected. Things have been stopped due to travel restrictions and social distancing,” he lamented,
Lockdown cost Hamptons P85 000
Like many social events, the Hamptons Jazz Festival was also the first to be hit by the devastating COVID-19 postponements in the event fraternity. Their standing, as the biggest show in Botswana can be attributed to the growing support and loyalty of local and international customers, the ‘Hamptonettes’.
The event’s postponement meant loyal revellers could not enjoy the bawling sound of live music, the euphoria that came with the buzz that oozed from the stage and the large crowds, while sipping on their chosen potions.
The founder of Hamptons Jazz Festival, Debbie Smith established with this publication that the social event lost P85 000 after taking time building up to an event which was later interrupted by the pandemic. Despite everything, they have managed to secure all bookings on international artists for the next event.
She further explained that they are not sure as to whether the event will host or not. ‘‘We are Hoping that the event does take place on October 24th as provisionally planned, we have a few surprises up our sleeve to implore our fans to keep on the lookout for updates on our Facebook page and other social media platforms. In the meantime, while waiting for government, we encourage everyone to continue adhering to Covid regulations,” she said
As the creative industry continues to take strain amid the pandemic, it means that the Hamptons was also tampered with and many things were put on hold as well as all the engaged stakeholders.
“It also meant sending many on the team home as there was nothing left for them to do- nothing left to pay them. 50 of our consultants found themselves without an income, while an additional 100+ tasked with sales, marketing, PR and media, administration, operations, setup and maintenance, etc., the show also lost out,”
“Hamptons prides itself with its team, which comprises of 80% of youths between 18 and 35.
That, together with our commitment to always having a huge line- up comprising of local and international artists has been wrecked tragically. Local artists and band members, who stood to benefit even more from the higher rates attached to live performances have had to stay home with no lucrative income from their trade. They have lost out on an opportunity to network and form collaborations with international artists,” said Smith.
An event which is known for bringing the hottest line up, by engaging international artists said they are closely interested in the state of ‘all things COVID’ in the SADC region as their line-up has international artists from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. Hamptons remains relentless in providing what it is known for; a good mix of quality local and international live jazz music.
“As a promoter that appreciates the need for public health and safety, we realise that social distancing at large events will be a challenge. We do know and trust, however, that the public knows how to carry themselves amid such conditions. Despite the anxiety and fear around the effects of COVID, there is a lot that we can do as events promoters to ensure that precautions are taken when attending events,”
“We anxiously wait to hear from government on any recommendations as far as large gatherings are concerned and the opportunity to brainstorm and suggest around how we can take the necessary precautions. We have been patient; we have been co-operating; we are hungry; we need to fend for ourselves. We humbly plea to the government, through the Covid Task Team, to consider us, when making decisions. We live in hope,” she said.
Artists and promoters were promised an allowance by the government, and it seems like the payments are taking time to be credited which is putting more strain on artists as well as promoters.
“Promoters were promised a relief fund and BEPA (Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association) has tried several times to get updates from MYSC. However, finally the update is that promoters and artists will get a relief fund next week or the week after. As the Hamptons, we did not apply for any subsidence funds as we feel there are other companies who deserve them better than us. It’s a difficult time for everyone,” Smith concluded.
When your friend falls in love with your man
When it comes to love and friendship, it is often a girl code of sorts to know their limits especially when it comes to dating each other’s partners. In some instances though, some find themselves smitten over their friend’s love, to an extent that they walk down the aisle with their friend’s former lover. This then begs the question; is it okay for to find ‘true love’ in my friend’s man?
As immoral or shocking as it may be, the scenario is all but too common. A typical example of this can be found in the South African television and radio personality Bonang Matheba and renowned music personality Dj Zinhle. The two are said to have once been best friends before their feud. The two separated after rapper AKA who at the time was dating Dj Zinhle, went on to have a romantic relationship with Bonang Matheba, whilst Dj Zinhle was pregnant with baby Kairo. While some saw AKA and Bonang as a match made in heaven, bottom line was AKA was initially her best friend’s man.
There are so many reasons as to why someone, would secretly crush on their friend’s man, even after the said couple go their separate ways. Some guys however feel that, it is an issue of finding a partner that completes you rather than someone being your partner’s friend. Meaning, if their partner lacks a certain trait, and their friend has the exact trait which was sought after, then why not go for someone they feel they are more compatible with.
While women are more emotional about the issue, they believe a friend has no reason to date their man even if it is a former lover, unless of course they were never friends in the first place. Even so, loyalty can’t be overruled in friendships and it comes first.
Although hesitant to reveal more, Archibold Letsatle who found himself in a similar situation, said that this messes a person up, which is safe to say even men feel the hurt that comes with friends dating their lovers.
“Been there but on the receiving end, it destroys your partner more than you. You are not that evil. So either confess so that he leaves or you give them equal opportunity to fight for you. I can only say it cost me a lot. I couldn’t focus at school, dropped out of CIMA, went on a revenge spree and I got depressed. I just got back my life after 3years of depression. That whole thing messed me up my life,” he said.
In an interview with WeekendLife, Psychologist Tshepo Shoshong, highlighted that this is caused by a creation of whole lot things that can open a door for someone to fall in love with their friend’s lover.
“Sometimes we rush to tell our friends what is transpiring in our relationship, to an extent of citing that they are good in bed and all those things. Being an open book and your friend get to know what kind of person your partner is. The moment they meet your partner, they already feel they know them. We are too quick to introduce our partners even in the early months of the relationship. When we introduce them, a bond is being created. Then your partner and your friend can turn into more of a sexual understanding and undertone. Which can make your friend think they are more deserving of your partner, more especially when the friend is cheating and undecided about their partner,” he said.
While friendship means a lot to many, he said when it comes to understanding the kind of friendship you have with your friends, that means also understanding how the two of you define that friendship because most of the time people who we call friends do not consider us to be their friend, that is why they will go after your lover because sometimes they are doing it with a clear conscious that you are not friends.
“Some do so because of their malicious intentions, they are just being spiteful. You are happy in a relationship and they just want to destroy that. Sometimes they fall for each other because your friend has more things in common with your partner. They get to bond on small issues. They have most things in common that they spend most of their time discussing it and when they hold such conversations that is when it clicks that there is a lot going between them,” said Shoshong.
Most of the time we beat ourselves up for losing our loved ones to another person and we feel we were never good enough or we were lacking in some aspect, Shoshong however advised that when something like that happens to you, you should never think to beat yourself up about it.
“You come first, so if someone steals your partner, do not blame yourself for anything, even for bringing the two together. Do not take the blame by thinking you did not meet the expectation. We tend to be hard and harsh on ourselves for the decisions that others took. Then we feel it is not right for us. This means also that the friendship was never legit or worthwhile. Which is why you need to understand the purpose of your friendship and how you classify it,” he said.
In conclusion, Shoshong said people should not allow their friends to openly chat with their partners to an extent of even meeting up. “Do not be too relaxed without boundaries, so that they know when to draw the line.’’