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Surviving breast cancer

Breast cancer has been a nightmare for most women globally, and according to World Health Organization (WHO), the condition will continue claiming lives of many for years to come.

For Otshepheng Mthimkhulu, a 36-year old police officer at Ramotswa, had her life turned upside down by the illness. It has been a miserable reality getting to know that she has breast cancer, and for the rest of her life, she will be surviving with a single breast.

The small blood stains on her right breast stirred her to go see the doctor, who then recommended pain killers to ease the agony. Not knowing what she is suffering from, Mthimkhulu was told to come for check-up the next month which ultimately failed to give her a diagnosis.

It was only when she was getting seriously concerned about this condition that she followed up on the check-ups for the next six months. After being sent from pillar to post pertaining to mammogram that she was supposed to undergo, she finally got tested at a private hospital where she tested and did a biopsy.

Unfortunately the results came back and I was told I have a metaplastic carcinoma breast cancer on stage 3, she said.With her worse fear a reality, Mthimkhulu started her chemotherapy which took eight circles. After the last circle I decided that I was not going for surgery because at the time, I was on training at the police college.

Lot of questions flocked my mind, lost in thoughts how I am going to face the world with only a single breast. That was the saddest time of my life.Mthimkhulu had to do mastectomy and start another chemotherapy Herceptin because her hormones tested positive. She did not know what was next, only to be told that the cancer is now in her lungs.

Questions came rising and falling, and no answers were close enough. She was devastated, her dreams were crumpled and her life carried up-side-down. Quizzed on how she survived all the way through, she told Weekendlife that she got a little of inspiration from a series she watched, saying that she learnt that actually, there are other complicated conditions people are suffering and dying from, and cancer can be much better.

I then started opening up to people and telling them about breast cancer. I earned great support from my close associates, something that gave me hope. At one point I met a woman who introduced me to a fighter group that abetted us with everything we needed.

It was a consecration I must say, because most of us felt much better and alive. Learning that we have breast cancer was just a fairy-tale to us.They say every woman needs a man. Mthimkhulu found her husband who has been supportive and courageous throughout this journey. She said there are other substantial women who offered artificial breast, wigs and counselling.

No one ever told Mthimkhulu that this will be smooth sailing nor did she expect it to be. She went through overwhelming experiences that made her hopeless at times. According to her, at times her doctors appointments would be cancelled last minute. As much as that can be discouraging, she held on nonetheless.

I started experiencing the side effects of the chemotherapy when I lost my hair, nails and skin complexion. I was always fatigued and stressed most of the times and I was always on sick leave. This was fracturing because I never thought at one point I will be living with cancer, she said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Award-Winning Youth Activist, Omphemetse Mmolai, through her organization Berekela Botswana Monana in collaboration with LEGABIBO will be hosting breast cancer survivors, well-wishers, and other relevant stakeholders for breast cancer awareness event in Lobatse this Saturday.

Mmolai told Weekendlife reporter Tlhabo Kgosiemang that there will be a hill climbing exercise meant to sensitize the public about the breast cancer condition, adding that the Lobatse DHMT and LEGABIBO organizations will be having pertinent presentations.

I have been involved in different activities geared at addressing various issues that affect the youth, women and girls. It is significant to note that these activities were conducted in Lobatse, so this month as it is the time to raise awareness about breast cancer, that will be my main focus.

Quizzed on why hill climbing, she said this is a way of showing hardships of what breast cancer survivors go through. This is to say they comprehend the circumstances they are being challenged with, and that they are not alone in this fight.

 

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WeekendLife

Lifestyle enthusiasts feel Big Brother vibes

27th January 2023

This past weekend MultiChoice Botswana hosted media and lifestyle enthusiasts in Oodi for an evening of fun, drama and everything in between. The treat dubbed Big Brother Titans Botswana media challenge basically recreated the Big Brother experience right here in Botswana.

Big Brother Titans is the joint South African and Nigerian edition of the Big Brother franchise. The series follows contestants as they live in an isolated house and compete for a cash prize at the end of the show by avoiding being evicted from the house by the viewers.

These viewers vote their favorite housemates to stay on the show. The show features housemates from South Africa and Nigeria. The first season of the show premiered on January 15 2023 on DStv.

DStv Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembile Legwaila told WeekendLife that they saw it critical to host media friends to experience how it feels by being in the Big Brother house.

“For the very first time in history of Big Brother, we’ve seen the merging of two superpowers, Mzansi and Naija, with the Big Brother Titans season and what a better way to celebrate the monumental season than hosting our media friends.”

THE LOVE

Participants were treated to top notch reception complimented by the Oodi sunset which just blew them away. A special shuttle was organized from Gaborone to Oodi, at a farm house that is just incredible in terms of design, aesthetics and ambience.

Of course they were welcomed by soft cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for those who are not drinkers, and the next booth was an opportunity for housemates to introduce themselves to the man of the house, Biggie. RB2’s new baby Mdu the Party played the role of Biggie, and he nailed the character.

Some of the contestants were asked what they will do with the grand prize of P5000. With my ongoing voluntary movement, #Pad4HER, I needed the cash prize to push the campaign.  #Pad4HER is a campaign that I started last year with an aim of helping female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to have access to sanitary towels. Anyway, luck was not on my side but my colleague from The Botswana Gazette, Gosego Motsumi emerged as the winner.

We got done with the questions and made way into the house. The party began with more drinks and the first challenge kicked off. For this particular challenge, we were divided into pairs. I was matched with Motsumi and we won the first challenge.

WINNING STRATEGY

Other housemates asked how we managed but it was simple: we had a strategy before embarking on the challenge. We sat down and debated on what we need to do in order to emerge victorious.

DStv engaged a phenomenal local chef, Rachel Tlagae who served some enchanting, light meal. Its Big Brother Titans so we ought to mind what we eat and also take note of quantities. Chefs also brought some wine to go with the meal and everyone was contented.

THE WINNING CHALLENGE

Housemates were taken through the last challenge: mental ability. This particular challenge needed them to know who they are as well as knowing their fellow housemates. It was one of the simplest challenges yet difficult. This is where I lost lot of points even though I was at the top (after winning the first challenge).

These housemates were all unique in their own way. From the media side was myself, Sharon Mathala, Leungo Mokgwathi, Gosego Motsumi and Nancy Ramokhua. This is a team which did exceptionally well altogether. Motsumi emerged as the winner, followed by Mathala and me on fourth position.

The third position was won by Loungo Pitse from influencer’s side, and he tagged alongside DJ Gouveia, Dato Seiko, Kedi Molosiwa and Gape Makwati.

Legwaila said “We wanted to have a healthy mix of traditional media (print and radio) as well as social media personalities, artists and content creators in the house. We chose individuals who were characteristically different from each other because variety and diversity is important to us. We of course chose those with outgoing personalities as well as those who are a little more introverted as we wanted the interaction to be authentic and organic. We wanted a solid group of individuals who represented the many different people that make up this beautiful country.”

DSTV IS COOKING SOMETHING

When quizzed if there are plans to have a similar Big Brother Titans Botswana, Legwaila said “MultiChoice Africa is focused on entertaining audiences all over Africa with the current Big Brother franchises; BB Titans, Mzansi and Naija. Though we have no immediate plans to have a Big Brother Botswana in the future, we are continuously looking at ways to entertain our Botswana audience with local content and we are excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks from our country.”

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WeekendLife

DENIM RICHARDS American actor takes local productions to the world

23rd January 2023

American renowned actor, Denim Richards has been in Botswana for quite a while now with one clear mission: the revamp the film and entertainment industry.

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WeekendLife

Botswana misses out on Miss Universe again

9th January 2023

The 71st Miss Universe competition will be going down at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans next week in the United States. There are eighty four entrants at this year’s Miss Universe, and Botswana will once again not be a part of the pageant.

The Miss Universe will be hosted by Jeannie Mai and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, who last served as host during Miss Universe 2020, while Mai last served as backstage correspondent during Miss Universe 2014. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Zuri Hall will serve as backstage correspondents. This will mark the first time in a 70-year history to have an all-female presenting panel.

Botswana last participated at the Miss Universe in 2013, in which the Miss Universe Botswana pageant was won by Tsoane Macheng. Ever since then, Botswana never made its return to the biggest beauty pageant in the world, despite its consistent ability to send a representative to participate at the Miss World competition.

Miss Universe Botswana Director, Safie Sekgwa, allegedly holds the Miss Universe license. Efforts to reach him proved futile, as his mobile phone rung unanswered.

Despite Botswana showing zero efforts in participating at the Miss Universe, the beauty pageants 2019 crown was flanked by two smaller diamonds cut from the same stoned mined in Botswana.

Jewelry designer Mouawad created a new “Power of Unity” crown reportedly worth 5 Million US Dollars, and the title was won by South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi. She was the third South African to be crowned Miss Universe.

BOTSWANA’S POOR RECORD AT MISS UNIVERSE

Botswana is said to be one African country with the most beautiful women, but, the poor performance at the Miss Universe, communicates otherwise. Perhaps, representatives at the pageant are not academically gifted, as the Miss Universe tests how keen they are also.

Mpule Kwelagobe made history when she was crowned Miss Universe 1999. That was few months after she was crowed the first ever Miss Universe Botswana. Kwelagobe became the third woman from Africa who was crowned Miss Universe.

In 2000, Miss Universe Botswana then, Joyce Molemoeng did not place at Miss Universe, and the same blue reality struck again in 2001, when Mataila Sikwane also failed drastically.

After a two year hiatus, Miss Universe 2004, Icho Keolotswe also failed to place at Miss Universe. That was the end of participation at Miss Universe, only to return in 2010. Tirelo Ramasedi, Miss Universe 2010 also did not win. The same losing trend followed from 2011 (Larona Kgabo), 2012 (Sheillah Molelekwa) and 2013 (Tsaone Macheng).

MISS UNIVERSE 2022 UNDERWAY

Preparations are ongoing to hold the 71st Miss Universe competition. Harnaaz Sandhu of India will crown her successor at the end of the event. There are nine countries which have withdrawn from participating: Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Romania and Sweden.

As for returns, Miss Universe 2022 will see Angola, Belize, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Uruguay.

Lebanon won Miss Universe in 1971, Angola in 2011, Trinidad and Tobago in 1977 and1998. Youngest Miss Universe 2022 participants are aged 18, and they are from British Virgin Islands, Iceland and Krgyzstan and Switzerland’s representative is nineteen.

MISS UNIVERSE ALMOST 6 MILLION US DOLLAR CROWN

Miss Universe has unveiled its new crown for the 71st competition. The new crown, “The Crown Number 12: Force for Good” was crafted by world renowned luxury jeweler Mouawad.

The new crown, with pear-shaped blue sapphires surrounded by diamonds and valued at approximately 5.58 Million US Dollars, will be the prestigious mark of honor for the winner this coming week.

According to the Miss Universe organization, the Force for Good crown emanates Mouawad’s passion for crafting the extraordinary, featuring the meticulous setting of sapphires and diamonds, whose design is replete with symbolism.

Reflecting the point that significant change does not happen in an instant, the base of the crown is set with diamonds symbolizing the status quo. From the base upwards, rippling wave motifs reflect the momentum of change, with their varying sizes portraying that this momentum gains ground gradually through advocacy at different moments and places, to audiences large and small, over time.

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