Songbird Amantle Brown has been My Star judge for some time now, alongside Kitso Selato, former My Star winner as well as Motswafere.
The trio were selected as judges stemming from the fact that they were also once former contestants. While witnessing the impeccable talent in our country, Amantle Brown confirmed with this publication that it is something she has always wanted to do.
Amantle Brown is an R&B artist who rose to fame whilst competing in My Star. One of the songs that orchestrated her music career and placed her in the limelight was ‘Sa Pelo’, from her first album. She is also known for hit songs such as ‘Black Mampatile’ and ‘Moratiwa’, which dominated radio waves. She has belted 11 awards ever since she started her music career. The petite artist is known for her trail-blazing toil which made her dominate the industry as a female artist.
The songstress alongside other panellists the likes of; Kitso Selato and Motswafere, joined My Star as panellists last season, and this is their second season. Selato is known for his vocal strength and was one of the most sought after contestants during her competition days in My Star. The controversial personality, Motswafere, also rose to fame during her My Star days and was hitched to come and be a panellist.
My star is a local talent show that scouts for raw talent across the country and was established in 2006. The show which is on its fourteenth season is formerly known as Pop star. The contestants are groomed on a weekly basis throughout the season. The television show gets aired every Sundays on BTV.
The winner walks away with P100 000 and a scholarship. Bianca Gabasiane, Masego Selato, are of the famous faces who won during previous seasons. The show which used to attract sponsorship from huge entities like Mascom is this season running without any sponsors.
Amantle Brown has however never won during any of the seasons, but she emerged and grew in leaps and bounds after leaving the show, taking the industry by storm. Brown faced elimination many a-times during the competition phases because of lack of votes.
She opened up to WeekendLife on how she became a panellist on My Star.
“My Star just gave me a call and told me that they wanted me to be part of the panel. I said yes I have always wanted to do it. I have watched shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and it is something that I knew that along the way it is going to come my way. With the experience I went through, I believe I can bring something different to the table,” she said.
“I just felt that the experience I have attained when I got into this country as a female artist, coming as strong as I did, was something I could bring to My Star panel. To get to teach, inspire and give insight about the industry.”
For some time in the journey she was subjected to attacks from the public for being too hard on the contestants which she said it was something that she had to learn from.
“From the time I joined till now, it has been a roller-coaster. When I came here people had mixed feeling about us. They we were too young, that we were not the right people to be put in the panel. They had mixed emotions. As time went on people felt that I was attacking contestants and that I thought I knew too much. It was not cool. At that time there was a bit of regret of why I agreed to align myself with that brand because the scandal was too big,” she said.
Despite everything, she is greatly appeased by the amount of talent in the country, it also leaves her puzzled as to why sponsors are not knocking down doors to join in nursing the talent Batswana have on offer.
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.