The return of My African Dream
The countryís then popular eponymous talent search show My African Dream MAD is officially back. My African Dream is popularly known for scouting talent and cultivating it to be something of great worth in the entertainment sector. The show has produced todayís prominent artists such as the notorious ATI, DJ Guyvos as well as Amanandos amongst others.
That was before the dream shuttered because the talent show has been off BTV screens for years now. Reasons for this miserable reality are still not known even up to this day. Anyway, the new virtual edition of My African Dream was launched this week at the Riverwalk Mall Courtyard.
Riverwalk Mall is famously known for birthing My African Dream back in the days. The shopping complex used the idea as a way of promoting itself, as it was relatively new in the capital city, so this was a needed shot in the arm.
The revived My African Dream 2020 shall scour the country virtually. This is obviously because of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that had shattered the entire world. The digital submissions will be made on the My African Dream website and sorted following which the public will be invited to vote for the Top 16 finalists.
According to the My African Dream team leader, Losika Seboni, the nationwide talent search show has had a great impact in the growth of the arts and entertainment sector in Botswana. He says this is a platform that gave many aspiring creatives and artists a chance to explore their talents, abilities and aspirations.
ďMy African Dream has been geared towards the cultivation of arts through music, dance and performance. Since 1996, My African Dream has given thousands of Batswana youth the platform to express themselves through the arts and has had success in the form of national icons such as ATI, Han C, Samantha Mogwe, Rosemary as well as Marang.
In order to dig up more young talent, Seboni indicated that they saw it critical to bring back to life the talent search, with the help of partners that subsidized finances and technical aspects of the show, that is anticipated to bring flair, fair adjudicating, lights and red carpet event.
A local communications operator Mascom boosted the talent show with P350 000, as a way of encouraging the growth of arts and entertainment sector in the country. I must say this is a creditable gesture coming from Mascom. The arts and entertainment sector has been gravely hit by the Corona-virus blight, and having corporates and private companies coming to the party to succor the sector, is really a remarkable participation.
The organizers told Weekendlife that they will be opening up for submissions this week. Because now the world is moving towards a digital space, interested parties have been urged to record their audition and submission on the MAD official Facebook page, or alternatively the website.
Clearly not a stranger to the spotlight, the bubbly Peelo Mookodi was announced as the host of My African Dream 2020. She was a firm fan favorite on Sabc 3ís Presenter Search and week after week her fan base just kept on growing.† Whereas most people would shy away from the kind of scrutiny that comes with being†any†sort of host (Family functions included) she dazzles with a confidence thatís somewhere between God given and self-taught & mastered
Before she was on SABC, interviewing South Africaís power socialites, personalities and trendsetters both on red carpet and live on TV such as David Tlale and Somizi, the young woman sharpened her teeth in the Botswana entertainment industry, hosting a lifestyle show on BTV.
Not only that, she was crowned the first ever Miss Africa Botswana and was set to represent Botswana at the continental Miss Africa pageant when an unfortunate clash of victories occurred. During her reign as Miss Africa BW she participated in another pageant and was crowned 1st Princess, which was apparently contrary to her agreement with the Miss Africa pageant organizers.
Lesbian women speak out
In 2021, the Court of Appeal ruled against criminalization of same-sex relationships in Botswana. The court‚Äôs decision to uphold this ruling was based on arguments that criminalizing homosexuality was unconstitutional.
The bench of five judges unanimously ruled that this was a violation of rights of LGBTIQ+ individuals to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. However, it has emerged that ending violence against homosexuals, in particular, lesbian women, is far from over.
Lesbian women in Botswana are still subjected to all forms of abuse, violence and discrimination. They are sexually molested, raped, emotionally abused, harassed and constantly reminded that they are still ‚Äúwomen‚ÄĚ even if they can act like men.
These women endure violence from those that are close to them, be it family, schoolmates, workmates and the general public even. This was revealed this week in Gaborone at the commemoration of an International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBT) 2023.
The commemoration was held under the theme ‚ÄúTogether always: united in diversity,‚ÄĚ and it was organized by Success Capital in collaboration with European Union, SADC and UNAIDS. IDAHOBT 2023 was organized to show solidarity and join forces in the journey towards a meaningful, equitable, healthy and gender-just-Botswana.
Agreeing to speak to this publication on anonymity, a 20-year-old lesbian woman from Thamaga said she is a member of the LGBTIQ+ community and still in closet (her sexual orientation is unknown), but has suffered violence nonetheless.
‚ÄúHomosexuals in Botswana are discriminated of their identity. We also face rejection daily in which we are excluded from interacting with other people. Their parents still think our identity is contagious and that it can be used to manipulate their children. This is something that I endured growing up.‚ÄĚ
When quizzed on how her parents will react should she go public about her gender identity, the source said as for the mother, she would react positively. She has since opened up to her sister about her sexual orientation.
‚ÄúMy mother is a nice person generally. She won‚Äôt react in a way that will disappoint me but she will have to accept how I am because, technically, there is nothing she can do about it.‚ÄĚ
Another lesbian woman, who identifies as Teddy, said she grew up in a setting full of male persons, something that led to her adopting male tendencies. She would dress like a boy, something that she felt comfortable doing.
‚ÄúMy mother has always known about this issue. My relatives gave me a hard time though. I realized that I am lesbian from a young age even though I didn‚Äôt understand why I was like that. I will jokingly dismiss a boy who would want to date me, referring to them as a brother.‚ÄĚ
Teddy underlined that the community she grew up in did not tolerate her sexual orientation. ‚ÄúThey will call me setabane and this is something that has lived in us. At church, I was forced to wear dresses or skirts, but I couldn‚Äôt.‚ÄĚ
A lesbian woman who preferred being anonymous said at some point being a lesbian affected her mental health, as she couldn‚Äôt handle the pressure that came with it. She has since opened up to her parents about her sexual identity.
Meanwhile, when quizzed to speak on LGBTIQ+ rights in Botswana, High Commissioner and UK Special Representative to SADC Sian Price said there is a lot to be hopeful and positive about, adding that Botswana has an advantage of an active society that has respect for human rights.
‚ÄúThere are active support groups and respect of the rule of law, which made it possible for the country to be where it is now. This should make it possible for Botswana to go further. So, I am optimistic but I also think that there is need for all to have a greater ambition because there is so much more that could be done to promote LGBTIQ+ rights on Botswana. We also need to work together and advance those ends.‚ÄĚ
In a statement, European Union (EU) says it is unacceptable that human rights continue to be violated and abused on the basis of perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity.
The EU has called on all 67 state jurisdictions worldwide that still criminalize homosexuality, 11 of which impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex relationships, to immediately end this ‚Äėdiscriminatory practice.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe are committed to working with all our partners to counter laws, policies and practices that discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity and tom eliminate all forms of violence.‚ÄĚ
Author explains two award winning books
Just two weeks ago, the inaugural Botswana Literature Awards put on the spotlight the country‚Äôs top authors, celebrating and recognizing the contribution and hard work these book worms put on paper. These are individuals dedicated to improve literature landscape in Botswana.
Amongst the winners was Cole Motlogelwa, a Motswapong tribesman from Ratholo, who has published two award winning books: The English Man is Gone and The Cabal, which were published in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
Motlogelwa is a product of his environment. The toils, curiosities, trials and tribulations, accomplishments and hopes of his people are his source of inspiration to write. He says he uses writing to interpret and attempt to express all of these experiences he consumes from his surroundings. Writing for him is a tool for change, a voice that cracks the hollowness and mystery of the night.
When speaking in an interview this week, Motlogelwa said his first literature award was the AfriCAN Author award in 2020, where he was honored for his first book.
‚ÄúThe second one was an award I got from the Inaugural Botswana Literature Awards 2022/23. The Cabal was judged to be the Best English Novel in Botswana at the said awards.‚ÄĚ
He stressed that a great writer is not so much an excellent command of the language of the book, but about whether one is willing to cut the piece of them and share it with the readers.
‚ÄúSimply put, characters are just fictitious and devoid of form, until we breath life into them by projecting our emotions into them. We give them emotions that we understand. We give them scare we have. We clothe them with smiles we know we have. We can‚Äôt give them what we don‚Äôt possess. So, a good writer I sone who is willing and able to effectively express themselves through their characters.‚ÄĚ
When shedding more light on his two award winning books, Motlogelwa said The Cabal (2021) is 221 pages futuristic political thrilling satire set in Botswana.
It follows a journey of Detective Moathodi on his quest to find the killer of the Permanent Secretary to the President of Botswana in the year 2029. His investigations were not warmly welcomed by the Gaborone North police department and the Apex Intelligence Unit.
His investigations together with the Vice President, Advocate Tholo, will lead to a dangerous web of deceit that exposes the unimaginable games, tricks and schemes in every political circle that continues to keep the innocent citizens in the dark about the monopoly that takes place behind closed doors at their expense.
‚ÄúIn this book, I went deep into the history of Botswana and I open the mind of the reader to the surrounding possibilities, as well as educate both readers with legal background and those who don‚Äôt with rich history that perhaps have many uncertain loopholes.‚ÄĚ
The book also shows the length at which politicians would go to achieve political ambitions and the network of holy and unholy players in the game.
In summary, The Cabal is a magnetic and captivating story of political ideologies, games, endless and ugly gap between the have‚Äôs and the have not‚Äôs kidnapping and passion for change.
The English Man is Gone (2019) is a radical expose on the after-effect of colonization of Botswana. The book describes the author‚Äôs post colonization ‚Äėutopia‚Äô and delves deep into ‚Äúour continued attachment to the western powerhouses. It screams change, and is solution-based wake-up call to the people of Botswana.
This is a book that was written for the youth and future of Botswana in mind by the author. Its six chapters provide in-depth opinion and understanding of the author on critical issues of colonialism, existing government practices from time immemorial couched in sophisticated language, the Constitution of Botswana, discriminatory practices amongst the people of Botswana, foreign policy and the economy of the country.
However, though he is a multi-award-winning author, he has a fair share of challenges. As authors in Botswana, Motlogelwa stressed that they lack accessible and sustainable literature development initiatives, saying ‚Äúand books are still subject to imposition of tax. This is quite concerning because we are trying to build a knowledge-based economy.
‚ÄúThere is no domestic literature market protection, and local authors are forced to compete against influx of foreign materials. Even in pursuit of market liberalization, sight should not be lost that we need protection because our literature market is infant. We need community libraries that can buy and deal with our books.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúOtherwise, publishing is an expensive process and many of us have financial challenges, so that goes without saying.‚ÄĚ
Local music earns a spot on Mzansi‚Äôs Channel O
In its quest to empower the local creative industry, MultiChoice Botswana is once again cooking something for local music producers and artists. For so many years now, creative minds in Botswana have been struggling to promote their talent as there are no platforms to help in that context.
Without doubt, Botswana has many talented entertainment industry players. They are artists, music producers, actors, storytellers and fashion industry players. With more emphasis on the music industry, there are no significant platforms to come to their rescue.
The available platforms are not enough to export talent. In worst scenarios, the platforms do not offer monetary incentives, so they become less beneficial to artists. On lucky days, artists are engaged and paid monies to at least keep them alive for a minute.
In discovering these dares, MultiChoice Botswana says it has come to artist‚Äôs rescue, providing a brand-new music video countdown show featuring homegrown Botswana music videos.
When shedding more light on the new offering, MultiChoice Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembile Legwaila said the call-for-submission, launched this week, will run for a duration of ten weeks, with qualifying videos being part of Channel O‚Äôs newest music show, aptly titled Bots Top 5.
‚ÄúWith this being a fresh new music video countdown show celebrating local artists and their works, we want to ensure that the music videos airing on the show are fully representative of the talent available in Botswana. We have made the submission process as simple and as transparent as possible with the hopes that this will also unearth the undiscovered musical gems we have in our country,‚ÄĚ she said.
With Channel O being available across all MultiChoice Africa markets, Legwaila said African exposure to local talent is a given with the new music video countdown show launching on 24th May 2023.
‚ÄúEach week, the locally produced music video entertainment show will see its host introducing viewers to five of Botswana‚Äôs hottest music videos. The show will also feature interviews with artists behind the videos, everyday Batswana sharing their thoughts on the local creative industry and many different small business and landmarks of Botswana to intrigue and entice viewers.‚ÄĚ
When expanding more on the show, Legwaila said Bots Top 5 is an incredibly exciting addition of content to the already booming content on DStv. MultiChoice Botswana Managing Director, Stephanie Pillay, said ‚ÄúMore specifically because it speaks to our local content strategy and our screens. We are looking forward to the rest of Africa knowing what we already know, and that is that Botswana‚Äôs local creative industry may be still growing but it is definitely full of endless potential.‚ÄĚ
When queried to share his option on this development, the country‚Äôs most celebrated artist, Han C, said this is a great opportunity that the creative industry has been waiting eagerly for. Han C says he has music already playing on Channel O.
‚ÄúMost of our artists in Botswana do not have platforms to showcase their talent. I must applaud MultiChoice Botswana for finally providing light at the end of the tunnel. My fellow colleagues now have where to deposit their talent. This means more exposure for Botswana music and I content.‚ÄĚ
For his part, award winning music producer, Fella, said this is a great development as it ensures ease of submission ‚Äúso that everyone has a fair chance to get their visuals played because a lot of local artists did not have much easier and simple way to submit videos on the platform.‚ÄĚ
He said this however, means upping standards and quality for ‚Äúour music visuals taking them more serious than ever before. Channel O is a big, inter regional platform that for sure ensures quality control and values quality content,‚ÄĚ Fella said in a quick interview.
Nonetheless, he expressed worry, questioning the length that the new project will take. ‚ÄúMy only issue is how many times we would see this happening. My wish is to see this happen every month if indeed it is intended for locals.‚ÄĚ