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Life on a salad brings home the bacon


Permutations are that when Ompelege Moreosele penned her book, Life on Salad, she wouldn’t have fathomed that it would be her bread and butter at some point. Writing and culinary work are like Siamese twins – they both evoke creativity. Moreosele’s creative pen inspired by salads has landed her in Paris, France!

The Gaborone Technical College alumni is among the cream of the crop recognised by experts in the culinary and writing space, the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are what the Oscars are to the film industry. The crème de la crème of awards. The Gourmand Awards, founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau, honours food and wine books, printed, digital as well as food television every year.

Cointreau was born into a family that owned vineyards since 1270, and to add to it Cointreau is a descendant of famous French writers, so it really comes as no surprise that Cointreau founded the Gourmand awards.

The Frenchman’s accolades include; being the President of Paris Cookbook Fair, President of the World Association of Food TV Producers, President of honour of China Food Television, Vice-Chairman of the Beijing Olympic Park International Cuisine Competition, and President of Gourmand Magazine. He is also the honorary president of China Food TV.

For Moreosele, the author of Life on a Salad to be nominated under not one, but an avalanche of eight categories in the much acclaimed awards is a sign she has hit a home run with her smart cookie literary work.

Moreosele has been nominated under seven categories for the Autumn Harvest for the next Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2021. The categories are; Women chef books category, Special Books category, Innovative category, First cook book category, Local & regions category, Women category and Africa category.

Chef Cathy, as she is known in the food industry, recently completed her Diploma in Culinary Arts at Gaborone Technical College. A recipe and menu developer, who specializes mostly in cold kitchen section. Cathy has always had a knack for food and trying out new recipes, playing around with different foods, a passion influenced by her grandmother who was an extraordinary cook herself.

It may have been the first book the young chef penned but it certainly isn’t the first writing she has done. She is also columnist for “Sun Kitchen with Chef Cathy” in the Midweek Sun. Speaking to WeekendLife about her nominations the young, amateur chef was cool as a cucumber albeit excited.

“It feels awesome to be nominated! I have never been nominated for anything before so this is super-duper exciting for me. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside such an incredible selection of cook book authors from an international level! I’m also looking forward to be meeting lots of other like-minded people. Being a chef is a big thing in an industry with lots of interesting characters. This will be a great opportunity for me to fulfil my interests,” said the ebullient Moreosele.

“Winning one of the awards that I am nominated for would mean so much to me. It would show that the hard work I have put in for the past three and a half years has been worth it. Sometimes you feel like you’re just writing a post and putting it out into the world, with no knowledge of whether anyone will actually read it.

It always astounds me when people do, and my content resonates with them. It makes it all worthwhile.’’ The youngster will be leaving for Paris in winter to exhibit her book in front food critiques and award winning chefs with nearly 200 other country nominees and representatives.

About Life on a Salad

The resilient author started penning down her book two years ago noticing just how healthy salads are and how little thought they receive in food preparations. Moreosele decided to explore the almost unmarked salad terrain while trying to incorporate a cultural food aspect to salads.

“I was inspired to write this book in order to revolutionise eating and hyping salads in a country renowned for voluminous and scrumptious meat consumption. I wanted Batswana to stop portraying salads as less-than feminine and exotic and for it to be a thing of the past after they have engaged with my book. Because with the recipes in the book they will realise that salads are healthy, convenient, cheap, cool and are special in different ways; they are crunchy, fun to eat because they come in lots of textures and flavours,” she said.

The book introduces some unique ingredients for salads that can be enjoyed by people across various eating preferences and habits. These are not far from the everyday food that a typical Motswana eats yet. ‘‘The book is a glimpse into unique salad recipes that feature local foods in the salad mix. There are mosutlhane, letlhodi, samp and black eye salads that Batswana are not even aware of.

I was celebrating my native heritage with these recipes because I love telling the story of where I come from through food,” Moreosele elaborated. Moreosele’s mantra is simple; “food is life, therefore has to be fully enjoyed’’.

With such a simple mantra and passion for food it is no wonder that her book sales are doing exceptional well internationally, selling like hot cakes in sales from South Africa, Ghana and even America. Every dog has its day; and it appears the sky is the limit for the young lady and we wish her all the best as she flies the Botswana flag high at the awards ceremony.

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Death or Divorce – a tough choice for many

24th May 2022

Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.

“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.

Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.

For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”

Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai

I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.

“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”

Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.

“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.

Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.

“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.

Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?

“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.

I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.

A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.

How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?

“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.

“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.

“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”

*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.

Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights.
Twitter: speakclairely

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7 Days to go before As One Music Concert

24th May 2022

Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.

Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.

She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”

She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.

“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.

She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.

Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.

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Phakalane soars to new heights

24th May 2022

Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.

When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.

Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.

Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.

“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.

So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”

Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.

The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.

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