Her mystery is not just the large bodies of water with isolated islands rich in the beauty of flora and fauna in this tourism gateway – this internationally renowned travel capital, has a strong sense of history, some sort of hidden purpose and legacy which plays with one’s senses as they explore the mighty Chobe River.
From Cresta Mowana, the Cresta Marakanelo flagship, the richness of Chobe has no better panoramic views. Tales and legends are shared about the islands in the area. Sedudu in particular once a subject of fierce dispute between Botswana and Namibia arouses interest from residents and visitors alike.
Some say the reasons for territorial dispute of the some 30 plus years ago was because of the unknown mysteries the island carries. As residents and visitors sit by the fire at the Boma the tales of the area can stretch until morning.
“Why fight for a piece of island no men can live in?” whispers one senior citizen who referred to himself as Rra Mabala as he rolled his traditional tobacco on a piece of old newspaper. “In the olden days we believed that the Chobe is home of spirituality. Those that were lost would find their way by simply appreciating her beauty. When you come here no matter your life’s troubles, when you leave you will find your way. The white man comes every year because he knows this,” he notes.
I set my sights to Cresta Mowana this past November. Its unique architecture which blends African tradition in wooden pillars, stone and thatch is a welcome contrast to the four-star amenities that make the likes of Prince Harry and many other international guests feel at home in the middle of the bush.
The balconies provide a sensational feel of Mother Nature at its best with the lush of green giving a carpet of green rare in our arid region nationwide. Chobe gives you an escape. The Serondela Restaurant is located adjacent to the river and makes meals much a delight and a platform of meeting new friends and mazing conversations.
For me the beauty was swimming in the wild. You guessed it wrong I do not mean swimming in the Chobe the Clarence Spa Infinity pool is about 30 meters away from the mighty river. As I swam overlooking this masterpiece of nature I remembered just why touring at home has so much meaning.
I looked for the fortune Rre Mabala spoke of in the hope that I find my path like so many who had come before come before my time. I realized that probably finding your way was not magic in the sense of Harry Porter novels but rather a renewed sense of self and relaxation which makes one put things into perspective.
The crisp air of being nestled and enveloped in nature with all things green made me realize just why the hotel group invested over BWP3 million in revamping the executive and presidential suites. The mighty Chobe River has an endless charm.
Visit Namibia from 500 meters away as you cruise the river on a boat. Make sure you choose a responsible company for this who have vetted captains. I enjoyed swimming in the wild. This Easter I may just do a revisit.
In an effort to rejuvenate the creative sector post the COVID-19 contagion, government has introduced a new youth centric initiative dubbed the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) National Tour. This is a tour aimed at empowering the creative transport, hospitality and tourism sectors. It is however expected to be a legacy impacting project, outlining current times.
Government has leveraged on the 30th anniversary of RB2 as a vehicle to inject life back into the creative industry across the value chain. The project will result in fifty roadshows across the country, giving grassroots creatives an opportunity to shine on TV as all the activities will be documented and showcased on television once the project is completed. Clearly, these roadshows will stimulate the growth of the ailing sector.
Further, all the young artists who will be on stage will be compensated through the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU), just so they have something to take home. Approximately, 250 artists comprising of performers, comedians and poets will be engaged and directly benefit in the process.
Recently, government announced that there should be an enforcement of an 80% quota for local artists in all media platforms for local artists, especially on TV and radio. In partnership with Copyrights Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), government conducted workshops geared towards enabling Batswana to benefit from their creative products.
The value chain or spill over benefits will accrue to local businesses including more than 80 citizen owned accommodation outfits across Botswana.
DJ FRESH SPEARHEADS THE DBS NATIONAL TOUR
In order to effectively implement the national tour project, government through the Ministry for State President has engaged renowned radio personality, Thato Sikwane to spearhead the two and a half months project.
DJ Fresh, as he is famously know, is a Motswana media mogul based in South Africa, Johannesburg. He is the Founding Director of Big Dawg Productions. He is well known for his career at South African leading private radio stations, Metro FM, 5FM and YFM.
DJ Fresh is a colossal in the creative industry in South Africa, having started his career at RB2 nearly 30 years ago. He has jumped on board to share expertise with local creatives on how they can improve their talent as well as monetizing it.
DJ Fresh, who is returning to radio in April 2023, told the media that even though he hasn’t been on radio for quite a stretch, he is cashing in more than he was on radio before. These are some of the real experiences that he will be sharing with young creatives, to take up space, be change makers and global players.
CREATIVES URGED TO TAKE UP SPACE
When addressing creatives in Kanye this week, DJ Fresh encouraged them to make use of the opportunity, saying they should attend workshops and apply takeaways to their work. The former Metro FM presenter said hard work pays and that perseverance is critical in any creative’s journey.
“You will meet other talented artists and start thinking that you are not good enough. Work on yourself, believe and trust in what you do, empower yourself and aim for the stars. If so many otherd did it, you can also do it. Be unique in your style of art. Do not ever try to copy anyone: yes you can get inspiration from people, but your execution has to be peculiar to you and interesting to the world. The market and your clientele have to resonate with your offering.”
COLLABORATION WITH OTHER CREATIVES
When setting the record straight, DJ Fresh said he will go over and beyond in identifying and supporting the very best of Botswana’s untapped and unearthed talent in the creative industry.
“I am more than ready to get in studio and cook up a song with those who will demonstrate excellence and the right attitude to what they do. By the time the project comes to an end in December, we should be in a position to show those that we have worked with in these projects.”
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
In travelling across the country, DJ Fresh will impact positively lives of many people. He has incorporated an element of social program where he will be given back to the community. He donated twenty wheelchairs to a campaign run by Kitso Motshidisi’s foundation dubbed 60 for sixty. Motshidisi who is a professional cyclist will be handing over sixty wheelchairs to children in six districts. He recently turned 60 years of age.
“In our previous project, we donated about 40 wheelchairs. So for this project, I encourage people to buy wheelchairs and donated them over. It can also be a donation in monetary terms, so really, anything is appreciated,” Motshidisi said in an exclusive interview with DJ Fresh this week.
For the very first time in history in Botswana, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) community will be celebrated and appreciated for their active activism in promoting the movement.
This will be done through a new platform dubbed Butterfly Awards, schedule to take place in Gaborone on December 2nd 2022. Over the years, the gay movement evolved into a political and cultural force that’s fought for equality for all people through family-centered picnics, marches and prides.
Butterfly Rainbow Awards are said to be representing a new dawn, the beauty after the storm that was the decriminalization of same sex in Botswana.
In November 2021, members of the LGBTQ+ and allies left the Courtyard gratified at the decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold a ruling that decriminalized same sex relationships. The government had appealed a 2019 ruling that criminalizing homosexuality was unconstitutional.
The bench of five judges unanimously ruled that criminalizing same sex-relationships was a violation of the constitutional rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality.
When addressing members of the media this week in Gaborone, Butterfly Rainbow Awards Director Karabo Mokgware said the purpose of the awards is to liberate, honor and celebrate people of the diverse community that have made not just decriminalization a reality but continue to promote and defend the LGBTQ+ community.
“We anticipate that the awards will acknowledge the achievements of our brilliant members of the LGBTQ+ community who have made both the movement, the society and the country proud. The awards will also recognize the talents who have made an immense contribution to our movement and the society in general.”
Mokgware stressed that these members of the rainbow exhibit such qualities that will not only helm them in achieving their goals, but also bring glory of success to their movement. “We have gathered here not just to share our triumph and aim towards liberating our communities, but also to give due regard to our values and morals which have exemplified our discipline, compassion and zeal for freedom”
When emphasizing on the role awards play on members of the LGBTQ+, Mokgware indicated that they encourage good behavior and inculcate the spirit of inclusion and encouragement.
“This is why Butterfly Rainbow Awards saw it fit to partner with Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) as our mother organization that has not only impacted many of our communities, but has also encouraged many of our individuals to be themselves.”
The Butterfly Rainbow Awards will be divided into eleven categories, which include five honorary awards to members of the LGBTQ+ who are seasoned LGBTQ+ community members for their influence, impact, achievements and continued advocacy for the LGBTQ community in Botswana. Some of these recipients will be identified from sport, arts, business, media and community development.
“The awards are not about celebrating those who have done exceptionally well in their right, but also to honor those who excelled in strengthening the movement. We strive to recognize that extra effort of our communities and motivate them to shine in their respective fields,” Mokgware said.
Other categories lined up are: social media personality, community champion, hunk of the year, sport person of the year and social butterfly of the year. Mokgware told WeekendLife that the nominees will have to apply and submit a traceable record of their work, and finalists will be selected by the public, a panel of judges and those engaged to make final adjudication.
When keeping the media updated about selection criteria, he said they are going to be taking applications with outstanding work that has been done since 2019 to date. This is mainly because the two years of COVID-19, there was actually no chance to celebrate the work done by the LGBTQ+ members and allies due to restrictions put in place to curb the contagious contagion.
After taking a two-year hiatus due to the highly contagious COVID-19 contagion and health restrictions put in place, the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) is finally back.
Regarded as the ultimate trend-setter and launcher of careers, GIMC is an annual showcase of music, dance, poetry, comedy and interactive highlights enjoyed through performances and showcases. Taking place in Gaborone in one week, everyone in the world of music from fans to media flock here to discover the next big thing.
Organized by independently focused entertainment guru, Fish Pabalinga of Leapfrog, this series of events is a music genre melting pot of choral, jazz, punk and any other genre and sub-genre you want to celebrate. With a record fair food, art and beverages from local vendors, this truly is the biggest entertainment platform in Botswana.
Pabalinga told South African radio station, Power FM that GIMC was founded in 2014 as a platform to showcase talent that exist in Africa, and exporting it to the world. He said music enthusiasts from neighboring countries do attend the GIMC, indicating that there are also some from as far as Uganda and Nigeria.
Fashion lovers are also catered for, as the GIMC Champagne Picnic was designed exactly for style and popping champagne. This time around the Picnic welcomed spring in style, serenaded by DJ Reina, Lian, Soulman BW, Hapex Guru, Eugene Jackson, JAM N.I, N.S.I, Rudo Grey and DJ Teaz. The theme of the Champagne Picnic was “Clicquot in the sun.”
The Fitness and Aerobics part of the GIMC was held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC). The warm ups were done by Mpho, followed by a challenge coordinated by Anne. Giddie took over the Zumba exercise, while Chyna did the Kata Bo. Still at the fitness event, DJ Teaz took health fanatics to Cloud9 with some Afro Tech beats. This is an event supported by Bomaid.
Also held at the GICC was the GIMC Jazz. The young songstress Dato Seiko did not fail. She cemented it on our faces that she was born for this, following in the steps of her older brother, Mapetla of ‘Skhokho’ fame. Equally talented musician, Fifi Afrika also blew jazz lovers away with a live performance. Transition hit maker, Samantha Mogwe, proved to be a force to reckon with. What stood out about her was the gown which was designed by Kefseddy Design.
A series of events followed, including choral, comedy and theatre. But as it has been made a norm the highlight of the GIMC is the Festival. This is the very last item on the GIMC agenda that sees night crawlers up on their feet all night, dancing the night blues away.
Whatever your genre- Hip-hop, Amapiano, Kwasa-kwasa, Afro-pop or anything, GIMC festival always has something tailor-made for everyone. Hosted by the bubbly Poloko Mosarwa, or Phlyhoney if you’re fancy, the festival has cemented itself as the festival of choice for those looking to experience new trends.
Upon arrival at the venue, the national stadium, many of this event’s devotees were making their way into the stadium. Security Systems guards were busy at work, ensuring that tickets are valid. Not only that, the entire night everyone was safe under their watch. I must say these gents and ladies deserve some bells.
Anyway, I arrived at the time FME DJ’s were on stage, turning it up and everybody seemed contented. Ancestral Rituals followed after Shilly Mingz. These are the young gents who have brought a new style in the music scenes with drums and beats. Clearly, Ancestral Rituals are headed to the top as they are the most booked group in Botswana right now. And of course, they are giving Team Distant a run for their money.
“If she trippin, leave the b**** alone/Thats why you never catch a nigga sober/Hot boxing till this beef is over/I’m never scared got no pistol on me/Krapa, fasa baba lets/Start rolling up the jets/Krapa, fasa baba lets/Start rolling up the jets.”
If you are a number one fan of hip-hop, you will know that these are the lyrics of the famous rapper, Emtee. They are taken from his all-time hit, Roll Up. And indeed, Emtee rolled up the GIMC festival. He returned to Botswana after a long time. And in the same breath, Mafikizolo, Team Distant and DJ Ngwazi effortlessly delivered.
Vee Mampeezy, Charma Gal and Franco also returned to the GIMC festival and did their little magic the same way their followers expected. Even though people waited for a long time for her to turn it up, self-proclaimed Queen of Africa Makhadzi of Nisarengi fame, wrapped up the festival with her electrifying performance. Makhadzi was supposed to perform at 2AM but was held up at the border.
With that being the case still, Makhadzi made way to the stage around 7AM, wrapping up GIMC in style. Her loyal followers waited to witness the magic she displayed at the Miss South Africa finale not so long ago. With all said and done, it is safe to say GIMC is back.