Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 14 August 2019 - Botswana Guardian
Wednesday, 14 August 2019 13:04

Khama fears BDP will postpone general eletion

Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) founding Patron former President Dr Ian Khama has expressed worry that the ruling party might postpone this year’s general election.BPF is a breakaway party from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

This past weekend the BPF converged in Palapye to usher in a new leadership.  The elective congress which attracted multitudes of members and well wishers ended with a star rally where Khama said his suspicions are that the BDP under President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is not ready for this year’s general election.  He said the current BDP is different from the old one founded by his father and other democrats. He rubbished claims that Dr Masisi’s life is under threat.

There have been claims especially from Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) that the life of the president is under serious threat.  Director General Peter Magosi told the media recently that security dynamics in the country have changed. He said there are two centres of power in the country and third forces with interest in the country are being used to destabilise the country.

However, Dr Khama is not buying any of that. “They say me and former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi are staging a coup. They say we want to kill the president and all of this is not true.  “We have not crossed the border to plan anything. If it is true why are they not contacting their counterparts in South Africa and have those involved get arrested?

“We know they are saying all of this because they do not want elections,” said the former president who revealed that they have people within government who are their eyes and ears and leak such information to them.The BPF Patron said what will happen is that Dr Masisi will call a state of emergency so that there would not be elections this year.  He said claims pertaining to the killing of the president and the coup are just a political stunt to build a case to call for state of emergency and postpone the general election expected in two months’ time. 

According to Khama this is because the BDP has realised that it would not retain power this time around. He told the rally that opposition specifically Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), will assume power come October with the help of the BPF.  The BPF has said it would be supporting the UDC where it (BPF) would not be fielding candidates. The party has beginning this week opened up for members interested for contesting for political office to express their interest through the Secretary General’s office.

Published in News
Wednesday, 14 August 2019 13:00

Former BCL mine liquidator investigated

Former BCL mine liquidator, Nigel Dixon- Warren who raked millions before being relieved of his duties is not yet off the hook as government is currently considering actions to be followed against him. Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Eric Molale told Parliament that Dixon-Warren was advised by the Regulator against the flooding of the mine in one of the shaft extensions but he ignored the advice.

Molale said the No. 3 Shaft has not been flooded and water continues to be pumped out from the shaft as part of the broader Care and Maintenance activities. He said the former liquidator stopped dewatering the South East Extension Shaft in November, 2018.  The water has now reached the targeted 1000 metres level below ground and dewatering has commenced to keep the water level below the 1000 metres and also avoiding the water running into No. 3 Shaft.

Molale was answering a question from MP for Selibe Phikwe West, Dithapelo Koorapetse who asked the minister to update Parliament on the flooding of South East Extension and Number 3 shafts at BCL mine, in particular to explain why these shafts were flooded, including who authorised the flooding, if this was in line with the provisions of the Mine, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act and whether the Director of Mines was consulted.

“Flooding of the South East Extension was solely the decision of the recently outgone liquidator. The regulator was merely informed, the regulator advised against it. The regulator’s warning was ignored by the liquidator,” said Molale. Keorapetse had also wanted to know if the flooding is likely to contaminate (possibly heavy metals) the local (SPEDU region) acquifers and the consequences on farming and human life, if the flooding has anything to do with the earth vibrations in the town, and if there is anyone who is held responsible, including legally, for the flooding and its aftermaths.

Molale said he cannot ascertain at this point if the flooding will contaminate the acquifers. However, studies will have to be conducted in order to determine and verify the spatial extent, sphere of influence, as well as the long term effects of the flooding of the shafts.
This will form part of the closure and rehabilitation for the shafts and this study is still to be commissioned. He revealed that his ministry has launched investigations into the nature and cause of the earth tremors.  At this stage, it is suspected that the cause is from the fall of ground at the old mine workings. “We expect the studies to conclude this month (August, 2019),” he said.

He said the ongoing investigations into the cause of the earth tremors are expected to shed light into their short and long term effects, in addition to determining the nature and cause.Once the tremors are understood and the effects established, the due process of the law will be followed to determine liability and consequent remedies Member of Parliament for Jwaneng-Mabutsane made a supplementary question asking Molale what action will be taken against former liquidator Dixon-Warren. Molale answered that all options are being pursued as to what action can be followed.

Published in News
Wednesday, 14 August 2019 12:56

The politics of indigenous people

With national elections around the corner and political parties baying for each other’s blood, the scrutiny of party manifestos has taken centre stage. Party activists traverse the country with charming tongues, spurting buckets of promises; some plausible, most of them empty. The topic of the indigenous people has however become not only insoluble but acerbic to the tongues of these politicians, let alone, their manifestos. 

The same could be said about the name Basarwa, which has won not a single mention in the manifestos of at least the two main players, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and its nemesis, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).  Used by the local populace as a blanket name under which there are several ethnic groups commonly found in the margins of the Kgalagadi Desert, the Basarwa name is internationally alternated with the seemingly savvier Bushmen or San names.   

Social commentators observe that the Basarwa name, or its derivative, Bosarwa is not organic but a given name, which literally means, ‘those who don’t possess livestock- Basarua’.  There is no indication that it was ever meant to be flattery as it appears to imply anything to do with low life. The Bantu groups, whom the name came from, possessed and reared livestock, which to them, symbolised wealth; the more you have them, the richer and respected you were.

Borrowing from the book, ‘Land filled with flies: A Political Economy of the Kalahari,’ a prolific Social Commentator, Keineetse Keineetse, shared the quote, “Bosarwa is not an ethnicity but an economic status,” in his Facebook status. His observation, as it is subsequently unmasked, suggests that, whatever the origin of the name, its usage is synonymous with poverty.

Despite promising to fight poverty, the politicians have not yet accepted that some poverty clings on historical mishaps that can be corrected with specific and direct interventions. The manifestos are however silent on the issue. “They do not talk about the indigenous people,” laments Keikabile Mogodu, an activist at Khwedom Council, one of the NGOs that advocates for the rights of the indigenous people in Botswana. His is an expression from a jilted lover. They, as one of the many groups that have been lumped under the banner Basarwa, have shed off a lot, including their souls, let alone their land. Presenting to a discussion at an international conference way back in 2011, a San activist, the youthful Job Morris had this to say, “Finding appropriate ways to facilitate development is a challenge for many communities, but it is a particular challenge for indigenous peoples.

“These people have often been marginalised and excluded in many ways. Botswana is often seen as Africa’s success case, but the San people have not enjoyed the benefits of this success, in part due to political exclusion.”Quoted in www.sanyouthnetwork.wordpress.com, under the topic, Political participation: autonomy without marginalization, Morris goes further to call for political participation of the indigenous people which will allow them to contribute to emerging global issues such as food security and climate change.

“Increasing the political representation of indigenous communities is one way of helping to get their voices heard in debates about these issues. It also provides a way for indigenous people to contribute to the benefits of society as a whole.” He said then.

No recognition
The state of the indigenous people in Botswana manifestly animates Keineetse. “Basarwa groups were hunted off their lands. Firstly, by us the black people and then by waves of white people, including the Brits,” he asserts.Keineetse believes ‘Basarwa’ have been short changed. Chased from their ancestral dwellings, the tribe, in their different forms and dialects, have been undressed, not only of their indigeneity, but wealth too. He doesn’t see Botswana reversing its position on indigeneity. “We can’t because we stole their land.” He quips in, tongue in cheek. “We would otherwise be opening ourselves to a possibility that some day they fight us for their land. Orapa ke sekai (Orapa is one example), Zoa ke sekai; all places that used to have diamonds.”  Although the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s 2019 manifesto is tight lipped on the issue, it is consistent with the government position that the concept of indigeneity itself is not recognised in Botswana.

Botswana government has repeatedly pronounced its stance that all Batswana are indigenous or on the flip side, that none is indigenous. Recent remarks were made by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and now Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane at the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2017. Botswana has not signed the legal instrument, ILO 169 that details the rights of the indigenous people. This is contrary to the fact that the country is part of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People.

The Executive Director of Identity Development Junction, Lebogang Mabotho traces this position from independence when the country was wary of divisions.  “Botswana’s failure to acknowledge, recognise, include, accommodate, provide for and protect the rights of indigenous populations, stems from the government views of the idea of Indigenous Peoples as ‘separatist.’” Mabotho lends credit to the fear that the government stance is a fertile ground for unmonitored suppression and oppression of the ‘indigenous people.’ To follow Mabotho’s line of reasoning, denying them recognition, under the pretext of national unity has, in fact, the effect of a smoke screen.

It conceals negligence of the specific needs of the indigenous people or in the extreme, the atrocities they may be subjected to.  “While Botswana’s stance to view all Batswana as indigenous may on the surface wear the face of equality and inclusion, it, in reality, enables continued violations that threaten to systematically erode the democracy, social, economic, cultural and labour rights of Indigenous populations.

“Indigenous people, having pre-inhabited other occupants of the region or state, and also being culturally distinct, yet remaining non-dominant in society, having little political or economic power, and lagging behind the majority population on many major indicators, such as health or educational outcomes, often get the short end of the stick in as far as national developments is concerned,” argues Mabotho.

In fact, Morris, in his San youth network blog, emphasises that, “this denial of recognition is a significant barrier to political participation.” The BDP manifesto, whilst themed around economic inclusivity, does not disaggregate the rural demography according to economic classes nor recognise the uniqueness of the indigenous people.  For instance, blanket policies such as banning hunting of wildlife do not factor in survival dynamics of different people. Nothing in the manifesto gives a sign that the country has, among its citizens, people of an internationally acclaimed indigenous status.

Unlike the rest of the nation, these people, by creation, are not stationary but nomadic and hunting is entrenched in their ecosystem. Mabotho explains: “As a result of Botswana’s non-recognition of indigenous populations, even national frameworks such as the National Development Plan (NDP 11), have no provisions for and lack an intentional focus on the unique aspects of indigenous populations, such as their distinct patterns of land and resource use.”
However, in their report to the 29th Session of the United Nations Periodic Review in January 2018, Cultural Survival, an international advocacy group, also on the case of indigenous people, acknowledges that despite its hard stance, Botswana has been responding positively to previous recommendations to mitigate the situation.

Policy interventions such as creation of Remote Areas Development Programmes and Community Based Resource Management projects are an acknowledgement by government that these communities are or were previously disadvantaged.

The alternative
The leading opposition coalition, and self-professed government in waiting, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) raises pertinent issues in their manifesto, but they too, skate around the matter.  Nowhere does the manifesto become explicit and specific to the ‘Basarwa’ and their cause. This perhaps, does not differentiate them from the incumbent on this particular issue, since to magnify the indigenous people’s inflictions, one needs to identify not only the origin but the location of the tumour; to do ‘target bombing’ as their leader, Duma Boko often says.

Unlike the ruling party, UDC does not have the burden of history. It can cause the review of the constitution and feel good about it. It has the luxury to explicitly recognise the indigenous status of Basarwa when it finally causes the review of the constitution.
Although, seemingly without guts to mention indigenous people by name, it aptly observes, “Sadly, Botswana’s democracy is flawed. It fails to protect the weakest members of society and the marginalised and vulnerable groups.”

The minority party in parliament, Alliance for Progressives (AP) is also silent in its manifesto. The party missed an opportunity in their section of Diversity and equal opportunities, which only recognises women, youth, sport and disability as some of the potential beneficiaries of empowerment and does not mention indigenous people.

Perhaps, ‘Basarwa’ are victims of their declining numbers. They are estimated to be only 3 percent of the national population although spread across the country. This, has not only spoiled their bargaining power but has laso been used by the government to justify relocating them to populated areas for resources.  The last time Government tried this it got burned. With Basarwa refusing to move, government applied aggressive measurers such as closing down portable water sources. Government lost dismally when this matter was brought before the High Court. 

It was however, not the end of the matter, as government refused to throw in the towel and resorted to dirty tricks by restricting the Basarwa’s internationally based lawyers, access into the country.  Their leading lawyer Barrister Gordon Bennet SC is now expected to apply for a VISA into the country, despite coming from a jurisdiction that would normally be exempted, the United Kingdom.
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Published in News

Presidential Affairs minister Nonofo Molefhi has said that corruption and maladministration should be fought and shunned. Addressing Southern Africa ombudsman in Gaborone this week Molefhi said the list of miseries corruption and maladministration bring to people are inexhaustible.

“The two are cancerous tumours on the economy and governance of any nation,” said Molefhi at the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) for Southern Africa member states conference. He said the two plagues undermine the health, wealth and future of any country. “Their effects are poor service delivery, poor health services, poor education, poor quality infrastructure and an increase in poverty levels,” said Molefhe, adding that corruption and maladministration must be fought tirelessly.  He bemoaned that Africa, a continent that abounds with natural resources, more than any other, finds itself in a developmental predicament emanating from corruption, maladministration and impropriety.

“It is now on record, that underlying the litany of Africa’s development problems is a crisis of governance that manifests itself in corruption and maladministration.” He said the two are inseparable bedfellows in that maladministration is the breeding ground for corruption, while corruption is a form of gross maladministration. Molefhi challenged the region’s ombudsman to remain steadfast in discharging their duties amid challenges they may face in fighting corruption and maladministration.
“You are the last bastion of hope for the voiceless and downtrodden whose rights have been trampled on by the ever so powerful government machinery. You bridge the gap between the governed and those who govern by holding public administration to account for its decisions and actions,” said Molefhi.

The AOMA regional meeting composed of Angola, Botswana, Lesetho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe was held under the theme: ‘Re-energising the Ombudsman Institution in Southern Africa.’ AOMA is the umbrella organisation for ombudsman and mediators with a membership of 46 institutions across six regions – North Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.South Africa’s public protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who is also President of AOMA, said the ombudsman grapple with issues of independence and autonomy, security of tenure for heads of such institutions, insufficient resources, poor accessibility and impartiality.

She said theirs is not an easy task and will continue to be punctuated by challenges. “We will face untold difficulties including resistance, lack of political will and resource-constraints among other things, leading to this drop of energy levels. However we should not despair,” said Mkhwebane who is facing a barrel of accusations and is being threatened with removal from office as a public protector.

Sharing her sentiments, Florence Kajuju, AOMA secretary general said: “We in Africa and at a regional level face a unique set of challenges for which we must continually reposition and engage stakeholders, including regional bodies in order to add value to Africa’s governance and renaissance.”

The 10th edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, by Transparency International reveals that while most people in Africa feel corruption increased in their countries, a majority also feel optimistic that they, as citizens, can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

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Elephant hunting will be implemented in citizen hunting areas, community areas and concessions based on a quota system. Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism this week told parliament that following the lifting of the hunting ban, his ministry has developed Hunting Guidelines on how hunting will be implemented in the country.

Mokaila was responding to a question from Member of Parliament for Nkange, Edwin Batshu who asked him  to update the House on the lifting of the hunting ban and its positive effects in the Nkange Constituency, and to state, how hunting will be managed throughout the country in general terms, how hunting is going to be done in the Nkange Constituency and how such hunting is going to relieve the people in the constituency of the hardships they have suffered over the past three years when elephants drove and continue to drive them away from their ploughing fields, farms and cattle posts; and whether a decision by Government to drive these elephants to Wildlife Management Areas using helicopters has been abandoned; and if so, why?

Mokaila said it is anticipated that the issuance of hunting quotas for elephants will reduce conflict by driving elephants away from conflict hotspot areas. Other measures agreed by government to help reduce conflict include rehabilitation and erection of elephant proof fences in hotspot areas. He said his ministry continues to implement other measures such as the drilling of additional water points for wildlife in protected areas and wildlife management areas to reduce movement of elephants into settlements.

To this end, funding has been made available to equip additional water points during the current financial year to alleviate the impact of drought. He said the use of helicopters to drive elephants from settlements will continue. However, it has to be done in a responsible and prudent manner as this method has the potential of stampeding elephants which then creates a bigger danger for the public in the surrounding areas.

In a supplementary question Batshu wanted to know how this quota system would assist farmers as they start to plough around November especially that the elephants have reproduced  and are camping in  that area . He asked if government would avail the helicopters to chase away the elephants as promised during Kgotla meetings Mokaila assured him that hunting will commence immediately especially in the Tutume area because it is one of the hotspot areas. “What is good about that area is that the elephants are not resident, they visit. So we will give a quota whether it is over the counter licence or whatever so that the effect is immediate”.

He said that by virtue of buying helicopters and having them there, “I guess it is in readiness for, that is why I said it is a hotspot, and we will issue quotas immediately to deal with those”.

Published in News

Botswana and South Africa are still to meet the agreements signed between former Presidents Lieutenant General Ian Khama and Jacob Zuma to have all roads leading to their respective border posts on each side tarred.

Records show that the border between the two countries is 1, 223 miles in length, making it Botswana’s longest international border. More than 90 percent of the border line follows rivers such as Limpopo, Nossob, Molopo and Marico. The two countries share 15 official border posts a matter which makes travel between the two countries relatively easy. Khama and Zuma made the commitment that all the roads leading to border posts in their respective countries must be tarred during the two countries’ Bi- National Commission on Defence and Security in November 2017 held in Gaborone.

The two countries also agreed to build bridges on Border Rivers with South Africa taking responsibility to construct the bridge over Notwane River near Ramotswa border while Botswana was to build the bridge over Limpopo River at Platjan border post. South Africa has completed the Ramotswa bridge assignment.

The Platjan Bridge is currently under construction after a delay due to contractual agreements.  The construction will also include the tarring of the 20 kilometre road between Platjan which is financed under the SPEDU region as it is expected to boost tourism in the eastern region as well as cut the distance for those travelling up north from South Africa. Both countries are to determine for themselves depending on the budget on which roads are supposed to be done first. Currently most roads from South Africa are not yet tarred.

Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Moagi Molebatsi who is eager to score big on his constituents asked the Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcas Makgato on whether her Ministry has engaged their South Africa counterparts regarding the tarring of the Sikwane−Rustenburg road.

Makgat’s short response was, “The answer is “no,” to the question asked by Honourable Molebatsi”. She said her ministry has not engaged their counterparts in South Africa regarding the tarring of the Sikwane-Rustenburg road. However, she acknowledged that on the Botswana side though, “we have a tarred road all the way to the Sikwane border”.

This particular road is gravel from the Derdeport border post on the South African side to Obakeng village which is about 30 kilometres.   So far, the South African government has completed tarring the road from Obakeng to Rustenburg. The roads that are still to be tarred on each side are mainly in the eastern block and leading to the respective border posts of Platjaan, Paarshal, Zanzibar and Pontdrift.

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It might take a while before intra-Africa trade and regional integration become enablers for sustainable development on the continent, panelists at the Global Expo Botswana 2019 concurred.

Former cabinet minister and estate mogul David Magang said the reason for creating regional economic blocs in southern, eastern, western and north Africa in the first place was to promote integration first within the regions themselves. He acknowledged however, that there has been very little integration with other regions as a result of major problems.  For example, channels of communications are still closed, access to the northern or central African countries appear to be a hindrance to intra-African trade he said. Economic imbalances between countries are also a major challenge, according to Magang. Consequently, because of the imbalance in economic development, countries tend to be more protective of what they have, and their people in terms of opportunities like employment.
According to Magang, this has prevented individual countries from seeing beyond borders as to what they can do and achieve collaboratively as a continent. 

“It is so amazing that most of Africa still trades with European countries or America when in fact there is room to trade within Africa, which is a major emerging continent,” Magang said in a panel discussion at the Global Expo Botswana 2019 that sought to bring to the fore challenges that hinder economic success to individual African countries as well as the continent as a whole. Another challenge is the development of relevant skills that could support economic growth. As a result, the intra-continental trade is hampered because no one knows what is happening in the next country in terms of booming markets and skills needed to support those markets.

“We are still attached to our colonial masters and consequently the trade is between us and our masters,” said Magang emphasising the need to open up channels of communication. “For example, Botswana is so close to Angola, but it is not easy to get to Angola even from the Okavango, which is actually geographically next to Angola. You will have to go through Namibia or Zambia. These are hurdles to break down for easy interaction and integration.” Another threat to intra-Africa trade and regional integration, according to Magang is that many countries are not willing to open up their borders or markets only to be swamped by other members from the region. 

“For example, during the difficult economic conditions of neighbouring Zimbabwe, many Zimbabweans that were trained at both higher and lower levels flooded into several southern African countries.  Many were so quick to protect their countries and their people,” Magang said.  In addition to the challenges that the continent faces, former President Festus Mogae believes that African countries need to introspect and examine imports and exports into and from individual countries and find out why they cannot be restricted within the continent. This he says would heighten intra-trade within Africa, rather than having some African countries still trading heavily with European countries.

“The AU has to consistently monitor these at a higher level and sponsor research and development that should inform trade decisions that are taken by individual countries,” Mogae said, adding that individual countries should also take keen interest in exploring opportunities of trade with other African countries. President Mokgweetsi Masisi said when opening the Global Expo on Monday that in an endeavour to integrate into the global economy, Botswana continues to reposition herself in her trade linkages with the largest emerging markets in Africa including; Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa.  Botswana has signed the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Tripartite Agreement as well as the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which is expected to go a long way in changing the landscape of business in Africa. 

“In order to realise the benefits from these agreements and achieve accelerated growth, Botswana’s industrial Development agenda presents an opportunity for integration into regional and global value chains within these emerging markets,” Masisi said  The big question remains, however, what role can the newly-ratified AfCFTA play to address the opportunities and challenges of generating inclusive growth, particularly for Botswana and other developing countries in Africa? This agreement covers a market of close to 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55-member states of the African Union. Masisi said at the Global Expo Botswana 2019 that was held under the theme, ‘Harnessing the Power of Emerging Markets for Economic Growth,’ that Botswana needs to adapt to the global reorientation of power, culture, and ways of doing business and leverage on the opportunities available in emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

“Botswana businesses should engage with large firms within these emerging markets to tap into their domestic supply chain, explore opportunities for future trade agreements, as well as to understand these markets.”Former president, Festus Mogae on the other hand is worried that often times countries sign protocols and agreements that end up not serving their own interests.  He believes that having signed protocols and agreements, individual countries need to continue to study the feasibility and constraints to what countries have agreed to rather than just sign when aware of constraints of implementation and doing nothing about them.

“It seems to me that we generate ideas and ideals that we don’t follow up on, we make decisions that we don’t follow up on, but we need to identify constraints and explain to each other why certain things are difficult to implement,” Mogae said. Mogae said that individual countries do not make an effort either before or after signing protocols and agreements to explain to their populations the significance of these instruments. “Failure to do so results in our inability to implement,” he said, adding, “we need to do more to engage with our populations and explain to them the need for increased integration in the region; economically, socially and politically. In addition try and answer the questions or objections they might raise.”

Magang added that the reality is that although engagements might be carried out with populations, it might not be to a satisfactory level. His view is that having signed international agreements, countries need to domesticate them for easy implementation.
“The assumption is that ministers responsible would take it before parliament and parliamentarians would ultimately take it to the people,” Magang said.

Published in News
Wednesday, 14 August 2019 12:15

Dichi relishes his Muvhango role

Known as Seretse for his character in the South African Soapie, Muvhango, Maxwell Dichi happens to be one of the celebrated people that Botswana has. The calm and composed gentleman tells BG Style that his love for acting dates back to college days, and therefore he is not quite new in the acting industry.

He describes acting as an art that needs devotion and dedication to suite the given role of a character. The actor in him meets this trait because the gentleman hails from Ramotswa, but being an international actor, he has been able to take the Seretse role and own it. In Botswana, people across the Southern part of the country, speak different accent from those in the Northern side. Dichi therefore looked into this aspect and made sure that he blends well with the name given to his character, while teaching other people something out of it about the reality of his country, Botswana. 

“Since the name Seretse originates from the Central part of the country where people don’t include the ‘letter ‘L’ in their Setswana, I also had to switch my originality and use my acting muscle to share this, just to appreciate my country’s origins,” said Dichi. Therefore, the accent that he uses at Muvhango seems to impress most of the people as it has been the talk of the moment both in South Africa and Botswana, as most of his fans here always take an interest in his home village. 

He shares that his stay at Muvhango has been lovely because they get some love from the fans all the time, “I am very close with Sharon Seno, who plays Marang at the show and having compatriots in the same work place in a foreign country makes those home missing tantrums better,” Dichi says.

He describes himself as a shy person in reality, who doesn’t like fame, and explains that while he is a single man at Muvhango, in real life he is a father and a husband. He shares that he likes his character in the play because it carries some of the attributes that portrays him as Dichi. “I am one person who knows what I want, I am a gentleman and also sensitive. This is me, both on tv and in person,” he says, explaining that he is not a lawyer in real life but confident that he did justice to the role of playing a lawyer and being stuck in between two women.

The graduate of Degree in Multimedia, says that he is by far proud of his acting story and being nominated from about 2000 people who went for the Muvhango auditions last year, really humbled him. In 2006, he acted as an extra for yet another soapie in South Africa, Generations, in addition to a few TV commercials when he was still at college. “I am convinced that I have always had the love for appearances while at college because this is where I started featuring in quiet a number of tv commercials and later on started being an extra for some shows,” he explains.

He however says during his studies in South Africa he would come to Botswana and had to stop acting for a while until he started again in 2016, when a friend approached him to do an advert for Orange. He has also appeared on the local drama dubbed ‘Colors’ for one episode, auditioned for Sun International Season two and done magazine shoots for a variety of magazines and has been on DSTV adverts, Room 50two adverts and In -Business magazine to mention a few.

He has been around Botswana for a three months stay and will go back to South Africa next month. Dichi says that he has been overwhelmed by the love that local people shower him with ever since he got home. He believes that there is so much talent in Botswana and the local people support each other and only need places to show their talents, especially l in the world of arts. He is therefore currently working on the launch of his talk show, dubbed ’The Maxwell Dichi Talkshow, which will be launched soon in September. He says his love for arts and the growth that he sees in the local people has pushed him to create a platform for people to share their stories to inspire others, through the talk show. Dichi is of the view that talent must be nurtured and anyone who does well should be supported to ensure that the country is elevated.

Published in Style

Plans are at an advanced stage to host Showbiz Entertainment Africa Botswana (SEAfricaBW) conference – an event dedicated to the development and growth of the industry. Aptly tagged SEAfricaBW, the inaugural event will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2019 at the New Capitol Cinemas at Masa in Gaborone’s Central Business District (CBD).

According to the organisers, Sixpence Media spearheaded by Tshepo Ntshole, SEAfricaBW will have among others, exhibitions and networking sessions as it primes to become the ultimate business meeting place for talent, managers, entrepreneurs, business and other role players in the entertainment industry to stay ahead of the dynamic and ever changing industry.

A visit to SEAfricaBW will expose one to show business proven approaches, trends, market disruptions, and other strategic challenges. “We have an exciting line-up which we are still building but we can confirm that COSBOTS, SAMRO, industry leaders such as Tonderai Tsara of The Dialogue Group, Gao Lemmenyane, Andrew Kola, Game “Zeus” Bantsi, Charles Stuart from Price Water House Coopers(SA), Valentine Gaudin – Head of Trace Africa, Owen Rampha – Broadcast Consultant, Kenilwe “iDLE” Mohutsiwa- App Developer, George Beke- MD for GEOBEK Entertainment, Mercy Thebe- PR Specialist, Kelly Ramputswa- head of Yarona FM and The Botswana Film Festival will be amongst the speakers and panellists presenting over the two (2) day period,” said Ntshole.

Having seen the idea in South Africa, Ntshole brought the initiative home as she felt it was an ideal platform where those in the entertainment industry could use to grow their crafts into profitable entities as well as encourage collaboration.SEAfrica was launched in 2014 in South Africa and was introduced as part of the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival. The event takes place annually during the month of September and has grown from attracting less than 200 conference goers to over 500 in 2018. The project was born out of a need to contribute towards the development of the various industries by bridging the gap between creative expression and business practice.

The upcoming conference is expected to bring together creative artists and stakeholders under one roof where they will deliberate on numerous issues affecting their crafts as well as find solutions to becoming commercial.“The conference aims to connect and make sense of the linkages between the various disciplines under the entertainment industry and how best to use the resources around us to create feasible businesses that add value. The event is an information sharing and networking platform that focuses on the inter-relations of the various disciplines, eco systems available to us and how best to harness them for the growth of our individual creative works.

It looks at how best to run your craft as a business and who to work with to better achieve this goal,” added Ntshole. Furthermore, Ntshole added, “In the next 12 months, we will be running individual and targeted sessions with specific disciplines to further continue conversations around sustainability.  We are continuing to engage partners but those that have jumped on board to make this event possible include, Masa Square Hotel, Yarona FM, TRACE AFRICA and WindRush Communications.”

“We are currently engaging MYSC for assistance and based on their eagerness through their various engagements with members of the entertainment industry- to further the arts and entertainment industry at large, the belief is that the response will be positive,” said Ntshole.SEAfrica comes to Botswana after a successful spell in South Africa courtesy of its founder Peter Sibeko. Started 5 years ago, SEAfrica has attracted over 1000 stakeholders to date including renowned speakers such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Donavan Goliath, David Kau and Marang Setshwaelo among many. 

When giving insights to his breakthrough during the launch of SEAfricaBW launch, Sibeko who has over 20 years in the arts industry said the concept came as a result of misplaced ways of monetizing by artists through their different crafts. Tickets are now available at all Webtickets outlets for P150 (1 day pass) and P250 (2 Day Pass)  www.seafricabw.com

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The annual Okavango Music Festival returns for a second edition this August. The event slated to take place on August 29th and ending on September 1 is one of the coolest and most creative concepts in the Northern part of Botswana.

Held at Tsutsubega, thirty kilometres from Maun, Organisers want to give revellers the best time of their lives, as evidenced by a mixed bag of events that they have lined up for those who want to celebrate spring and party the days and nights away. Ranging from music, yoga, massages, and everything that one can think about, this is one event that fun lovers do not want to miss. Highlights of the three-day camping music festival will see some of the biggest BW artists taking to the stage, and they include the likes of Sereetsi & The Natives, Mpho Sebina, Shanti Lo, as well as artists from neighbouring countries.

When it comes to live performance, Shanti Lo is one of the greatest artists locally who can bring any roof down. And the Tsutsubega revellers better come prepared for one of the best performances of their lives.  Also joining the trio on line-up are artists such as Watershed, Bongesiwe Mabandla, Masa Caroleen, So Kindly, The Mackayz, Coddy & 100% Africa Dance, Evicted, Josh Kempen, Flying Bantu, Djembe Monks. On the decks are DJ’s that include Bruno Morphet, Dee Jays Chopa, Dantempo, Richard Marshall, Tommy Gun, DJ Antic, and others. Tickets are on sale at the festival website.

Yoga camp
Meanwhile, for those who might wish to unwind and enjoy a different type of entertainment, they can look forward to the Kwatali Yoga themed camp, where they can experience yoga while learning how to connect through breath, movement and music, and nature. The camp according to organisers, will host an array of Yoga sessions including sunrise of Hangover Hatha, Kids Yoga, Animal Yoga, Breath work and meditation. Even more fun, says the organisers is that all yoga sessions will be conducted in zebra onesies, glitter face paint, and out of this world accessories.

Sponsors of the event include Ngami.Net, Benju Wine and Liquor Distributors, Mack Air, Water Africa, Swamp Stop, FNB, Pride of Africa, Afriscreen, and ADPRO.  Speaking in an interview, one of the volunteers, Mother K Masire explains that this is fun suitable for all age groups. She also says that the organisers wanted to show that indeed in Botswana there are spaces where revellers can have clean fun without any worries. “We have spaces where adults and children can party without a glitch,” she says.

Even more beautiful, she says, is that the community of Tsutsubega gets something from the event. A total of 150 members of the community are employed in the festival. “Last year, P50 000 was injected into the community as a result of the festival activities and employment,” she explains.  Speaking in an interviews, he explains that this will be one of those performances that guests will remember for a very long time. Shanti Lo recently performed at the Jazz X change event, where he left no stones unturned.

With a new album under his belt, his fans can look forward to an eclectic set that will leave them wanting more. “Maun is a cosmopolitan place, and you have people coming from all over,” she says in an interviews. She also says that he will be catering to everyone in the audience. “Preparations are underway,” she says.

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