The 2018 instalment of the Traditional Song and dance competition under the annual President’s Day Celebration took place this past Sunday. The event, one of the most popular categories in the annual extravaganza once again lived up to expectations and delivered a spectacular line-up of some of the most dazzling showstoppers. Groups from all corners of the country came prepared and ready for a battle.
For those who have been following the competition over the years, they would know that a win is not easily handed on a silver platter, and all groups that make it to the final lap are worthy of the title of the overall winner. Traditional song and dance consist of ten categories - Diware, Seperu (Chobe) and (North West), Hosana, Sebirwa, Tsutsube, Setapa, Phathisi, Dikhwaere, as well as Polka. Each category consists of four groups and in total there are 40 finalist groups. Ask returning groups such as Nxanxase, and they will relate a story about how they have fought tooth and nail to reclaim victory at the competition. The last time that the New Xanagas-based group showed their faces at the finals they were not so lucky.
But this Sunday, their gods were on their side and were indeed smiling. From the minute that the group took to the stage, the crowd stood up and blessed the group with a thunderous applause. It remains to be seen whether this was because they were seeing one of the favourite group leaders, Rebecca Hendricks.
Leading her troops, Hendricks wanted to reclaim the crown that is elusive in the Tsutsube category. She was facing groups that include the defending champions Kgabosereto from Thamaga, Diwetse and Ditsuatsue. Many thought that the defending champs had rightfully defended their title, but this was not the case. Ready for war and coming with everything that they had, Hendricks had done her homework very well and knew that they wanted to return home as champions. By the time that they left the stage, the SSKB stage was about to crack under the pressure.
Backstage, some of her dancers were panting for breath. Even Hendricks herself had to take several minutes to regain her breath. It was clear at that precise moment that this was no ordinary performance. Some of the female dancers appeared to be in a trance and were being ushered out by their male peers.
Gasping for breath, she told this publication that this was indeed a long and tough battle. She explained that they had to go back to the drawing board and see where they had been going wrong. For the finals, she explained that it took them three long and tiring weeks to prepare and polish this performance that secured them the much-deserved win.
“We listened to the judges and what they had previously raised, and we did exactly what they wanted,” she said. She said that the 25-member group had been working around the clock to regain the title. “It was not easy,” she said. Another highlight of the competition was in the Sebirwa category. Newcomers, Mafitlhakgosi under the leadership of Joseph Ikopeng made a grand entrance in the competition. They were facing groups that include Tsa Mmala Cultural Group, Ba Ga Mmanaana, and Mothoping Cultural group. The Old Naledi group clinched victory, setting the stage on fire with their outstanding dance moves.
And lastly, Shigyakao under the Seperu (North West region) from Gumare were once again a sight to behold. The group was facing strong competition from groups that include Tiwazani, Diyathoteng, and Mavuashire. And they came ready for war. The group defended their title and set a high pace for the judges in this category. Other reigning champions who successfully defended their titles include Mwathiyacthicho (Diware), Chankonchanko (Seperu-Chobe), and Kalahari Dancers (Polka). Other winners on the night included DikgositsaNgwao (Hosana), Morogowangwana (Setapa), Mahusane (Dikhwaere) and Kalatsakgale (Phatisi).
Knives out, and adorning their white aprons, Chefs came out to play this Saturday at the annual Cresta Hotels Chefs Competition. The competition sees chefs from the 12 properties of Cresta Marakanelo facing off against one another and showcasing their culinary skills in a hotly contested competition that is not for the weak and the faint hearted.
The annual spectacular which this year saw a very big crowd coming all out to support and witness the chefs in the kitchen is proving to be a hit with both chefs and the public. Something worth mentioning is that the competition is taking the culinary industry on an exhilarating journey. The event took place at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone.
The competition is divided into six categories - Cold platters (Category A), Menu for one person consisting of Appetizer, Main course and dessert (Category B), Main Course for two people and consists of meat, fish, game on a suitable platter including garnish, vegetable and starch (Category C), Pastry (Category D), Showpiece fruit/vegetable (category E), and the last category is the Mystery Basket/ Live cooking (Category F). One of the most exciting categories was Category D. A hit with those with a penchant for pastries such as this reporter, the many dishes that were on display were a sight to behold and tempted one to fill one’s face with them and forget about plans for weight loss. The other displays for the other categories were equally astounding and proved that the chefs knew what they were doing.
But it is always the live cooking that takes the crown for the audience who are always eager to see how the chefs handle the pressure and if indeed they are professionals and know their way around the kitchen. The chefs were allocated an hour to prepare a starter and a main dish. Some rose to the occasion and handled the challenge like pros. And one or two, well time was not on their side, and they crumbled under the pressure.
Out of the eight that made it through the live cooking segment of the competition, some cooked up a storm, and cemented the fact why they are working for one of the top hotels in the country. Speaking with the Group Operations Manager, Jonathan Cox, he tells this publication that the competition is growing every year. And that it is open to only chefs from their 12 properties.
To level the playing field, Executive Chefs can only participate as mentors. “We have seen a tremendous improvement this year,” he says. “It is a talent and skills based competition. It gives the chefs a chance to see what their colleagues are doing, and they also get to learn from others,” he says. He also points out that they roped in three judges, and that the winning chefs and teams walked away with prizes and medals. The event had sponsors/partners that include Gabs Electronics, Sennfoods, World Foods, and Bidvest.
The Robertson’s Potjie competition 2018 edition is slated to take place on August 11th at the Gaborone Yacht Club. The event, that is in its fourth year, has become increasingly popular and is a hit amongst amateur chefs. This year, organisers are promising an even bigger event, and are pulling all stops to give fans of the annual competition the time of their life.
Organised by local company Benju, every year participating teams go all out to claim the overall prize. The event sees competing teams that are made up of friends, family and colleagues cooking up a storm while following strict instructions. The competition is open to ten teams, and registration is on a first come basis, so if you are one of the interested parties, the time is now to register and start getting ready for the big day. Event organiser, Jennifer Gaffney who is the Marketing and Events Manager for Benju explains that this year they are changing it up and adding more elements to make the event a truly fun day for the entire family.
Gaffney points out that they have discovered that in winter, a lot of people hardly go out, and that they have created the event to get the whole family out, and enjoy some mouth-watering food, and delicious wine company. She further notes that over the years, they have observed that Gaborone has a lot of foodies, and that her company enjoys seeing their competitive streak come out in the entrants during the course of the day. “People have gone all out in previous years with the set-up of the stalls, their food presentation and it really creates a lovely atmosphere for everyone in attendance,” she explains.
Gaffney also notes that they have added some of the local celebrities to the judging panel, and they include food blogger Samantha Moakofi of Lunch with Bae, and Musa Mhlasi of The Box Restaurant. She explains that they have CA Sales on board as partners (and they will provide the teams with seasonings from Robertson’s spice ranges and Knorr products), and they will provide the teams with some of the key ingredients that they will use in their award-winning recipes. Something worth noting is that they have local companies on board such as the In-Play Indoor Playground, and they will be keeping the little ones occupied while the parents are having their own kind of fun. CA Sales will also bring along the Oros Man and Simba Lion for the little ones. Entrance for the public is P20, and free for children below 12 years.
Duma FM radio presenter Georgina Koboto Sakarea is living her dream of helping the needy especially the elderly and students who always need material support and vital education which can make them stay away from drugs and ills related to substance abuse and many others through her annual programme dubbed Show You Care campaigns.
The latest event was in Bokaa over the past weekend. Her weekend birthday bash is a way of celebrating the gift of life every year by giving back/making a difference in the society something she has been doing for the past eight years as she has assisted students and donated hundreds of thousands of pulas to various schools.The proceeds according to the bubbly radio presenter will go a long way in assisting the elderly in the area. From the dusty roads of Leretweng Ward in Mahalapye, driven by nothing else but passion and belief that she can become a change maker in her society, she cannot simply believe her current achievements.
As a young person growing up in a village where she was always surrounded by nothing else but poverty, drunkenness, where achievers are children of certain families deemed better off materially, it was not an easy road for her. “It’s not easy for a child to believe they can do better or change their background. Knowing this and having lived it, I decided to use the platform that God gave me to go back and share my life story with those who need it the most for them to see it is possible to break through as my way of serving my purpose,” she said. Koboto continued that growing up she had many people that she looked up to but didn’t believe they were real.
The only time she would see them was on television, newspapers or hear their voices on Radio. “Being where I am today and knowing there are children out-there who aspire to be like me, I decided to do things a little different and show these children that it is possible as I am a living, breathing human being just like them. I am a daughter, a mother and not just a voice on radio or face on television, “she explained.
She strongly believes thus far the results are already showing as she gets invites from groups that were formed mostly after the talks, where children initiate ways of building confidence amongst their peers and community through arts, beauty contests, events which she says demonstrate that the children have gained self-confidence.
The whole idea is to get children moving on a positive direction, for them to make the right decision from a young age, to be responsible adults when they reach the stage and to understand that the ‘’Betterment Of This Country’’ lies in their hands as well for as for them to know that they have to carry on cultivating and watering what she has started and pass it on to others. Koboto’s hope is to see future leaders excel from a young age as it took her long, hence she would love to see a different Botswana where children get to be given a chance to lead provided they are guided well.
“Hopefully this will encourage other key people in the society, ministers, Artists, TV & Radio personalities to take the baton as well and join in on the race of being in touch with those who celebrate us, those who aspire to be like us. Let me close it off with a quote taken from the BAHAI WRITINGS….’’Let Deeds Not Words Be Your Adorning’’.
Organisers of the upcoming The Life Changing event are promising revellers a one of a kind event that will rewrite history books locally. Slated to take place on August 25th, the event features the great Joyous Celebrations. The South African group will perform hits from their latest album, Joyous Celebration 22.
Organisers informed the media at a press conference held on Thursday morning that the event seeks to encourage the youth to have fun without indulging in alcohol or other substances. In attendance at the press conference was one of the founders of Joyous Celebration - Lindelani Mkhize, as well as some of the singers from the group. Speaking during the press conference, Mkhize confirmed that the group was ready and looking forward to setting the UB Sports Arena on fire. He said they have been touring South Africa, and that Botswana is one of the Southern African countries in their line up.
According to Mkhize, the focus of their performance will be on Joyous Celebration 22, but he was quick to point out that depending on where the spirit leads them, they might perform old and new material. “Depending on where the spirit leads us, we might have a couple of surprises in store for our supporters,” he said. He also emphasized that Joyous Celebration remains the only group that can be on stage for more than three hours. For the Botswana show, they will take to the stage at around 1830HRS and will leave the stage after midnight, with one or two breaks in between their set.
Event organiser, Joe Manuel of Braveheart explained that the show was long overdue, and that this is one show that music lovers do not wish to miss. The relationship between his company and the group, he explained, goes back many years. He promised that they will be putting together a once in a lifetime show, and that they will not cut any corners when it comes to different aspects of the event including stage and lightning. “The event is beyond life changing. And it is a journey and an experience. We are promising to take our craft to the next level,” he said adding that they were hoping to grow their relationship with the group and turn the event into an annual event. Manuel also pointed out that something that they changed this year was the sale of tickets. In the past, they started selling tickets two weeks before the show, but this year tickets went on sale on April 23. So far, they have sold over 3000. “Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment,” he cautioned.
It is true that the best education one can get is to travel. This is exactly what happened to me during a recent weeklong educational trip dubbed 2018 Durban July Mega hosting of SADC countries.
There was no dull moment on any day, as we travelled a lot and slept in different top hotels. But day 5 remains indelible in my mind as this is the day I had to remember one of the world’s greatest icons and the first democratically-elected black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. On this day, we visited the historic Mandela capture site. Without doubt the place has enormous significance because it is where he was captured and his long walk to freedom was interrupted for 27 years on the R103, the old main road about 5 kilometres outside the town of Howick on his return to Johannesburg.
Mandela was arrested on 5 August 1962, when he disguised as a chauffeur for Cecil Williams in what clearly shows he was sold out- this was 17 months of going underground. Records show to this day, it is not clear who could have been the informer, but certainly there was a tip off from a well informed person.Mandela was arrested after meeting with the ANC president Chief Albert Luthuli to report to him on the financial and military progress he had gained during his tour of some African countries.I first met Mandela when he came to Botswana subsequent to his release during a press conference at the old studios of Radio Botswana. During that day, I asked him two questions, being, is the Patriotic front in the agenda of the ANC and if it is, which parties will the ANC involve and for what reasons. And how does the ANC expect to share power with National Party when the ANC accuses the NP of orchestrating violence in the black Township?
Instead of answering me, Mandela looked me in the face and asked me what did you say your name is? This sent shivers down my spine. I felt like hiding and regretted that moment, but bravely put up my face and said Dikarabo sir. He followed with showers of praise on me saying that is a beautiful name and good questions too. To be honest, I never heard the answers to my questions as I was busy celebrating to have been given credit by a great man like him.
The next time I met Mandela was during the Gaborone Trade Fair. On that day, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano was the guest speaker, but for whatever reason, Mandela decided to visit Gaborone in order to meet with him and the late President Sir Ketumile Masire who was the SADC chairman. On that day, I was on an assignment, but Mandela recognised me once again.Years later after his demise I got to realise that Mandela spirit still lives. It took an invitation and a partnership sponsorship between Tourism KwaZulu- Natal and Air Namibia and my employers who gladly release me for a well planned weeklong working holiday to KZN Province.
I have been to Mandela’s house 8115 Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, but did not experience the same feelings as I had when walking on the freedom path to the sculpture composed of 59 steel poles designed by Marco Cianfanelli. The capture site is one place to visit by all; it is an amazing site having started as an ordinary monument composed of a stone which captures the history of how he was arrested. But the present structure has completely changed thanks to the brains of one artist Marco Cianfanelli who gave it a facelift through his design and made it one of the most interesting sites to come across. Records show that Cianfanelli created this national monument to mark the 50 years anniversary since Madiba’s capture.
The monument is made up of 50 steel columns and stands at about 9 metres high. The monument represents the momentum gained in the struggle through symbolism of Mandela’s capture, but they also suggest the idea of solidarity. It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped to ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising bringing about political change and democracy. It was freezing cold on the day of our visit, but that could not deter us from gaining the experience and being counted amongst those who stepped their feet here. It started with a brief of the site by the tour guide, and then we went inside the small house which tells a great history of Mandela in prison and other leaders such as Oliver Reginald Tambo through pictures.
I could not resist taking pictures along some of the huge portraits displayed in there. Then having fully understood the history of how he was captured, it was time to walk the path to one of the most amazing sculptures ever designed. Make no mistake once you enter into the pathway, it is just about walking to the sculpture for snap shot! No, on each side there are some iron boards carrying history of what happened in each year of the 50 years since Mandela’s capture just across the road. Having now toured the freedom park or capture site, it was time to go, but not before I could call our South African counterparts to join me to sing a few freedom songs which all black children both local and abroad used to sing whenever it was time to pursue and, or continue with the struggle. Amongst the songs were Siyaya I Petori and, Oliver Tambo…….. All in all this experience caused me to remember Mandela, the question is when will you the reader want to share this experience?
The odds are stacked against Township Rollers in their dream debut in the CAF Champions league, having just lost 0-3 against former serial champions Al Ahly in Alexandria, Egypt this past Tuesday and thereby dropping to the bottom of the group log.
The two teams are expected to meet again at the National Stadium in a week's time and nothing much is expected to change as Ahly are already the fvourites. Nevertheless, Popa owe their supporters a consolation goal or two when they face the Egyptians at home. The game played on Tuesday night exposed a lot of Popa’s weaknesses in almost all departments.
Meanwhile, Esperance defeated Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) in another Tuesday encounter, leaving the latter with same number of points with Popa at the bottom half of the table. Thus far, with three games to go, Esperance are leading group A with seven points, while Ahly who lost to KCCA in their last game are placed second with four points. When the two teams meet next Friday Popa Head coach Nikola Kavazovic and his charges must come with a better game plan and execute it effectively.
Popa’s weakest point has been in the defence which has cost the team dearly. Defensive errors have contributed hugely to the team’s heavy losses in both Tunisia and Egypt. The defence line, comprising Kaone Vanderweisthuizen, Obuile Ncenga, Simisani Mathumo and Ivan Ntenge was in a chaotic state on Tuesday and allowed the lethal Ahly strike force to punch holes in their defence.
The problem is further compounded by an erratic goalkeeper, Mwampule Masule is gifted, but his acrobatic saves are not enough against superior opposition in the form of Ahly. He remains a poor communicator in the defence line. Masule rarely commands his defenders and this leads to dangerous situations in the defence line.
The coach, Kavazovic knew what he was dealing with as the Egyptians are CAF Champions league record winners. However, the outspoken and fiery Serbian needs to step up his game in the fire power department. On Tuesday night, Kavazovic's front line did not get off against the Ahly defence. The statistics speak for themselves as the Popa attack did not show enough ambition against the CAF multiple champions who, strangely lost to KCCA in their previous encounter. On paper Ahly had 12 shots at goal as compared to Rollers who have nine attempts. In the second leg next Friday, Popa’s strike force comprising Edwin Moalosi, Boyo Lechaena and Joel Mogorosi must show more creativity.
The presence of Lemponye Tshireletso will be an added bonus for Popa. With the second game coming to Gaborone, the 12th man will be an added advantage for Popa as the Blue nation will be expected to throng the National Stadium in full force. Meanwhile, It will be interesting to see who will officiate the second leg. The Algeria official who was in charge of the game on Tuesday slapped Popa with four yellow cards.
Four football teams, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, Notwane FC, Mochudi Rovers and Rasesa Precosta took part in the Shono Madonsela Cup over the President Holidays in which Notwane Football Club emerged victors after defeating Mochudi Centre Chiefs 2-1 at the finals.
The tournament went well according to Alec Monyake, one of the organizers. There were slightly over 200 spectators. In the losers final Rovers beat Rasesa Precostar 1- 0 while in the first Semi-Finals Notwane Beat Mochudi Rovers 2-1 and the second Semi-Finals Rasesa Precostar and Center Chiefs drew with 2 goals each. Chiefs advanced through penalties winning 5-4.
Alec Monyake added that the tournament went well, all teams were happy with the preparations.The referees handled the games well and were considered fair. What was evident was that a tournament of this magnitude needs a sponsor to relieve teams from spending too much. Gate takings alone are not enough to cover all the expenses which include feeding teams and guest referees, advertising, transport and communication expenses.
The Vultures senior national rugby team are back home after an uninspired performance during their recent Rugby Silver Cup campaign in Zambia last week. Having lost to the hosts, Zambia and Madagascar, in the six nations tournament, the Vultures will now play a waiting game to see whether they remain in the Silver Cup or would be relegated to the Bronze lower ranks.
“We are waiting for log standings to see whether we remain in the Silver Cup and this will depend on the aggregation,” said the Botswana Rugby Union (BRU) Secretary General Ernest Mantsi in an interview this week. Mantsi said the team that wins first place in the Silver Cup is promoted to the elite Gold Cup while the team that acquires 6th position will be relegated to the Bronze cup. Moreover, Mantsi said the winners of the Bronze cup will be elevated to the Silver cup.
“We are waiting for the results to see who will be relegated to the Bronze cup and this may take up to one week after the competition is concluded.” Mantsi said it will be up to the Africa Rugby officials to determine who goes or remains in the Silver cup. Mantsi said there are other factors that can determine this such as Africa Rugby officials investigating whether there were any defaulters during the six-nation tournament. Meanwhile, Mantsi said the Vultures who competed in Zambia are a fairly new team in terms of both the players and the technical department.
“They would have loved to have done better at the Silver cup but going further the Botswana Rugby Union will be setting new targets for them.” Furthermore, Mantsi said it is important for the BRU to start preparing for next year’s Silver Cup. With the 2018 Silver cup behind them, Mantsi said they will now focus on the Seven’s national men’s team who are expected to compete at an Africa tournament this October. In other matters, Mantsi said they continue to struggle with attracting sponsorship especially for the national team which is expensive to maintain.