The thirteenth edition of the Son of the Soil (SOTS) cultural festival is pencilled to take place on March 2nd. The event that returns after a one-year hiatus is back at the Serokolwane Lawns under the theme: Kwa re go yang – Re Ipela. It is organised by Bana ba Mmala Trust (BBMT).
SOTS is held at the end of February/first weekend of March every year. Highlights to look forward at the popular event include a diverse line-up of some of the finest of Botswana’s top artists, dancers, poets, the ever-popular traditional choir competitions, games, and many more. Other highlights will include a workshop to be held on February 21st, and a jazz event that will take place on March 3rd.
Those who are avid fans of the festival know for a fact that the traditional choir festival is one of the highlights that keep attracting many to the festival. For years, the friendly rivalry between the North and South choirs is what has been keeping this event alive, and making it all the more fun. Participants from the North and South are always ready for a battle and will go all out in order to topple their rivals. This year will be no different.
Speaking this week at a media briefing in Gaborone, the Chairperson of BBMT, Pontsho Pusoetsile reveals that one of the aspects that make their event extraordinary is the fact that it is the only local cultural event where patrons play a participatory role, as compared to just being spectators. This, he says is what sets them apart from other events. He also says that for this year, they have partnered with Fresh Brands who will be helping them to take the event to the next level. “We will always be a participatory event. And our event is used as a template by other events,” he explains.
He also explains that as it was the case in the past, patrons should come dressed in their finest traditional attires, and that jeans are not allowed. For those who might find themselves wearing jeans, he advises that they have vendors who will be selling traditional attires. He also highlights that they encourage their patrons to consume their beverages from traditional cups (Phafana).
Pusoetsile also highlights that as it was the case with the event in 2017, patrons will have to buy their own lunch meals, while breakfast, co –prepared by the patrons, will be free. History of the Son of Soil event can be traced back to 2005 in Tlokweng where everything first started. It was conceived and organised by a group of youth known as Bana Ba Mmala, as a way to relive, learn and enjoy Botswana rich culture.
Entrance to the event is P250 (adults) and P100 for children.
Twenty years after David Kau first started his successful career as a stand-up comedian the funny South African is slated to host his one man show at Maitisong Theatre on February 1st. The show, which marks the start of his SADC tour is dubbed Half man, Half Comic. The title of the show celebrates how he has spent half of his life in making people laugh.
The show is a special one for the Gaborone audience as it marks ten years since he last performed in Botswana. Now married and a father of three, Kau tells this publication in a telephone interview that it has been a while since he performed in a one-man show. He notes that this is the beginning of his SADC tour, which includes Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho.
He explains that it was a good time to come and celebrate his big milestone with his Botswana fans during the Botswana Music Awards weekend. He learnt about the awards from one of the most promising and talented gems of Botswana, namely Thato Jessica who is looking at breaking into the comedy market outside the country. Kau’s company, Disadvantaged Backgrounds Productions is trying to find a way that they can assist the performer to penetrate the market outside the country.
According to Kau, it was no brainer when it came to picking a partner that clearly understands his vision and can pull off a memorable show hence he settled on his long time trusted friend/partner, namely Fish Pabalinga of Leap Frog. The duo had previously worked together in shows that includes Miss Botswana. Over the past couple of years, he had to cut back on traveling as he wanted to focus on his family, and raising his children. “I decided to stay at home more. And I have also been making movies,” he explains.
To date, he has made close to 15 movies for Mzansi Magic. He has also moved a bit from doing political commentary.
“The material is different,” says Kau. He reveals that he is planning to take advantage of the many platforms that are available for creators. He is also working on a Black Only documentary. Blacks Only is one of the many projects he wanted to use to create a platform for the up and coming comedians. “The landscape and the economy has changed. We have more infrastructures, and we want to reach other countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria where there is a strong comedy industry,” explains Kau.
His last visit to Botswana was to MC at Miss Botswana pageant and he was not successful as the audience were impatient with him. But, this is something that he has put behind him, and is looking forward to doing what he was best known for over the past twenty years.
Kau was discovered at the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival in October 1998 at The Baxter theatre in Cape Town. Over the course of the twenty years, Kau has risen, and grown to become a force to reckon with in comedy. Not one to hog the limelight, he has given a platform to some of the best comedians in South Africa including the likes of Celeste, Thapelo Tips, as well as Chris Mapane to mention a few through events such as the 'So you think you are funny. 'Reached for a comment, Pabalinga confirmed the event, and highlighted that this was one event that comedy lovers do not want to miss.
Wth life’s unforeseen circumstances, the 25-year-old Goaba Zoe Kgasa found herself trapped on a wheel chair, and forced to find something to do to survive.
The young ambitious Goaba Zoe Kgasa’s natural lip balm dubbed ‘Zoe Kgasa’s Lip Balm’ came to being and was inspired by this motivational story. She still remembers it like it was yesterday when she was diagnosed with an unexpected condition, ‘Rheumatic Athritis’ which locked all her joints, condemning her to the wheel chair. Nonetheless, she strived so hard to be a business woman that she has always dreamt to be and now produces not only Zoe Kgasa’s Lip Balm but also Zoe Kgasa’s body butter. She tells BG Style that she is also making a body soap, which is yet to be on sale.
The project started last year in September and she could not thank Neo Seate of Senela Farms enough, who taught her how to make these products. Many of the cosmetics and beauty products purchased have artificial preservatives and ingredients but her lip balm is totally 100 percent natural and recommended for use by everyone for its lovely lemon fresh scent.
Her mission is to supply the lodges in the country and is satisfied with the response so far. She explains that she already has individual sales for clients in Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Kanye. “I am about making people happy and looking beautiful and the fact that I never shelve any remains of body-butter as they are always on order makes me hopeful,” she says, explaining that in fact, she does not make a large quantity of body butters because she still doesn’t have a machine to use.
She says that with the natural agents such as honey, her lip balms help moisturise the lips as well as nourish chapped lips while the body butter softens the skin. Her project is all about finding a purpose in life while living differently. She explains that Seate first gave her a few lip balms as a way of motivating her to make her own cosmetics, which is now a dream in the making.
“I don’t copy anyone’s music I’m rather copied. If you buy original CDs, you’ll see that I’m the composer, producer, engineer, arranger so I own all my music.” said Dan Tshanda.
[Chronicle SA] First it was our very own Lebasho, then it was the promising Donald Botshelo, Dan Tshanda’s son in music, who also passed on; after many years when we thought we gained balance, former Peacock lead singer Thabile Mazolwane left. It was a sad experience in pantsula disco fraternity, since the ‘Thuso wa Kerala wa nkolota’ as Mazolwane was known, was one of the few remaining hopefuls of disco power houses.
A week ago, the ‘big husband,’ the creator of splash fame, also left. It was a shock to all; if this was the end of disco. Everybody born in the 70s, 80s, 90s and even into the mellinium years would tell you about the impact of the splash music. This disco, aptly called ‘splash’ was the house hold music. Dan Tshanda’s Splash genre was the only one that survived post disco era. This was mainly due to his high love, support and following in Southern Africa in particular, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. This was where he earned more hearts. In Botswana, he managed to get sold out shows and helped cement venues like The Rec Park in Molapowabojang which was the home of splash and many others. At that time, good original music was only seen on good selling spots like Ko Setlhareng.com in Main Mall, opposite Botswana Book Centre.
Whenever groups from his stable, the Shining Dalom Music released new albums and also due to his evergreen catalogue, people flocked in large numbers for the new music. He got so much following from combi, taxi drivers, old, young, from settlements and homemade beer hot spots. He also helped shine the light on the late crooner Donald Botshelo, who was known by the stage name Don B. Daniel was an inspiration to other pantsula musicians and the growth of the pantsula community. Daniel Ndivhiseni Tshanda was born in Chiawelo, South Western Townships (SOWETO).
He was a gifted lead vocalist and bassist. At an early age, Daniel had to leave pen and paper at primary level due to the fact that the family was finding it tough to pay for his fees. He was forced to hustle in the streets to make life. As any hustler in the street he also worked on his music talent and worked on a few cassette demos and one of them landed on the hands of Gallo Music Records. Gallo Records is the largest music label in South Africa based in Johannesburg and owned by Times Media Group. The late Hamilton Nzimande of Gallo Record managed to record him and released an album which did not do well. But with the trust and hard work, Gallo gave him another chance for a sophomore but at the time he was trading by the name splash. Splash became a house hold name in Soweto with the help of the late Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri. Ray Phiri was a South African jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician.
After a couple of successful releases Peacock, the sophomore, Snake 1987, money 1988, Tshotshoko 1989, Eye for an eye 1990, two members of splash then formed up their own band Matshikos and released an album ’The park is mine’. But Splash continued to unleash music to the people. In 1998 they signed to Bula Records and released Ndivhuwo, then Setlhopha which was well received in Botswana. This was released under his own company, Dalom Music. Like one local music producer once said ‘good music ga o bole, o tshwana le molato (good music has long shelve life),’ Splash music will preserve his legacy. He did a lot and carved a lot of many artist dreams, the likes of Dalom Kids, Matshikos, Peacock etc. It won’t be a surprice when Tshanda’s name appears with names of great Africa artists like Koffi Olomide, Tabu ley, Franco François Luambo Makiadi , Papa Wemba, Marriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie to name a few.
Botswana is now home to one of the finest cross-country motorcycle racers in the world. The locally bred rider has won the respect and admiration of both his peers and motorsport fans across the world with his courageous and heroic performance at the ongoing Dakar rally.
Branch who has been showing his gifts on the saddle in local and regional off road race events has now become a world beater. By press time Branch is expected to have completed the gruelling 10 000 km race across Peru in the Top 20. Having started at position 137 out of 140 racers, Branch’s riding experience, ambition and talent saw him rising through the ranks and made it into his targeted Top 20 half way into the race.
At some point the local hero even made it to the Top 10. A gearbox failure in Stage 3 could have cost the rider a position in the Top 10. Nevertheless, Branch has made a lasting impact at the Dakar having been named the best of the rookies competing in this year’s race. Having grown up in the sandy Jwaneng area and consistently competing in the 1000km Toyota Desert Race, Branch came into the Dakar with a massive advantage and surprised many Dakar followers.
A good result and personal glory will mean a great deal for the local rider in terms of recognition and attracting international sponsors. Despite his success and exceeding expectations at Dakar, Branch left for Peru in a shoe string P1,8 million budget, having to take a loan to supplement the funds. A top 20 finish on his debut is likely to see the rider securing international sponsors like the KTM team he is riding for. The rider’s stock will be expected to go up in the international cross-country racing scene. Furthermore, it will not be only Branch who benefits from Dakar glory, having flown the Botswana flag at the biggest motorsport race in the world will see a spotlight shining in Botswana and its motorsport activities.
Before leaving for Dakar, Branch said he intended to lure some of the top riders to the TDR 1000km, which was confirmed for Selibe Phikwe this year. Attracting international riders and racing teams will be a much-needed boost to tourism and local motorsports. Meanwhile, the last two stages of the Dakar were the most challenging of the race where a mass start of cars, truck, quads and bikes. Branch described the penultimate stage as one of the scariest and most challenging when he races against trucks with limited visibility. In an interview this week , the first Motswana to compete at the Dakar Vincent Crosbie said Branch has proven that he can race with the top guys in the world. Crosbie managed to finish the Dakar in 2017.
“The race is demanding both mentally and physically especially in the last two days. I think he is currently an hour off but with a bit of luck he might end up in the top 10 if some of the riders in front of him do not finish,” Crosbie said. The rider who plans to return to the Dakar in 2020 said Branch has a decent backing and he has been to last year’s Dakar race as a spectator. Ross has always been an outstanding rider and at some point, he was lying in the 13th position. Furthermore, Crosbie said for both him and Branch it has been a long-term dream to finish the Dakar and represent Botswana. Nevertheless, Crosbie said securing government sponsorship remains a challenge even though it is clear that there are talented riders in the country.
The local rider said both Botswana Motorsport (BMS) and the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) are not in a position to fund riders for an event like the Dakar. Crosbie further explained that Branch’s performance at the Dakar is likely to get him noticed by international companies at the event. Quizzed on whether Dakar exposure will draw international riders to local events like the TDR, Crosbie said this is highly unlikely. “International riders are drawn to events that run for six or seven days. It will be expensive for us to attract them to the TDR.”
The President of Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), Thari Mooketsi might contest for presidency again during the BAA elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) billed for later this year. BG Sport has been reliably informed by BAA affiliates that Mooketsi together with other members of the BAA executive committee are repositioning themselves well to retain their titles. It is alleged that they are busy with their campaign strategies and begging the support of close friends and affiliates during the elections.
“He came to us saying he will be seeking another term this year and we are shocked because initially it was said that he had no interest in running as president,” said the source that preferred anonymity. Mooketsi took over the reins at BAA on April 2017. At the time of ascending to presidency two years back, Mooketsi was faced with a mammoth task of restoring sanity to BAA. The Association was at the time engrossed in internal fighting.
Mooketsi’s return came as a shock to some given that he had served as BAA president previously. However he was ousted by a number of no confidence motions. It remains questionable as to whether the confidence has been restored on the president and if he will be able to captain the ship better unlike before. From a distance, it appears that not much has changed; the Association is still struggling financially despite being the best performing code locally.
BAA is finding it hard to secure even a single sponsorship. Moreover, there are still noticeable divisions within the Association; the Mooketsi led committee has on some occasions been labelled as difficult by affiliates. Even athletes have on many occasions decried that their welfare was compromised and even accused BAA of neglecting their needs. When reached, Mooketsi played his cards close to his chest saying that he was still undecided, “I have so many things to deal with at the moment and I have not really given it much thought,” he said in between giggles.
Mooketsi noted that the BAA presidency is not something to take lightly as he needs to reassess what he has achieved and what he will offer if he is to remain in power. He explained that at the moment he is looking forward to the Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) to be held in February. At the meeting the expectation is that affiliates will approve of the drafted rules and regulations meant to guide the association. For his part, the president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Moses Bantsi said that he was not one to judge who is better placed to lead BAA. “All I can do is to support and work with any administration that is elected into power,” he said.
He said it was not easy to be in leadership positions and instead of criticizing all should come together to ensure that the Association mandate moves forward. “I am impressed by the athletes' consistency, they have been representing the country well out there despite the financial difficulties of the association,” Bantsi said. The CAA president went on to say that it becomes difficult to achieve set mandates without financial resources, saying even during his time as BAA president, there were certain things he wanted to achieve but could not.
He gave BAA a pat on the shoulder for seeing to it that IAAF president came to Botswana, for the very first time. Coe was in Botswana two months back.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is expecting a German football expert to come and assist with some of their structures next month. The expert who is reported to be a doctor in Sports Science is expected to assist the BFA in football development and women’s structures.
This week the BFA Chief Executive Officer, Mfolo Mfolo said the female German expert who will reside in Botswana for four years will arrive in mid-February. “The expert will stay and work in Botswana following an agreement between the German Olympic Committee and the BFA. She is expected to focus on coach education and talent identification,” Mfolo said.
The BFA boss further explained that they had made a proposal through the Botswana Olympic Committee. Mfolo said the expert will arrive at the right time as they are in the process of resuscitating women’s football. “FIFA is coming for the Women’s Football Strategy workshop in February.” Mfolo said the BFA will be responsible for providing housing and local transport for the German expert.
Almost two years ago German Football development expert Christoph Rocholl was tasked with coming up with a model of structural development of football talent from the grass roots in the country. Some of Rochel’s findings include the despaired state of local football pitches and lack of infrastructure. The expert further said football education was severely lacking in the country. In conclusion, Rocholl recommended an expert to come and assist in local football structures.
The sky is the limit for the young tennis player Denzel Seetso (14) who is now officially ranked first in Africa after winning individual Under 14 International Tennis Federation (ITF)/Confederations of African Tennis (CAT) tournaments this past Thursday.This is after almost 20 years of medal drought for the locals. This was confirmed by Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) Vice-President (VP) Oaitse Thipe in an interview with BG Sport this week.
Thipe said Seetso’s track record has been rather impressive as the young lad has been triumphing a lot recently, “Denzel won a total of five tournaments across the continent to topple his competitors to the pole position. He also won doubles title in Algeria, Benoni and singles title in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar and all these tournaments were sanctioned by ITF which makes the boy a Moghul,” he said.
The last time Botswana had an impressive junior was 20 years back, where Gaebolae Seleke was ranked No.1 in the respective continent (Africa) hence Seetso is following along the lines to becoming a gemstone in the tennis circles.BTA VP further said the boy’s (Seetso) achievement is a blessing in disguise for the country, “We have endured so many years without anyone occupying the top seed in the country. This has been a worrying factor but now the future looks bright for our tennis,” said the BTA VP.
Meanwhile, the local Under 14 team which boasted remarkable players such as Mark Nawa, Arnold Bleskit and the man of the moment Denzel Seetso did not come back empty handed at the ITF/CAT under 14 and 16 Zonal Qualifiers which were held in Namibia this past week, “The boys have qualified for the Tennis Africa Championships which are slated for August 2019 in Tunisia. Furthermore, the preparations start as early as now so that we play a good tournament,” he explained.
On the other hand, Thipe said they are going to try hard to engage corporate companies to get involved, “We are going to work very hard to prepare the boys for the upcoming games though it’s still early stages. We will try and source out sponsorship and mind you, there will be a preparatory individual tournament in March and we ought to prepare for it as well,” said Thipe. Efforts to reach the boy’s mentor Phenyo Matong proved unfruitful as his phone did not go through. They were said to be travelling back to Botswana from a tournament in Namibia.
Although Botswana has marked herself as a force to reckon with when it comes to sprint running, there are grey areas that seem to hinder its middle distance running development.
Currently, 800m runner Nijel Amos is the only Botswana star competing during major international competitions. Amos became the best thing that happened to long distance running when he won silver during the 2012 summer Olympics held in London. It was Botswana’s first ever-Olympic medal.
Seven years down the line Botswana is still struggling to find the next Amos, Glody Dube or even Mbiganyi Thee among others. Amos is now based in the United States, where he is believed to be busy polishing his career under the watchful eye of an international coach. Perhaps what could have prompted the need to move to the United States was the obvious fact that Amos was alone, amongst sprint runners. That might have possibly made him to change lanes and find a conducive environment to explore his talent.
The leading female star of long distances, particularly the 42km run, Onneile Dintwe agrees that middle distance in Botswana is a foreign topic. She is running because it is something she loves however she is not even in a position to impart any knowledge to other developing athletes.
To be the star that she is, she had to cross borders and get the expertise from coaches based in South Africa. “I cannot say anything to young athletes but share with them my experiences or what works best for me. However, that is not enough because what works for me might not be what they need,” Dintwe said.The 33 year old believes that much emphasis is on sprints to an extent that even when they attended an International Association Athletics Federation (IAAF) coaching course back in 2011, 90% of it was all about sprints.
“I am not surprised because in an environment where you find that the leadership likes or was trained mainly on sprints, this is bound to happen. They might not even realize that such is happening because they are doing what they know best,” she said.
Dintwe advised that it was important that local coaches specialize as they cannot be in a position to master all field events, sprints, jumpers and long distance.
Evidently, the two prominent local athletics coaches Justice Dipeba and Mogomotsi Otsetswe have been doing very well as far as sprints are concerned. Following the discovery of 400m runners Isaac Makwala, Lydia Jele and others, the coaches managed to unearth mouthwatering talent in Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda. The recently hosted African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Gaborone games also reflected another promising future in the 4x100 and 4x400 men’s relay team. Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has the potential to reproduce another Amos in the youthful Tshepiso Masalela but only if he is given the necessary attention. The young man scooped gold in his 1500m and 800m races.
“The athletes only prepare for three months or so before they are done for the year. It is high time they are given the same attention as sprints,” former 800m runner Dube said. Dube said that track and field events run throughout the year and that is how the athletes get to excel and continue to represent the country across borders. He noted that it was not impossible for Botswana to produce gold but it all boils down to the leadership and how committed they are to investing in athletes.
The BAA President, Mooketsi Thari also agrees that at the moment they are not doing enough. However, it is not out of ignorance but because they do not have the expertise to bring out the product they all want. “With technical events we have tried to find a volunteer that will assist our athletes and we can see that there is progress,” he said. Mooketsi said it was not easy to engage retired athletes because they do not have the funds to support their services. He added that voluntarism alone is not enough as people have bills to settle.
Botswana Development Corporation has ‘parted ways’ with Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe a month after he led the corporation into impressive results, Botswana Guardian has heard from two sources familiar with the goings on at the state owned firm.
Employees of the government investments arm have already been informed of the MD’s departure. Gaetsaloe left the employ of BDC on Wednesday. Specific details on why the man who has transformed BDC into a profitable entity left were not clear at the time of going to press. Furthermore, it is understood he could have left last year, but his departure was delayed by financial results which were paraded to stakeholders mid December.
Head, Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Boitshwarelo Lebang did not want to dwell into specific reasons why Gaetsaloe quit, save to state that: “Botswana Development Corporation(BDC) confirms the departure of Bashi Gaetsaloe from the employ of BDC as Managing Director to pursue other opportunities with immediate effect. The Corporation wishes to thank Bashi for his contributions to BDC and wish him well in his future endeavours.”
This publication could not immediately reach Blackie Marole, BDC board chairman to explain why Gaetsaloe, who was appointed on April 2014, has left before his second contract lapses. His contract was renewed about three years later(2017), but at the time, some legislators raised concerns that, his relations with Vincent Seretse, who was then a trade and industry minister ‘was not ideal’. Gaetsaloe is Seretse’s brother in law. BDC falls under the trade ministry which is now under Bogolo Kenewendo.
Meanwhile, speculation is rife that, Chief Investment Officer at the corporation, Moatlhodi Lekaukau will be appointed on an acting capacity until a new Managing Director is found. Lekaukau who is former Standard Chartered Chief Executive has been with the multimillion-Pula Company for about a year now.
Gaetsaloe is leaving at a time when the group has just started investing in the African continent, having been given the leeway by the sole shareholder, government. The group has also vowed to invest in the local front, especially on high value projects which can meaningfully boost the economy. For the year to June 2018, BDC reported a profit before tax of P187 million, up 37 percent year on year.