Botswana mountaineer, Ouma Sekokole is safe, and is doing well. Sekokole is one of the hundreds of mountaineers who are currently trying to summit the highest mountain in the world, namely Mount Everest. Earlier today (Friday), a message was shared on her Facebook page that she has been safely brought down from Camp 2 and is currently with the medical team, safe and sound.
Speaking in an interview with this publication, her manager, Lefa Moatlhodi said he spoke with her and that she is well. “I spoke with her, and she has assured me that she is well. She had to undergo some routine check-ups and the doctor ordered her to rest,” he said.
Sekokole is currently in Nepal where she is on a quest to make history as the first Black African woman to summit Mount Everest. She is part of 500 trekkers from across the world. Sekokole is not the only African woman who is attempting to make history. South Africa’s Saray Khumalo is also on this expedition.
Sekokole is raising awareness about Cervical and Prostate Cancer. Her journey started on April 5th, and will end on June 8th. “I have prepared well and I am ready to overcome Mt Everest, and make history by becoming the First Black African woman to summit Mt Everest,” she said in a press release shared by her team.
Sekokole is very passionate about cancer awareness after losing her mother to cancer at a young age. Last year, she successfully summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro. Her journey to raise awareness against cancer, and its treatment has seen her forming the Ouma Foundation, which cycles annually across the country imparting knowledge about cancer, and treatment. Besides her love for adventure, she is the only Motswana who is a Habitat for Humanity International Fellow.
Lauri Kubuitsile will launch her 30th traditionally published work of fiction But Deliver Us from Evil this month. A synopsis of the novel reads: “It is 1871 and Nthebolang and her mother must flee their home: her father has been accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. For months they walk, sleeping in the open, living off the veldt, until they are offered shelter in Ntsweng in the kingdom of Kgosi Sechele I.
It is there, years later, that Nthebolang meets Beatrice, the wife of a cruel English missionary, and a woman who has had her share of perilous escapes. As a young girl, this light-skinned Koranna woman was mistaken for a kidnapped white child and bundled off to a mission station. After all this time, Beatrice still carries her father’s gift, a hunting knife, concealed under her clothing. But things are not settled in Ntsweng, where traditional beliefs and Christianity clash. The turmoil of Nthebolang’s childhood repeats itself when her beloved Motsumi is suspected of witchcraft.”
Much like her previous offering, The Scattering; But Deliver Us From Evil has a historical setting. In an interview with BG Style, Kubuitsile says that while this was not planned she has always had a keen interest in history. “I think, especially, I like to find the history that has been left behind. We are all aware now that the history written in our books and what we are taught at school is the history of the victors. But that is not the complete story; that is only one view. I like to find the ‘other’ stories. Doing research, you often can’t find these other unwritten stories so fiction allows a writer to fill in the blanks and I love this too,” she says.
Kubuitsile explains that when she was doing research for her 2016 book The Scattering, she came across a letter that Kgosi Sechele I wrote to the Setswana newspaper that was being published out of the mission at Kuruman in the 1800s. “Initially there was a letter from a disgruntled Christian complaining that Kgosi Sechele was an avowed Christian and yet there was news that he had executed 25 witches at his kgotla in Ntsweng. Since witchcraft did not exist within Chrisitianity, then Kgosi Sechele must not be a real Christian, the writer of the letter asserted. Kgosi Sechele wrote back responding to this letter saying that 25 witches were accused but he did not execute all of them, only five, and in any case, they were all known witches.
Then he said the accuser was working as a servant in the missionary’s house. It was the last bit of information that would not leave my head… What was up with that girl, I wondered… What was her story? My mind answered that in the form of my fictional character in But Deliver Us from Evil, named Nthebolang.”
Kubuitsile says that the prominent themes in the book are betrayal and trust, especially who to trust. “It is about love and to what lengths we will go to protect our loved ones, even from themselves. I guess too that it is about evil, that subjective, emotive word. And religion and spirituality: is one spirituality more correct than the other? Do these things cause more harm than good?”
Pre-historically hourglasses were used to scale time, and as humanity evolved, there were changes and nowadays timepieces are modified to smaller accessories, which include the wristwatch.
A wristwatch is more than an accessory to tell time but also a fashion statement that reflects culture and style, and the wearer’s social status and demographic. Botswana has recently seen the emergence of a bespoke luxury timepiece range to write home about. Nako Timepieces prides itself as an innovative luxury watchmaker brand, which is a combination of dignified craftsmanship best referred to as ‘wearable works of art.’
Founder and director of Nako Timepieces brand, Gabriel Mothibedi tells BG Style that their timepieces provide function and lavish style: a level of sophisticated simplicity. “It is a brand with historical significance that bears Botswana’s heritage on a wrist.” He further explains that Nako Timepieces was founded on the belief that state-of-the-art watch making can be synonymous with the cultural and historical significance of Botswana. “The initial inspiration was to merge historical significance, innovation and luxury watch making that is proudly Botswana. We sought to give Botswana something to point to, a visual vocabulary to tell her story and express her heritage to the world. We have also provided a glimpse of how design driven innovation, as a form of incremental innovation, can become a key alternative economic development strategy,” he says.
According to Mothibedi, Nako expresses in its brand, conception through design and product offerings, emotion and the experience of the African. “The cultural journey of a myriad of ethnicities making Africa is translatable into works of art that can be captured throughout the transcendence of time, into a quality timepiece.”
Mothibedi also says that they took a semantic route of using languages as a cultural aspect hence the name Nako, which means time in Setswana. “Time is all around us: it is a measure of life and experience. The simple observation of the stars and changes in the seasons, day and night, began to come up with primitive means of scaling time, and the brand itself embraces these as they were reflected in activities such as farming and sacred feasts: in the context of Botswana cultural ceremonies. Nako Timepieces embodies the traditional methods of how time was told and embraces the modified version of the time tellers to small convenient wrist accessories.”
The design concept is an intricate and interesting one and Mothibedi explains that contextually, the visual abstraction, a preeminent characteristic of African art, of the manually inscripted brand name buries naturalistic letterforms and an organic visual flow which is symbolic of the abstract nature of African art; specifically the exaggerated figures of animal paintings found in the Tsodilo Hills. “Silhouettes of these animals can be seen on the canvass itself, and a rough canvass texture symbolic of the quart size rock was created. The red colour is symbolic of the red ochre pigment, derived from hematite, which the San people used on some rock paintings of the Tsodilo Hills.”
The watches are designed in Botswana and manufactured in Switzerland, considered the centre of the watch industry. Nako Timepieces is currently sold from the company warehouse. Mothibedi says that the timepieces will soon be available across Botswana, South Africa as well as in London and New York.