Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 16 January 2018 - Botswana Guardian
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:48

Go Hard rebrands to ‘Go Hard Clothing’

With their new branded ‘BW Go Hard’ baseball caps, F/town Go Hard Clothing label continue to expand their range season on season, adding to their growing reputation as masters of contemporary clothing and street-wear.

The clothing label owned by Baboloki Chakalisa and his Cousin Baboloki Dambe aka B-blok, Francistown’s finest rapper, popularly known for his ‘Top Shambol’ hit track has switched gears this year and rebranded the label F/town Go Hard to ‘Go Hard Clothing’. 

Dambe told Style in an interview that the whole idea behind the rebranding was to kill the stereotype surrounding it. “There is this perception the label is for Francistowners, so we want to reach out to other people as well,” the brand is known for its killer T-shirts, sweaters, beanies, snap bags baseball caps and bucket hats. The new brand comes with the latest offering of ‘Go Hard BW’ baseball caps from China. He said their new BW caps are 100 percent cotton, complete with 3-D embroidery, which makes them stand out from other caps and a metal strap at the back. 

“People have NY caps not because they want, but because it is the only offering in the market. We saw this gap and an opportunity to make something that represents us as a country - BW for Botswana,” he explained. The new caps, which are available for P250 are selling like fat cakes. The response from the F/town Go Hard Clothing facebook page speaks volumes. 

Dambe says that they have collaborated with Real Legends Clothing in Gaborone to sell their merchandise while they make their own deliveries in Francistown and surrounding areas.  He said the whole idea of branding the caps ‘BW’ comes from the NY brand that is making waves in the market. Research shows that the New York Yankees (NY) caps are classic and popular, and for many years have been something of a legend among caps.  New York Yankees caps are timeless, and their look is modern even today. The classic logo is known worldwide and represents so much more than the New York Yankees baseball team. An NY Yankees cap is nowadays a well known fashion icon.

 

Published in Style
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:47

TLes expresses gratitude in new album

Local Gospel heavyweight Tshepo TLes Lesole proves in his latest offering, Grateful that he still got it.

Often likened to American artistes like Boys II Men whom he admits has received inspiration from, TLes gave his all to this album. Other people say he reminds them of Robert Kelly and Jaheim. 

Lesole tells BG Style that he had to take his time to give the album the rhythm and all the good quality that it deserves. 

“This project is my heart. For you to understand my heart, you have to listen to it. It’s also about my excellent nature because I can be my worst critic,” he giggles.

Use me, the opening track from his previous album is a prayer request for God to use him to expand his kingdom as he avails himself. 

Though he is often referred to as ‘Pastor Lesole,’ TLes says that he does not have a church and is waiting for God to do His will in his life. He is not in any rush to open a church. Actually, ‘the preacher’s kid,’ himself, TLes says he grew up in church as one of the musicians. 

He released Grateful on his sixth wedding anniversary, being October 22, 2017. Though he says it has got nothing to do his matrimonial occasion, he remains thankful to his wife Angie Lesole whom he sings about in one of the songs called Angels. He is generally thanking her for her love and support throughout the years. He also gets to throw in some charming lines about her beauty. “Bontlenyane jwa gagwe o tshwana le mmaagwe.’ The soothing laughter of their two daughters can also be heard on the background of the song. 

“My wife is always supportive. She always pushes to be better and to get the work done,” he says.

They also have a duet where they express their love for each other.

Wena Fela is also a good song that expresses commitment to God. He also expressed the sovereignty of God in Busa Kgosi. He also reignites the love for hymns in a rack called Pela Tulo. More of You is a song about being empty before God and asking Him to fill you up with Himself. The rhythm alone changes the spiritual atmosphere. 

All in all, Grateful is one of the timeless melodies. It is worship at its best and expresses the highest level of intimacy with God. It offers joy, restoration and healing that are only found in God.

TLes says his vision is to see local Gospel music penetrate and collaborate with international artists. “I’ve sold myself to Gospel. I was born to glorify God through music,” he says. 

The 15 tracks album is expected to be launched this year. Copies are available at various stores, among them Molapo Crossing’s Street Horn, Cross Gold in Sebele Centre, and Lesedi Christian Centre. 

Published in Style
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:45

Hunter’s partners with AFSTEREO

Hunter’s, the real, natural cider has partnered with AFSTEREO Botswana in releasing a compilation titled Hunter’s Airplay Classics that aims to appreciate and revive memories of artists that shaped the urban music scene in Botswana.

Hunter’s is a category leader in ciders, and offers a refreshing alternative to Premium Beer. “Music plays a critical role as one of the brand pillars for Hunter’s, we saw it fit to not only do this compilation but to also acknowledge the artists that shaped urban music for Botswana youth,” said Lekgotla Ntshole, Trade Marketing Manager at Distell Botswana.

AFSTEREO Botswana is the leading supplier of real-time radio and television insights to the media, marketing research, auditing, regulatory and music industry in Botswana. 

According to David Moepeng, Managing Director at AFSTEREO Botswana, “Hunter’s Airplay Classics is another initiative by the company, in partnership with Hunter’s cider that aims to promote local music.” 

Through buying music rights from the record labels of the respective songs featured in the compilation, AFSTEREO Botswana is the publisher of the compilation. Moepeng added that the partnership was a result of the rapid growing interest in local music by Batswana.

Hunter’s prides itself in supporting local music and has embarked on a journey to be a small step in the right direction to inspire local artists to continue producing music and refreshing Batswana’s drinking occasions. 

Last year, Hunter’s and AFSTEREO Botswana partnership saw the release of their first compilation titled; Hunter’s Airplay Hits Vol.1 that contained Botswana’s most played songs in 2016 including music from artists such as Amantle Brown, Team Distant and Ban-T. “The strategy is to be relevant, as well as build emotional resonance with the new generation of influential consumers in the midst of ever changing market trends,” added Ntshole. 

The compilation brings together unparalleled combination of raw lyrical talent and productions that dominated airwaves in the early 2000s. The Hunter’s Airplay Classics compilation includes classics from Vee Mampeezy, Stagga, Scar, Zeus, Orakle and Mapetla. Songs were selected based on popularity and are in no particular order. “If all artists and their respective record labels allow us, we wish to release the Vol.2 of the classics next year because there’s so much music from back in the day that never got the opportunity to reach Batswana the way it can now,” added Moepeng. The compilation will be available for a 12-pack of any Hunter’s in selected Liquorama, Tops and Pick n Pay bottle stores nationwide.

 

Published in Style

The song ‘A re chencheng’ by musical prodigy Ratsie Setlhako is one of the most known created in pre-colonial Botswana. 

For many years, the song has played as prelude to the popular show Dipina le Maboko on government radio station, RB1. Ratsie Setlhako is a musical marvel, appreciated as one of the godfathers of folk music in Botswana. 

He has also been celebrated posthumously on various platforms. There is now a book that traces his roots, celebrates his musical artistry and tries to unpack the enigma that he is believed to have been. The book titled ‘Definitive biography of Ratsie Setlhako’ by Modirwa Kekwaletswe was launched in December 2017 to great acclaim. 

In an interview with BG Style, Kekwaletswe, who is a writer, visual artist and graphic designer, says that his interest in the life of Ratsie Setlhako was ignited while he was still a writer in the newsroom after he realised that there was little information about Ratsie Setlhako. The project would take him 18 years to complete. His first point of enquiry was Batho Molema who recorded Setlhako and other folk artistes, before Setlhako’s death. “Molema affirmed that I needed to do the project. He conceded that he recorded all these artistes but there was little time to talk about their history, their life and inspiration,” Kekwaletse points out. 

He bore the onus of finding out more and went to Setlhako’s home village Mokgware and also Palapye, Selebi Phikwe and Mahalapye, where the artiste spent a lot of time. When the initial book draft was complete, Kekwaletswe thought he had a solid project and was ready to publish but it was still lacking in substance and depth – he needed more information. “However, my funds were running out so I sourced funding to complete the project,” he recalls. Kekwaletswe received a P610, 000 grant from Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) to complete the project, which includes a book and documentary. 

Ratsie Setlhako was born in 1890 in Mokgware village, and was of the Mosokola regiment (also known as Mophato) at a time when the tsie (locust) was rife: hence he was fittingly named Ratsie. He grew up to be a herd boy and he taught himself how to play the segaba, widely considered an African zither. His music was appreciated in his later years as he was invited to play across the country.  Throughout his research, Kekwaletse unravelled interesting bits of information about Ratsie Setlhako. “For one, I established that he was a Mokaa from the Barolong, who were later, moved to the north by Kgosi Kgama III,” he says. But it is his music that stands out. Kekwaletswe says: “His music is complex, and boasts rich analysis. The use of words and synopsis is outstanding – he was exceptionally talented.” He further points out that Ratsie Setlhako did not rely on imagination but sang about real incidents, scenarios and people.  “He used people’s names in the songs. These were not random names but of people related to his lifestyle,” he says. He also notes that Ratsie Setlhako was one of the first Batswana to appreciate that music can be a career. 

“From Lobatse to Old Naledi to Phikwe and Nata, he traversed Botswana performing and was appreciated for it.” 

Ratsie Setlhako’s made his spiritual transition after he died in a road accident in Palapye and was buried in the same village. Although little is shared about his private life, Ratsie Setlhako is believed to have had an intimate partner who bore him three children. The woman would later bundle up the children off to South Africa. The woman is said to have passed on, together with two of the children, at different stages. Ratsie Setlhako then found a partner in Garelekane Morakane, who received the Presidential Honour on his behalf in 1979/80. There is also a primary school in Palapye named after the artiste.  Kekwaletswe says they are still working on getting the book around the country and would soon have it available in major bookstores. 

Call 71 32 19 72 to order a copy of the book. 

Published in Style
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:39

A visit to the Samora Machel museum site

The thought of being a tourist in your own backyard can come across as silly but there is much to learn about our history, politics and lifestyle within our midst.  

It was not until recently that I realised that despite coming from the shantytown of Lobatse, and visiting the town time and again, I had never taken time out to appreciate the historical value of the town. After all, the Fish Keitseng Monument and upcoming Samora Machel Museum are situated in the township of Peleng, which is the heart of the town. 

So I trekked to Peleng and wound up at the Kgaboesele homestead, where I learnt more about the relationship between the family and Samora Machel, which has cemented Botswana’s ties with Mozambique. The Kgaboesele family accommodated former president of Mozambique, Machel, during the Mozambican liberation struggle. 

Appreciating the significance of this gesture, the Mozambique government decided to transform the family’s house into a museum, and build the family a home in nearby Thema. The construction of the Samora Machel Museum is already at an advanced stage, said to be financed to a tune of one million Pula to kick-start the momentous project, pledged by Mozambique officials. 

Although developments have already started to make the site a fully fledged monument and museum, a great part of the historical ramble architecture remains, giving any visitor a feel of the original home. It was here that the first store in the town was situated. Lobatse protected all several freedom fighters including Samora Machel, Sam Nujoma and Nelson Mandela—it was a safe place for comrades whose “crime” was to fight social injustices and racial segregation in their respective countries. 

Not even Batswana were sparred because some of them were victims of the raids by the brutal apartheid regime. At first sight, one would easily miss the structure. It lies desolate in the lower part of Peleng. There is an assistant on hand to take guests through the area. There is a profound eerie atmosphere inside the room that Machel apparently lived and slept in. 

It is so small and dark that I couldn’t help but wonder if he ever felt claustrophobic. What does one do for hours on end lying on a narrow bed in such a small room? On one side is a basin stand, where he probably washed. There are old tattered suitcases on another corner, which he apparently carried the few personal items in.  The yard is a traditional old-fashioned structural set-up 

The house is situated next to a popular bar known as Ko ga Lemmy (Lemmy’s bar) which hosts the best jazz sessions in the small town. There isn’t a lot of traffic into the museum facility, and in fact, most residents seem uninterested in the place, perhaps oblivious to the fact that they are living in the midst of a giant historical marvel and do not know how to tap into the financial potential of urban tourism in the area through celebrating the unique township culture of Peleng. 

One thing stands out – the kinship among the people. There is a sense of love and serenity and a prevailing spirit of community, which probably spurred the people to protect the freedom fighters and accept them as one of their own. The Samora Machel museum stands majestically to serve as a reminder of this. 

Published in Style
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:37

My pilgrimage to Motlollo farm

Growing up, this young man has always been at the gates of the temple serving one way or the other because the parents had been senior ministers of the gospel in the church. 

It did not occur to me that one day I would feel hungry to pursue a much closer encounter with the creator because I had thought what I had through my parents was enough.

The journey to seek spiritual transition began with a visit to Motlollo, South Africa a farm formerly known as Vogelstruisdraai farm that plays headquarters to St John’s Apostolic Church of Prophecy. Every year more than 100 000 people visit the place from all corners of South Africa on pilgrimage and other spiritual needs.

While many people were making plans for the New Year’s celebrations happening later in the evening, my 31st December 2017 begins at 4am with packing up all the necessities vital for survival in the next 10 days of fasting and prayer. My intention is to catch a 7am bus at the Sikwane Boarder Post travelling to Rustenburg. The anxiety of going to hitch-hike at the Taung hiking spot in Gaborone starts to kick in because of its unending stories of crime.

I immediately get a ride upon my arrival at the hiking place that goes directly to Sikwane. The youthful driver to the boarder becomes an irritant for his now and then howling and hooting at young ladies on bus stops and asking for an opinion from me on the desired ladies but we eventually arrive safely and part.

At the boarder, I realise I have missed the bus and I am forced to hike again on the almost deserted boarder post for its underdeveloped gravel road. My hopes of making it on time for the Sunday service are reduced as more and more hours pass without any cars coming through.  Eventually at about 1000am, four hours after my arrival at the boarder I am offered to go on the Obakeng police van that passes at my desired destination. The journey in the canopy-covered bakkie is not as uncomfortable as I had anticipated because my eyes are entertained by the wild animals from the Madikwe Game Reserve as we drive on the gravel road.

Motlollo church bell rings signalling time for the 11am church service as I finally arrive at the holy place. The two police officers require no payment for their service and they speed off into the dusty road the moment I have offloaded all my belongings.

Motlollo is the second headquarters for the church. It came into being after the Dr Masango’s faction took over the Evaton church building and the founding member Prophetess Christinah Nku was forced to look for a different place of worship following a court ruling that favoured Masango in 1967.

The place is renowned for hosting big names like South African President Jacob Zuma, Deborah (Gospel artist) and even the youth’s favourite artiste, Cassper Nyovest. The Motlollo Mountains create a pleasant background for the 5 000 capacity church hall which was built by Dr Johannes Nku in 1976 and opened in 1977.

The main aim of my journey can now begin in earnest. For the next seven days I am expected to attend church services at 4am, 9am, 3pm and 7pm everyday without fail. The most uncomfortable of all services is the 4am service where members walk to the temple in the early hours of day to meditate in prayer while chanting “pass me not” in between but I push myself everyday to attend it because of the transformation I am seeking .

The sermon that changed my life altogether in one of the Sunday services was delivered by the Lady Archbishop Mrs Pearl Ramokoka who is also Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. The Kanye born Ramokoka taught about New Year’s resolutions. She said that God has already given resolutions for all people under his belt. All we had to do was commit to his laws in the New Year as given to Moses in Exodus 20 then the world would comply with what we desired.

The rest of the services are just a walk in the park because of their lack of discomfort. Every service has a particular procedure in which it is held and the hymns sang range from English, Sotho, Tswana and Xhosa to accommodate people from all walks of life. Most of the services are conducted with brass band music and the headquarter choir giving opening choral melodies. One of the bands hails from Botswana under the Gaborone Branch. I felt a sense of belonging every time they serenaded the congregants.  

Besides attending church services I find a quiet spot and usually I would pick the kids’ swings close to the cemetery to do personal development. My personal development sessions lasts for about two hours everyday during which I listen to Jim Rohn’s audio books or make affirmations as prepared by life coach, Danny Lena.

Sometimes I help clean the church yard or help find wood for the kitchen ladies and they give their blessings every time I help them complete a task. My favourite task is helping them cook so I can have a much bigger plate of food, especially meat. My sleeping place is a small camping tent that accommodates two people, most of the space is taken up by my large luggage bags leaving very little room for sleep but I keep referring to the spiritual growth I seek by coming over every moment I feel I am torturing myself.During the next 10 days my meals range from all kinds of tin stuff, bread, soup porridge prepared by the church kitchen every morning while one of the most discomforting things about the trip is the bath place! There is no place prepared particularly for bathing and we are all forced to go to the woods for a self-clean moment. The woods scare me because of their possession of many kinds of snakes around but I force myself to go anyway.

I am tasked to compose a song by the church leadership for the kids for their annual New Year’s party and I deliver the expectation with precocity because I want a beautiful rendition. The kids perform to expectation leaving me in excitement as I see the fruits of growth I had come all the way from Botswana for.On the 7th day in Motlollo I decide to must join the headquarters choir and am amused by the level of love and welcoming atmosphere created for me by the members whose ages range between 35 and 80. The choir is made up of church members residing in Motlollo who are usually different servers in all spheres of the church.

There are different elders everywhere in the Motlollo grounds who are always willing to guide worshippers on the different church rules they are expected to observe in the place. One rule that struck me was that during Wednesdays and Fridays no one is supposed to take meat but food with vegetables or gravy only. This is to signify the days as holy and to use them for fervent praying.The journey back home is a pleasant one and much more comfortable than getting to Motlollo. We start off by going on water in the swimming pool built for baptism and I am baptised before we can journey back home. I get a ride back home from one of the church members from Botswana and I am feeling contented because all that I had come for have been realised.

I am a new spiritual being altogether.

Published in Style

A five-person Panel of Court of Appeal Judges was Wednesday itching to make a comment in their ruling in the controversial sedition case against veteran investigative journalist and editor of Sunday Standard, Outsa Mokone.

Despite repeated protestations by Mokone’s attorney, Dick Bayford of Bayford & Associates, that it would be improper to do so since the matter is before the trial court, the Judges nonetheless made tacit and suggestive comments, which may border on influence peddling.

Mokone has approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the High Court, which ruled that Sections 50 and 51 of the Penal Code are consistent with the Constitution and his warrant of arrest in 2014 was lawfully issued and executed. 

Mokone was arrested after his publication carried a story in August 2014 headlined ‘President hit in car accident while driving alone at night’. The author of the story Edgar Tsimane has since fled the country allegedly fearing for his life after a tip-off.  A warrant of arrest was applied for by government through Attorney General and was issued on the 2nd of September 2014 by Gaborone Magistrate Court for alleged violation of Section 51 of the Penal Code for committing the act of Sedition.  On Wednesday the five Court of Appeal judges asked Mokone’s lawyer, Dick Bayford if it would be wrong for them to make a comment in their ruling regarding the conduct of his client. Bayford argued that it would not be procedural for the court to make such a comment since the case of sedition is still at the Magistrate court. 

Proceedings of the trial court on the case have been suspended pending the finalisation of the current case in which Mokone is challenging the Sections of the Penal Code that deals with Sedition and the warrant of arrest. “We want to comment on the matter of principle regarding the conduct of your client. Is it not the duty of the editor to have cross-checked the facts? He only checked with the journalist who wrote the story. People who were involved when the alleged accident happened were not followed up on because they denied what was said to have happened in the published article. We have to look at the matter of principle,” said Justice Isaac Lesetedi. Bayford said procedurally it would be incorrect because the Appeals Court is not seized with the matter and it is only the trial court that can deal with it. Bayford indicated that the Court of Appeal should only confine itself with the matter before it and not go beyond its mandate.  The judges seemed not convinced by Bayford’s argument reiterating that they do not see what harm would be done to Mokone’s case if the panel could make a comment. “If the police are not above the law, so is the press,” said newly appointed Judge, Justice Fritz Brand. 

Judge President of the Court of Appeal Ian Kirby raised concern that the article contained serious allegations about the President, which allegations the Commissioner of Police says were inaccurate.  He said the article contained allegations that the president tried to bribe the witness not to report the matter. Bayford however stood his ground that it would be incorrect for the court to comment on the matter which is before the trial court. He further stated that the issue of cross-checking the facts with sources could not be done. He stated that the journalist who wrote the story has not deposed of an affidavit.  The court is expected to deliver its judgement on the appeal next month. Mokone through his lawyer wants the appeals court to make a declaration for future directions on whether or not the warrant of arrest issued by the Chief Magistrate for Gaborone Administrative District for his arrest was applied for and issued lawfully; whether in the circumstances the same empowered the police to detain him; whether the provisions of Section 50 and 51 of the Penal Court are ultra vires Section 12 of the Constitution of Botswana; whether the 4 hour 40 minutes ‘delay’ on the night of the 8th of September 2014 outside of visiting hours allow Mokone to consult with members of Bayford and & Associates (his attorneys) constituted an infringement of Mokone’s right to legal representation as enshrined under Section 10 of the Constitution?

According to Penal Code (Cap 08:01) Section 50 (1), a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the person of the President or the Government of Botswana as established by law; to excite the inhabitants of Botswana to attempt to procure the alternation, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Botswana as established.  

If found guilty a person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and such a publication shall be forfeited to the state. Section 51 (5) of the same Act states that when a proprietor, publisher, printer or editor of a newspaper is convicted of printing or publishing a seditious publication in a newspaper, the court may in addition to any other punishment it may impose, and whether or not it has made an order under subsection (4) make an order prohibiting any further publication of the newspaper for a period not exceeding one year.

Published in News

Recent economic data from Botswana shows that the country is bucking the trend of surrounding Southern African countries, growing by 3.2 percent for the year ending in June 2017. One of the biggest non-mining sectors showing a lot of potential is the financial services sector, which had an interesting year.

 To begin with, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) and Bank Gaborone opened new branches; Ford Finance developed partnerships in Botswana, and the Southern African operation of Zurich Insurance, now known as Bryte Insurance, launched in Gaborone in February with the intention of expanding into other African countries. 

Fintech is also taking root in Botswana, with companies like Direct Pay Online opening shop in April, while cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets are gaining more users and offering greater financial inclusion to consumers in the country. 

 This investment is good news for a sector that has demonstrated over several years that it is stable and robust. According to the African Economic Outlook 2017, Botswana has been making steady progress in increasing access to financial services for its population. Since 2009, the banked population has increased by 25 percent. 

From a low base, cell phone banking rose by over 370 percent and Internet banking by 200 percent during the same period. This growth in the sector is good news, too, for employment, which continues to be a challenge for the Botswana economy. 

While unemployment is starting to show a slight decrease according to the latest statistics, it is still considered to be too high at 17 percent. Botswana suffered historic job losses following the global financial crisis, especially in the mining sector. State owned enterprises have also retrenched hundreds of employees over the past decade.

 The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for accounting professionals in the country – the bad news is that there are not currently enough people able to take these up. The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) says there is a huge need for chartered accountants, professionals and technicians. 

There are currently 3,136 registered BICA members (1,223 accounting professionals and 1,913 being accounting technicians) which falls short of demand. The shortage means that Botswana has to import expatriates for accounting services. Many qualified accountants also leave the country to work overseas.

 To take advantage of growth in this sector in order to reduce unemployment in the country, more needs to be done to ensure that people – especially young people – have the relevant skills and are encouraged to consider a career in the financial sector. 

Many young people, for instance assume because they are not strong in mathematics at school that finance is not a viable career option for them, but this is in fact not the case. Many thousands of accounting students graduate each year around the world and many of them did not have an A-level in Maths when they started their studies.

 

So what can government do? 

According to the African Economic Outlook, the Botswana government is already doing a good job of creating an enabling environment for business and ensuring good regulation and oversight of the sector – considered vital for its continued growth. The 2016/17 Global Competitiveness Report ranked the country 65 out of 138 in financial market development.

 Government can also intervene more directly in targeted skills development such as it did in 2016, when the Department of Tertiary Financing sponsored 600 students in studies with AAT (the Association of Accounting Technicians) to equip them with skills to work in the fast-growing financial services market.

 AAT is not new to Botswana. It is the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for vocational accountants and has offered its AAT Accounting Qualifications in Botswana to over 4,000 students a year – the largest cohort of students outside the UK – for 26 years. 

AAT works with the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), to give students the opportunity to gain practical skills that fast track their careers in finance - without the need to go to university or study for many years.

 While government involvement is critical, the private sector and business networks also need to step up to create opportunities for employment and advancement in the industry – in the form of internships and other opportunities – or by investing in their employees directly to upskill them.

 Such an approach benefitted Pyoka Mfuni, a manager at accounting and auditing giant Grant Thornton. Mfuni says that after finishing high school, he noticed that many jobs advertised were finance and audit related so he decided to pursue a career in the field. 

“That was when I discovered the AAT course at the Botswana Accountancy College. It was shorter than and relatively as good as an accounting degree.” After successfully completing his studies he was able to secure a foot on the ladder that led to his current role.

 It is possible to replicate this success story. 

The World Bank report, Doing Business 2017, ranks Botswana among Africa’s best performers. For the second successive year, the country’s ranking improved, from 72 to 71 out of 190 economies (from 74 to 72 in the previous year), making it the third best performer in Africa. The country is poised for growth and with the right investment and training, its people can take advantage of this.The added advantage of investing in financial skills is not only will it boost the finance sector itself, it is also good for business and entrepreneurship more broadly, fuelling the growth of the economy in other sectors too. 

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Botswana has one of the most entrepreneurial populations in Africa, but a lack of financial skills is holding it back from making a greater impact on the economy.

 The message is clear, investing in finance skills makes sense and should be a priority for business and government alike in 2018. 

With wise investment and by working together, they can continue to ride the wave of growth towards low unemployment and a high tech future!

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:08

Botho University to retrench 100 workers

A staff layoff is expected at Botho University this year, the institution has said.

While details in the Monday press release are still sketchy about how many people will lose their jobs, Botswana Guardian has learnt that close to 100 people are going to be retrenched from the university’s two campuses in Gaborone and Francistown. 

Botho University has a staff complement of around 400 people. “The current infrastructure and human capital provides for far more students than we currently have enrolled between the two campuses, Gaborone and Francistown. We have tried to redeploy excess staff in various departments to other functions of the university but there is a limit to doing this since there are (sic) still excess staff in most functions in both campuses,” states the press release. 

The university management says the university has been affected by the decline in numbers of students that enrolled between 2014 and 2017, although the figure was not provided. The combined effect of the reduced student numbers, stagnant fees and increasing costs of operation puts immense pressure on the institution, says management. “The university has been considering possible solutions to these challenges as we need to be financially viable to deliver our mandate,” states the letter hinting on the restructuring exercise and also sharing that after embarking on it, they would be able to forge ahead with new sustainable growth strategy that looks at new programmes and new geographies to expand into.The institution had it tough last year with students protesting against unaccredited courses, and suspension of students. At one point, the university closed down after some Gaborone campus students allegedly burnt down a tree and closed the road thereby preventing vehicles movement next to the roundabout.

Published in News
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:06

15 sacked ABM lecturers cry foul

Over 15 full-time lecturers and other administrative staff at the ABM University in Gaborone have been terminated without warning, Botswana Guardian is reliably informed.

All the employees had contracts that had ended and were still awaiting review. Sources told this publication that the sackings happen at a time when most if not all of the lecturers had been working for over nine months after their contracts had elapsed.

A lecturer that preferred anonymity shared that their contracts had elapsed in February 2017, and that they received their terminal benefits in April 2017 respectively. 

However; he said that the employer did not communicate as to whether their contracts would be reviewed or not. Even then, he said they still received monthly pay until December 22 when the announcement of ‘lay-offs’ were made.

While it seems that contracts had automatically assumed the character of the previous ones, the aggrieved lecturers express anguish at their employer’s lack of regard in the matter  at hand. 

“Our letters simply say, our contracts cannot be renewed but we have all been under the impression that they will be renewed as we have been working and getting our salaries as per the previous arrangement.” 

In fact they say, the letters that were handed over in December should have long been handed over before contracts ended, something they regard as “crafty and unlawful”.

Another aggrieved employee maintained that the process of ‘laying off’ was also done without regard to due process. “We were not warned or even made aware that this would happen.” In fact, she says on that fateful day, a meeting was called only for them to be told that their contracts would be terminated and January would be their last month as employees as a result of the ‘current financial situation’.

"We demand that we be fairly dismissed. We demand that our benefits be calculated aptly with complete regard to the time we worked out of contract.”Executive Director of ABM University Daisy Molefhi was not available at the time of going to print. Her secretary said her boss was repeatedly in and out of meetings. The publication was later referred to the Human Resource Manager who was unavailable at the time the call was made. While ABM university college continues to grow in leaps and bounds, it faces an extreme shortage of lecturers. Last year the institution launched its Entrepreneurship Development Centre which is located in Gaphatshwa.

The aim of the centre is to promote youth entrepreneurship activities by students and alumni by providing a network of like-minded resources who may help sustain both the passion and provide ideas on entrepreneurship. It is currently receiving admissions for 2018 batch of students.

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