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Letso breaks the mould and tells stories through a lens

Keletso Thobega

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Letso ‘Lets’ Leipego has over the years cultivated and refined his artistic talent through drawing, painting and photography. The prolific photographer tells Vibe that he makes art because he wants his inner voice to be heard. “Everyone has a story to tell and I am telling mine.

I think the strength of my work lies in the ability to communicate my personal expression based on my personal experiences and situations I encounter. This means me finding myself as I listen to and interpret people’s stories through my lens,” he says. Leipego points out that he only started to specialise in photography after graduating with a Degree in Advertising from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Botswana. His love for artistic storytelling however comes way back. “I don’t remember not doing art. I believe art is the best talent that I have and something that I feel most comfortable doing and talking about.

It allows me to break rules, and make new rules and break them again, yet live a life of contentment and satisfaction.” Leipego explains that he is enamoured by many photographers and doesn’t confine himself to a particular genre. “There is always something to appreciate from creatives across Africa. I believe that every artist has their own unique way of expressing their artistic feeling, which has tremendously added to their initial style.” He points out that he draws inspiration from what he hears and sees. “It could be anything, from an old man sitting on a chair or children playing.

My photography is mostly based on things the eye tends to overlook.” He further explains that his photography stories emphasise on giving people an identity. “I want my path to be in keeping with my tradition because most of our African stories deserve to be told. It is important for us and the younger generation to understand where we are coming from and where we are going.” Leipego’s solo exhibition opens tonight at Guns and Rain Gallery in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a huge feat but he is chilled about it, pointing out that it makes sense to showcase there as South Africa has filled the gap left behind in African contemporary art, compared to other African countries.

Leipego wants to one day see himself as an ambassador of contemporary arts in Botswana. “I would like to guide and develop upcoming artists so that Botswana could be recognised in the arts industry globally.” He notes that government and private sector should invest more in building art institutions that can help Batswana learn and understand the different aspects of art (practical, theoretical and the business element). “I believe that this would improve our artistic landscape and also change our mentalities about art and how we view the culture industry.”

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BOSJE elevates jazz education in Botswana

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CHANGING LIVES: Music has the power to empower youth.

The Botswana Society of Jazz Education (BOSJE) will host the 9th annual International Jazz Day for the 3rd time this year at the Maitisong theatre. According to the founding chairperson Akhutlheng Mogami, the society was formed to create a platform for jazz musicians and aspiring jazz musicians to grow and share ideas and even have their work documented.

“As a society, we have realized a need for jazz education. There is also no documentation about jazz in Botswana, which makes it difficult for both the teachers and students when it comes to teaching and learning about jazz as there is no local content to refer to. It is also for purposes of funding applications to run workshops and host festivals and exchange programs that we needed to have a legally registered nonprofit making entity as this one,” she said.

BOSJE was officially registered on the 31st of August 2015 with the registrar of societies and some its objectives include to ensure the growth of Jazz in Botswana and development of jazz education; to build jazz community by advancing education and research; to document, preserve and archive our Botswana jazz heritage; to promote skills development and performance through jazz camps, exchange programs and jazz shows and festivals, and to also develop new audiences.

In January 2017 the society formed a youth jazz big band (Big Bands). Mogami noted that they managed to bring together young people from all walks of life to teach them about jazz and how to play jazz. Since then, the band has been growing substantially both musically and professionally. She noted that The Big Bands in Botswana project which aims to put together jazz bands in schools and communities all over the country. “The project brings together young people and teaches them to play music in an ensemble set up.

The project commenced on the 15th of February 2019 with the primary objective of this project is to bring positive social change through music. Children who are involved in this music program receive a music education, which we believe will lead them to improved overall academic success. The children will also learn the essential skills needed for the 21st century workforce.

In addition to that, these children will also have a platform to exercise their creativity, and all this will in turn grow their confidence.” The band has graced the Masire foundation annual gala dinner, International Jazz Day, Annual De Beers sight holders Dinner, and Gaborone toastmasters among others.

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Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego drop love sin gle

The MidweekSun Admin

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NEW OFFERING: Benson & Diva Vebrok’s listening session rocked

Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego recently released their joint single titled Ha o ka leba. The two launched the song at a listening session at Greenberry Gardens. Music artists including Nono, Franco and promoters PP and Gloria Dzwikiti as well as other industry role players flocked the venue to listen to what the two have to offer and they were not disappointed.

The single is good quality – from the melody, lyrics, rthyme and production. The divine diva Diva Vebrok adds a golden touch with her smooth voice while the bold and eloquent Phutego’s voice complements hers as he breaks out into poetry.

Director of ceremony at the listening session Berry Heart also kept the crowd galvanised throughout the night with her energetic spirit. President of Music Promotions Zenzele Hirschfield expressed appreciation for the support rendered to the two and highlighted that it is important for artists to support one another. “I am honoured to see that that many people in the local music industry have come out to support their fellow artists.

This means a lot and we really need to unite as artists all the time,” she said. She sang praises for Diva Vebrok who she said was passionate and hard working. “She is more than just an artist but also an influencer and entrepreneur. She is one of the women in the music industry who work hard and never give up on their craft,” she said.

Phutego impressed the crowd with his words of wisdom as he appreciated being featured by Ve brok on the single. “It was great working with her as she is passionate and hard working. Women are the pillars of society and as such they should be respected. I have no regrets about this project because I am confident that we produced a great love song.”

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