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Excitement mounts ahead of inaugural Gabs Book Festival

Keletso Thobega

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It is all systems go for the inaugural Gaborone Book Festival (GBF), which will be held from the 21-22 September 2018 at Maitisong. The two-day book festival will feature panels, talks, readings, conversations, book chats, book launches and book sales all headlined by the featured local and guest authors.

The opening night on Friday evening will feature authors Michael Dingake, Margaret Daymond, Brigitta Zwani and Nsungululi Mbo. Dingake will focus on his biography and there will be readings of selected Bessie Head letters and interpretation by author Daymond. There will also be an authors meet and greet as well as book sales.

The organisers, GBF Trust states that confirmed featured authors are Lauri Kubuitsile, Michael Dingake, Andrew Sesinyi, Ednah Rosen, Modirwa Kekwaletswe, Donald Molosi, Brigitta Zwani, Tomeletso Sereetsi, Thalefang Charles, Monirul Bhuiyan, Nelson Letshwene,  Kgomotso Jongman and Bongani Malunga. From across the continent, the confirmed authors are Lola Shoneyin, Margaret Daymond, Zukiswa Wanner,Victor Kgomoeswana, Esinako Ndabeni, Sihle Mthembu, Niq Mhlongo as well as publisher, Thabiso Mahlape. The organisers say that they wanted to feature authors whose books cover a wide range of themes and topics. The 22 September, which is the main festival day, will kickstart with a writers’ seminar involving all those in the book ecosystem. The seminar will cover issues of marketing and publishing.

According to one of the organisers, Kenanao Phele, an exciting programme will follow this for all, filled with panel discussions, conversations, inspirational book chats, readings and book sales amongst others.

“With the diversity and experience of the authors, the festival touch on varied, in depth topics highlighted by featured authors including culture, music, fiction, travelogues, memoirs, politics, mental health, culinary and cuisine. Furthermore, the festival will also have a fun and exciting space for 100 students from government primary schools, a section made possible by the Orange Foundation,” she says.

She further says that since the beginning of this year, the GBF Trust has been involved in a number of book related activities to get readers in the city and beyond ready for the festival. On the criteria for selecting the authors, she says that the Trust was looking for authors who have been part of GBF platforms in 2018, who have written on important topics/themes that are conversation sparkers, books that have made a mark in Botswana, across the continent, beyond and are some award winning. “Some of our guest authors are celebrated or award winning.

We would also like to feature similar local authors on our platforms to introduce them to more and new readers as well as show them the possibilities that exist for them in the continent and beyond as they interact with the guest authors and publishers.”

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Making outstanding art through waste material

Keletso Thobega

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Following one’s vocational calling can be a tall order in a world that still believes that white-collar work is the only way to make a living. No one knows this better than 28-year-old Khumoyame

Addam Ndove, who is a police officer by profession and an artist by vocation. While he is committed to his work as a law enforcer he dedicates most of his free time to making art. Ndove runs a company called Craft-eyed Designs which specialises in upholstery designing, artistic furniture and décor ornaments, mostly made out of waste materials such as empty oil drums, tyres and pallets, among others. The Francistown born and raised lad tells Vibe that his artistic journey started with a passion he had for art and using recycled material to create distinct new pieces.

One day he got an idea to try out a few art works and he went out to collect raw material and got down to work. “I knew I was talented in hand craft but had never explored my potential. I was impressed with what I managed to do. My work was interesting and outstanding. I also received positive feedback from the public and realised that this was something I could do out of passion and to complement my earnings,” he says.

Ndove explains that Art is a way of expressing himself. “I enjoy art because that is how I communicate and share what is in my mind.” He points out that he is also a businessman so selling his craft was not too difficult as he has the acumen. He however notes that the biggest challenge he faces is that a large number of Batswana do not appreciate art and therefore do not recognise the value of his work. Other challenges he faces include lack of operational space and shortage of capital.

He says that shortage of raw materials limits him from unleashing his full creative potential. Ndove currently runs his company alone and juggles it with his day job. He hopes to one day get an investor to bolster his business so that he can employ other people and grow the enterprise. “I would like to get a spacious workshop and showroom, and also hire relevant employees.” But doing what he loves makes him content. “Bringing an idea to life makes me fulfilled. I always feel great when I see my finished products.”

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BOMU awards go on…

Keletso Thobega

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The 10th annual Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards will be held on 26 January 2019 at GICC. Revellers should expect performances from Lister Boleseng, Nono Siile, Perion, Slizer, Matheke Letane and Kwaito Nation among others. Tickets are said to be already on sale through Webtickets.

The awards will also be broadcasts.
Over the past few weeks there has been confusion over whether the awards will go and this week Phemelo ‘Fresh Les’ Lesokwane officially confirmed that it is all systems go. Artists caused a stir this week on social media when they indicated that was confusion and miscommunication around the awards. But Lesokwane insists that there is nothing confusing going on as the interim committee had been planning the awards for a while now, and had even roped in sponsors.

He said that the awards had been organised since last week but they had to change the date due to a few glitches. Lesokwane says that they had opted for the people’s choice approach to awards. “We have given the public the power to decide who they want to vote for under the different categories. What happens is that when you vote you sms the category and name of the artist to 16565. We are then going to tally the votes when voting lines close on 23 January 2019.

We will then cut down the number of entries based on the number of votes. This will make the process easier for our judges, who will listen to the artists’ CDs and give them points.” He further said that having a high number of votes would not automatically mean that an artist makes it. “One might have many votes but with low quality music and we consider that. We are looking at quality
Lesokwane said that when former chairperson Pagson Ntsie was outsed, the awards were still open. “Registration is still on at BOMU office in Kgolagano at Main mall. Those who had registered can check their documentation.”

Last year BOMU was wrecked by infightings following a ruling that Pagson Ntsie is not the legitimate chairperson of the music body. The ruling was passed in August by the Registrar of Societies. The ruling came following investigations regarding adherence to the BOMU Constitution and corruption claims. Accusations of financial mismanagement and poor leadership also cropped up.

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