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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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Motlha to finally release debut album

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Trendsetting songbird Motlha is pencilled to release his solo album in February next year. Motlha is signed under Rok Lefatshe Records. The album will be produced by Suffocate. The vibrant singer currentlyhas three singles out and they include Hisa Hisa (featuring ATI), Mmamotse (which catapulted him to the top of the charts) as well as Nnenekwane.

Speaking in an interview with this publication last week ahead of his debut at the Mascom Live Sessions event featuring Bongo Maffin, he revealed that he started work on music for his debut album right after the release of Mmamotse.

He also says that the album is still a work in progress, and that he is yet to finalise the final list of songs that will make it into the album, as well as the name of the album. Ï am still eliminating and adding songs,” he explains.

He further says that his fans should look forward to collaborations with artists such as Zanda Zakusa (South Africa) and Soul Culture (also from South Africa). He reveals that he wants to work with a lot of artists who are in line with his vision.

He also notes that it is difficult for him to identify his genre. Some he says, classify his music as Afro Jazz, other Jazz with a fusion of RnB. Ï am still trying to classify my genre, and I might have to come up with a name for my sound,” he notes.His goal, he says, is to make music that touches and changes lives in a postive way. “I want to empower people through music.”

Meanwhile, Motlha proved his mettle as a stage performer of note when he put on an impressive performance at the Mascom Live sessions this past Friday.He gave revellers their money’s worth and many cheered and sang along throughout his energetic performance.

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Kokoamokoko entrances poetry lovers at his wedding

Irene Shone

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TALENTED: The recently married poet is working on a new album.

Former President’s Day competitions poetry award winner Okabo Gaopelo, also known as Kokoamokoko, tied the knot in style this past weekend in Mankgodi. The energetic performer could not help but serenade guests with his rich Setswana poetic rhythm. The superb poet better known as ‘Kokoamokoko’ planned on enjoying his day while listening to other poets doing what he loves best.

A variety of poets made his day as they added the cherry to the blissful wedding by presenting poems to him. While he had sworn that he would not recite any poem, his talent itched to be shared and he asked for the mic and gladly presented poetic verses, singing praises to his gorgeous wife.

The guests cheered him in amusement, imitating his usual line “Ke kokoamokoko weeee.”Gaopelo glamorously rocked his traditional attire that he normally use for his poetic sessions, saying that it is his signature for the love of arts. The bridesmaids and groomsmen also looked the part in the African attire, and they danced magnificently, showing off their well-choreographed moves.

They danced to the poet’ traditional song Ao ntate, from his album Tswhwarelo. Gaopelo told Vibe that he performed his work on his wedding day in order to motivate upcoming artistes who enjoy poetry and traditional music. He pointed out that many people think that many people seem to think that musicians and other arts practitioners do it to earn a living, but that is not the case.

“I wanted to show that we also do this out of passion and to showcase our talent. It really felt wonderful to perform for my wife and guests, and to also dance to my own song on my wedding day.” Gaopelo added that he plans to release another album next year.

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