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BOTSWANA MARTIAL ARTS FILM COMING SOON

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A United States based Motswana author and filmmaker of repute, Sebati Mafate is producing and directing a martial arts action packed adventure film dubbed, Blood Brothers.

If the script – partly shared with the Midweek Sun in confidence – is anything to go by, then all can brace themselves for a world-class film whose filming is scheduled to start in March 2016. Apart from the film being directed by a Motswana, Ricardo Mokwena will be given an opportunity to shine among international talents as he is not only playing the part of a supporting role but is also an associate producer.

Mokwena will be flying to Los Angeles early January for a post-production meeting with the rest of the team and preparation for his film role. The film will be shot on location with African scenes being shot in Maun while USA scenes will be done in Los Angeles.

The film story
The story unfolds in Maun, where there is an ardent manhunt for the abominable poacher Swahili (played by Cameroonian actor producer Henry Obama) and his henchmen; one of them Ntemwa -played by yet another local, Ricardo Mokwena) who are hunted by the Botswana Defence Force  (BDF) for their crimes.
We are then brought to the main theme of the film, which is awareness of wildlife slaughter for personal financial gain with the idea being to shed light on the horrors of poaching.

Through the series of events we see the two brothers one black another white (to be played preferably by Michael Jai White and Anton Kasabov) caught up in a chain of poaching, murder, robbery, political conspiracy and the fight for their lives. They flee Botswana to Los Angeles to seek refuge from their uncle (to be played preferably by Chuck Norris). There they get entangled in a plot to assassinate a man who is running for governor- the assassin will be played by Taemi K Kim).

Mokwena revealed that even though well-known faces from across the globe will be featured in the film special preference will be given to Batswana. “We have had numerous film projects in Botswana, but none of the Batswana were given serious acting roles. With Blood Brothers it is safe to say that this will not be the case” he said.

Author inspired by Khama
Speaking to The Midweek Sun producer and script writer Mafate said the script concept was inspired by President Ian Khama’s commitment to protect wildlife to an extent of issuing a directive of taking the fight to the poachers by involving the army; the idea of having two Batswana boys, one white the other black, as the central characters. He says the element of multiracialism adds credence to the fact that, “We are indeed a blue, black, and white country.” That is how Blood Brothers-the film was born.

“This will also make way for our culture to be exposed, not only through the background scenery in camera shots and variety of colorful characters but also through our local music which will be added into the motion picture. The sound score team will carefully arrange and select local music to be used in some certain scenes, music that strongly reflects our culture suitable for an international audience.”

Mafate said the film comprises of many themes to keep the audience enticed although the main theme is the fight against poaching; other themes will range from self-discovery, greed, rejection, importance of family, forgiveness, inferiority complex, to racism and others all crammed up in the film to give you an explosive on screen experience.

The good
Speaking to The Midweek Sun, the excited Mokwena revealed that the film will help our tourism industry and put it on the world map. “This is my first feature film as an actor and associate producer shadowing Mafate.

It was a childhood dream to do this and heavily influenced by Mafate himself my style of film making is also derived from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), Stanley Kubrick (Full Metal Jacket), Michael Mann (Collateral, Last of the Mohicans), Robert Zemeckis, (Cas Away), Mel Gibson  (Apocalypto, The Passion of the Christ), James Cameron (Terminator 1 and 2) Steven Spielberg (Jaws) and the list is endless. “Even though I want to be an actor, and I am very excited about this my love really lies within film-making and at the present moment I have written 50 film projects in a period of one year that have yet to materialise.

My style is controversial, some films will be Biblical some won’t be, but they will all capture your imagination. The other beauty is that this job entails that I travel the world-for every film project, which has a different film setting. The future will see me travelling to places like Russia, Brazil, Japan, Antarctica, and having to learn languages of these countries as well.”

Future dream
Mokwena would love to do a feature with the Ferguson’s, Connie and Shona and they will be his next project after the one titled ‘Man of War’ about a hitman in Mzansi who wages a one man war against taxi drivers who brutally assaulted a woman for turning down their acquaintance’s love proposal and along the way he uncovers an illegal arms ring involving top ranking government officials. The story is part fiction and part reality and it attacks South African’s apathy towards violence against women.

“I will also come back to Botswana again with Sebati to do ‘Kahuru An African Legend’ which Sebati wrote and will direct about a chief who has to deal with an invading Afrikaner army, slave traders-and a village curse of a man who turns into a leopard at night and goes on a killing spree (Set in the 1800’s Botswana).” These are all future projects; but  for now, all eyes are on Blood Brothers.

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Gays, Lesbians look up to Masisi

Yvonne Mooka

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Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-gender and intersex persons (LGBTI) want President Mokgweetsi Masisi to allow same sex relationships which to date, are deemed unlawful in Botswana.

Masisi had recently called for the respect and protection of LGBTI persons’ rights at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children last week. His utterances on the matter, enlisted words of praise and admiration from the LGBTI community would then pen him a letter of gratitude while also laying bare some of their nagging concerns.
“There are also many people of same-sex relationships in this country who have been violated and have also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated. Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,” Masisi stated at last week’s launch.

In their letter directed at the president, members of Lesbians Gays Bisexual of Botswana (LEGABIBO) thanked him for these words, saying they were thankful to his affirmation and mentioning of their ordeals and suffering. The president’s public acknowledgement of violations directed at members of this marginalised community, and his recognition of the discrimination and the resultant fear generated by all these, were particularly a source of inspiration to the concerned group.

These LEGABIBO members added that they are grateful to hear a sitting President speak openly and publicly on the need to protect those in same-sex relationships who have been violated.
“We are pleased that you named aloud the violence that members of our community suffer in their daily lives. We are writing this letter to encourage you to continue your efforts in ensuring that the human rights of all persons are upheld regardless of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This is an example of good governance and respecting the rule of law,” says their letter. They further urged Masisi to raise expectations within Parliament for zero-tolerance of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, verbal or otherwise, urging his office further to make efforts to decriminalise consensual same-sex relationships, stating that Section 164 of the Penal code, which criminalises such relationships, fuels the violence, discrimination, suffering and fear.

“We are particularly interested in what you will do about this section of the law. Because this unjust law is the basis of violence directed at members of our community, your planned actions regarding this matter are of our primary and highest interest,” stated LEGABIBO. They also impressed upon the president to address the gender markers on their birth certificates, Omang and passports, adding that these markers were problematic and caused fellow citizens who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming to experience discrimination in all walks of life.
On related matters, they pleaded with the president to protect members of the LGBTI community from public violence and humiliation, citing a recent example where a transgender woman was attacked in Gaborone.

Religious leaders were neither spared as the concerned group also called on the president to protect members of their community against these religious leaders who fuel hatred towards them. “While we respect sincerely-held faiths in Botswana, we cannot condone those who preach inflammatory, discriminatory messages towards those who only seek to love members of the same sex,” says the letter, adding that the president should make a statement to all civil servants – teachers, healthcare workers, police and all service providers – that LGBTI people are citizens of this country, and like all other citizens, cannot be denied services available to the general public.

Members of the LGBTI community in Botswana say they are looking forward to Masisi’s leadership and a new approach to issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. “In conclusion, Your Excellency, we ask you to make it clear to all politicians that members of the LGBTI community are not amused hearing that politicians who support our rights will lose elections; hearing that we are to blame for lack of rain; and hearing religious and cultural doctrines that seek to disempower us. However, like you, we are interested in open dialogue to promote the human rights of LGBTI,” states the letter.

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AP’s varsity don enters lion’s den

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Senior Lecturer at the University Botswana (UB), Dr Kaelo Molefhe wants to represent the people of Gaborone Bonnington North constituency in Parliament from 2019, and he is convinced he will prevail over the formidable political trio of Duma Boko, Robert Masitara and Anna Motlhagodi.

It is an open secret now, that the constituency will see a fierce battle involving the Alliance for Progressives (AP) represented by Molefhe, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) represented by Boko, Motlhagodi of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as well a Masista who has indicated that he will be in the race as an Independent Candidate. Although he claims to be unperturbed by the collective political prowess of the other trio, Molefhe still faces a mammoth task of not only ousting incumbent MP Boko who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, but also has to convince the people of the affluent constituency that his new party is an entity they can trust with their lives.

Add to that the popularity of the other two contestants. The BDP’s Motlhagodi is an already established politician in the area, having been there and garnering thousands of votes in the area as a candidate of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) from which she has since defected. On the other hand, Masitara has been the area MP, having been voted into the constituency between 2009 and 2014. Although he could not win against Boko in 2014, he was still voted by close to 5000 people. Thus Molefhe will be seen as a minnow – an underdog hoping to do the Donald Trump against the more popular figures of this race. US president Donald Trump was seen as a minnow and was given no chance against Hilary Clinton in that country’s last elections, and Molefhe has such David and Goliath stories to take solace in.

But the constituency itself has a plethora of problems waiting to be unravelled. With a population of 45 688, Gaborone Bonnington North is made up of six (6) wards – Boseja, Diphetogo, Moselewapula, Tlogatloga, Itumeleng and Bosele. A simple random survey conducted in the constituency showed that sections of the community are already unhappy that no Member of Parliament has been able to salvage them from the myriad of issues they have to deal with everyday. They neither had any flattering words for the incumbent, a powerful politician in his own right, thus casting aspersion on whether the new entrant will inspire better confidence. “We really do not know our MP.

The last time we saw him was when he was campaigning for the 2014 General Elections,” lamented a resident, who went on to catalogue their concerns in the constituency. “We do not have a government primary school in this area and are forced to send our children to far-away places like Mogoditshane, which is expensive,” said the resident, pointing also to the dangers posed by bushes in the area, which are a breeding ground for crime, saying they need to be urgently cleared.

Speaking with The Midweek Sun, the AP’s parliamentary candidate, Molefhe, said he was alive to the challenges the residents grapple with, adding that it was the gaping hole of no political action in the area that inspired him to want to go to Parliament to help address the situation. With his uppermost priorities centred around education, especially investing in the youth, he aims to tackle the absence of government primary schools in Blocks 6 and 7 so that children in the constituency can enjoy unfettered access to education.

Molefhe also pledged to address the scourge of drugs and alcohol abuse as well as youth unemployment, which he says have reached crisis proportions in Gaborone West Phase 2. “Among other things, we need to come up with short-term training that will equip the youths of the area with skills,” he quipped. He has in mind equipping youth with practical skills to be able to perform small jobs like fixings electrical faults and refrigeration repairs among other essentialities, which are commonly done by expatriates.

He said AP considers the youth as the key components in the improvement of the country hence, “we need to prioritise and invest wholly in them.” Repeated efforts to reach the other three (3) candidates proved futile as their mobile phones went unanswered, and they could not respond to text messages sent to them.

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