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A night of awe at the #BETXAFRICA

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All roads led to the Ticketpro Dome in the city of Gold, Johannesburg this past Saturday for are of the biggest lifestyle and entertainment event to take place on the continent – BET Experience Africa –trending under the hashtag, BETXAFRICA.

The event, the first of its kind, organised by BET Africa, a channel showing on DStv, marked the first time that the BET Experience took place outside the United States of America. And it lived to its hype of bringing only the crème de la crème, of music, comedy, fashion, as well as motivational speakers. For 24 hours, multitudes of fun lovers descended on the venue, and partied like rock stars.

One thing that media personalities from several African countries including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Botswana, Zambia and Ghana noted was the amount of work that went into putting an event of this magnitude. It also became evident once, one walked into the venue that a lot of manpower and infrastructure had been deployed to give revellers the best Christmas outing, one that will forever remain etched in their memories. 

The most important event of the day for those who were itching to dance till their feet hurt was reserved for the evening. On the line-up were top performers who have over time mastered the art of live performance. Starting off the mouth-watering line-up was none other than Tanzania’s Diamond – the young performer left no stones unturned, and gave his fans a thrilling set.

Next up was the sexy Nigerian born Flavour of Nwa baby fame. The minute he took to the stage everything changed, the man who is popular for his rubber waist was in his best element and brought the house down. He was particularly on point when he completed his set with the performance of his most popular hit, Nwa baby, sending all in the Dome into a frenzy.

Even the VIP section where the likes of the minister of Sports, Fikile Mbalula was seated turned into something else, with many silently shaking what their mamas gave them. Others who also held their own was the Twitter king of South Africa, AKA who for once was not spewing bile on social media, but was using his talent to spread love. For once, people were not looking for a corner to hide, but were embracing him and his music.

American rapper, Young Thug making a grand entrance on stage with a heavy jacket that looked like a heavy blanket sold at Oriental Plaza, also rewarded his fans for their loyalty. He was short and sweet, and even for those who could not grasp his lyrics, they still enjoyed his perf.

The last two performances of the night were by U.S born award winning artists Mary J.Blige and Maxwell. MJB was in her best element and she was a marvel to watch.

Pausing between performances to give her fans a bit of wisdom, she thrilled with performances of several of her all time hits. Maxwell, of ‘This woman’s work,’ who was also the headline artist, also delivered, taking time to spread love and showcase why he is one of the best performers in the worlds right now. Flexing his muscles on stage, and taking routines that appeared like he was in an exercise session, he beautifully concluded the first of many BET Experience Africa events.

Prior to the main festival taking place in the evening, dozens of revellers trickled into the venue, both young and old, all looking forward to a one of a kind experience. They were treated to several build-up events that took place at the venue including a fashion show featuring none other than Africa’s top designer, David Tlale who recently returned from New York Fashion week with his retro themed designs. 

On the one end, those who were looking for motivation were given the opportunity to listen to inspirational talks from gurus that included South Africa’s Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, Khanyi Dlomo a media mogul, Amadou Fall, Beverly Bond of Black Girls Rocks, Greg Maloka, as well as Stephen Hill.

For those who were looking for some light entertainment that could loosen their jaws, they were treated to the best of Comedy with stand-up comedians that included David Kau, Jason Goliath, Kenya’s Churchill and many more.

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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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