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Mokoto Festival grows in leaps and bounds

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Mokoto wa Lesoso Cultural Festival held this past weekend in Shoshong attracted over 400 revellers.
This is a significant growth when one considers that they brought together only 200 people last year when they launched.
Mokoto Wa Lesoso was first started by a young group of Shoshong youth, under their social club dubbed, Makgobokane. The Makgobokane social club was formed as an organisation aimed at helping the underprivileged and giving back to the communities of the Shoshong village and its proximities.
To diversify on their mandate, the social club then looked back into their village, on what they can do to promote culture, bringing people together to embrace their culture as the Bangwato of Shoshong.

The idea of cultural preservation was then benchmarked from one of the biggest annual festivities in the Bakwena village, the Dithubaruba in Molepolole.
Chairman of the Makgobokane Social Club, Edwin Lesole told Vibe that they realised that as one of the much-loved dishes in the Bangwato area is the Mokoto, then started the Mokoto wa Lesoso in Shoshong.

Lesole noted that the event had attracted people from as far as Urban cities to celebrate this cultural event and were treated to the traditional mouth-watering dishes, such as bogobe jwa lerotse, seswaa, phane, morogo wa dinanwa amongst others.

The traditional brew, khadi was also served. From the music part, a local kwaito kwasa artist born and bred in Shoshong, Swagger Lady kept the guests hooked to her energetic kwasa moves with her six crew dancers, as well as the local choirs on the scene.

“This event helps us to raise funds and work with social workers and identify the needy around the area and see how we can assist them. We had previously decided to build a house for one beneficiary in Motlhabaneng, unfortunately the beneficiary then passed on, but we then completed the structure and hand over to the deceased’ child.”

Lesole lamented that finance remains a major challenge in hosting the event but because they do not want to let the Mokoto fest lovers down, he had to make sure that he makes it a success. “I had to spend about P20,000 from my pocket to make this event happen. I had to make sure that I find money to make the event a success.

We approached Barclays and Choppies amongst other stakeholders, Choppies only availed their Shoshong branch manager to be a speaker, but availed nothing in terms of money or food items,” he said.

When the Makgobokane association started it had about 500 members from the youth of Shoshong and evrery year members renew their membership by P100 and P10 as monthly subscriptions, and now those who renewed their membership had dropped in numbers. The social club then uses the membership subscriptions to find something that they can give back to the community.

According to Lesole, they had printed limit of 200 tickets and they were sold out, and people had to pay at the gate and the number even doubled to 400 and more. He added that the merchandise was also sold out, as compared to the previous year where a bulk of the merchandise did not sell.

To end the formalities of the day just before dusk, men were gathered at the kgotla to be served with the Mokoto. This meat is only served to men and is not to be eaten by women. As for the night crawlers, the event’s after party was moved to a farm outside the village to continue with the fun.

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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

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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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