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Northern Music Awards ready to upset BOMU’s apple cart

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When Francistown artists complained last year of the ill-treatment they receive from Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU), commentators regarded them as crybabies. Undeterred, they came together and launched the first ever Northern Music Awards, which were held on the 19th December 2015 in Francistown.

The awards, which received coverage from Botswana Television, have left BOMU with a stinking egg on the face. This is because, for a long time, BOMU has been enjoying the monopoly of staging awards for local artists without any competitor.

The Northern awards covered all areas of creative arts as they recognised and awarded trophies to all deserving creative artists including theatre, comedians, producers, poets, journalists, promoters and disk jockeys. BOMU has never done this since it promotes music only.

The project coordinator Lyelor Nkosi could not hide his excitement in an interview with Vibe. The awards, he said, had exceeded their expectations. “When we initiated these awards, we decided to do something different knowing that BOMU was only concentrating on music at the expense of  other creative arts. We decided to close the gap by encompassing all creative arts as a way of rewarding the artists for the good job they have been doing for this country. For a long time, artists from the north have been neglected,’’ he explained.

He added that it was very rare for a northern artist to get recognition at BOMU awards. Nkosi cited the example of MC Maswe who was nominated for two categories last year only for him to be “cheated” to walk away empty-handed. During the northern awards, the Zwamaronga hit-maker won the best lifetime achiever artist in the north as well as the most popular artist, beating the likes of Mahempe hands down.

Solomon Chase Mabutho of Bon Fella records bagged the best Francistown producer while DJ Bunz aka Peter Gaseitsiwe ran away with the best DJ award. Maswe told this publication after the awards that after he was “cheated” at BOMU, he had resolved never to enter any competition as most of them were biased against Francistown artists.

“I could not believe what I saw at the Northern Awards. The arrangement was out of this world. The number of Francistown civic leaders also motivated me, including Councillors and Members of Parliament (MPs) who graced the occasion. The last BOMU awards had dented my pride as I had been certain of winning at least one award but that was not to be.

I must confess that the Northern Awards made my day as my hard work was finally recognised. One good thing about these awards is the fact that all the judgments and nominations were done by Francistown based journalists from all media houses including the Botswana Daily News. These journalists are always following our progress and it was a good thing to involve them to avoid needless complaints,’’ he said.

WINNERS
Best Poetry-  Tsikitsiki, best theatre- Ghetto Artists, Best DJ- Bunz, best producer-Solomon Chase Mabutho, best upcoming artist- BBlock, best music group Tjilenje the Ngwao, best Arts reporter- Kabelo Dipholo, best comedian- Top –Shut, best promoter- MC Poster, best overall artist- MC Maswe, life time achiever- Mc Maswe and best upcoming artist- BBlock.

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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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