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Young author releases inspirational novel

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Budding writer Olerilwe Sennanyana has published a short novel titled Segwaba itaye, an offering that is sure to stamp his name among the finest storytellers on the literary landscape.

The 26-year-old has an excellent command of Setswana and combined with creativity and passion for storytelling. It is this talent that motivated him to release his first-ever novel, which took five years to complete. Local company Diphalana Publishing published him.

Sennanyana financed the project through a youth grant. ‘Segwabe itaye mmago o sule’ is a Setswana adage, which means that one should be responsible for their own life without depending on others or blaming their circumstances for their misfortunes.

A reserved and soft-spoken unassuming character, Sennanyana doesn’t speak much but his boyish grin brightens up his handsome face when he talks about his writing. He concedes that writing a book in Setswana was not well-received in all quarters as some people prefer to write and dialogue in English, but he asserts that it is important for Batswana to be proud of their culture and language.

Sennyanana hails from Kanye but was raised in Lobatse. He discovered his writing talent when he was still a learner at Letsopa Secondary. By the time he proceeded to Lobatse Senior Secondary school (Lobsec), he was a marvel with the pen. He singles out his former teacher Sophie Modiegi Gaborone for believing in him. “She would read out my compositions to other learners, encouraging them to learn from me.

This motivated me to write more because it confirmed that I have a gift,” he explains. He however hastens to add that the teacher used tough love, as she would sometimes give him low marks.

“I believe she did not want me to become comfortable; she expected the best from me and always challenged me to push myself and do better,” he says. It all paid off as and not surprisingly, he obtained an A* for Setswana in his BGCSE results. Interestingly, Sennanyana opted to pursue an Electrical engineering course after school.

“I am a naturally gifted writer with inborn flair, imagination and skill so I did not find it necessary to study any writing-related course.” He however insists that writing is his first love. Sennanyana states that he would like to see his books included in the local schools ‘ curriculum. He points out that the fact that many Batswana have not adopted the culture of reading for leisure; writers are usually forced to write educational material.

This is however has not dettered his love for story telling. He plans to also write scripts for television and theatre. To get a copy of the book email: bmokwadi@yahoo.com.

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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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