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Motswana ARTtivist flies Botswana flag high

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Motswana ARTivist, Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile’s was recently named one of the most influential women in the arts for 2018. The honour given by New York based publication, OkayAfrica, is part of a campaign recognising excellence as embodied by 100 Women based in Africa or in the diaspora. Kolanyane-Kesupile is a seasoned artistic practitioner, communications consultant and human rights activist whose focus has been on liberating the voices and stories of LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and more) Batswana. In 2014 she founded the country’s only LGBT-themed theatre festival, Queer Shorts Showcase, which she manages under her communications and artistic consultation company, Kat Kai Kol-Kes International. She has performed as a musician, actor and dancer across the world and has been highly decorated for her contributions.

She is also a globally published writer, educator and public speaker. In 2017 she became the first Motswana to receive a TED Fellowship, and also attained her Masters in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice from Goldsmiths University of London – as a Chevening Scholar. On what it means to be considered one of the most influential women of African descent, Kolanyane-Kesupile said: “The number of impossibilities shattered by the simple deed of being recognised for the work I have committed my life to doing is unreal. This is part of Botswana’s history, not just my personal journey. I believe that I will stand as a possibility model for all people of Botswana, and especially for LGBT+ people of all ages to understand that we are not accessories to national progress but invaluable human resources and we have limitless wonders to offer the world out there. I am humbled and inspired to continue working steadfastly.”The “OkayAfrica 100 Women” list, published in March, is celebrating its second manifestation after a successful maiden run in 2017.

The list features 10 categories each with 10 women honoured for their influence in their respective communities, countries and the world. On coming to a final list of 100 women of excellence, OkayAfrica describes the process as follows: “We sort through nominations, pore over the latest news, and research shining stars in the specific genres of music, TV and film, politics and activism, business, fashion and beauty, art, sports, STEM, media and literature. We have heated debates, vote and revote.” Furthermore detailing that: “These women were not only handpicked for their utter excellence; we gauged their impact and influence, and this year, we hone in on the component of community building… In short, they are superheroes.”

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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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