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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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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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