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A woman of many first: Dr Chiepe’s life, returns to Maitisong

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There are many untold stories about African women who have lived extraordinary lives of national service. One of those stories is that of Dr Gaositwe K.T. Chiepe. Her granddaughter, Moduduetso Lecoge, wanted to be the first to finally bring her story to the public, by writing about it and acting it out. The play premiered at the 2016 Maitisong Festival, and now it is back, bigger, better and bolder with an expanded one hour version for The Maitisong Festival 2018. The story chronicles the life of Dr. Chiepe from her childhood as a young Motswana girl growing up in Serowe Village in Botswana, the same village where Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama and his family came from.

It tracks her education path through secondary school at the prestigious Tigerkloof College South Africa during the apartheid era. Thereafter, with the help of the Government of Botswana’s (then Bechuanaland Protectorate) scholarship, she proceeded to Fort Hare University where she completed as the first black African female to graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology and Botany. Furthermore, she went to read for her Master’s Degree at the University of Bristol in the UK in the 1950’s. She was the first Motswana female to attain a Master’s degree. Dr. Chiepe’s illustrious career in education, administration, diplomatic service and politics spans over 5 decades from 1948 to 1999.

She was the first Motswana female Education Officer during her time. She climbed the ranks until she became the first female Director of Education. Then she later became the first female African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom after Botswana’s independence. For a long time, Dr. Chiepe was the only female in the Botswana Cabinet; first as a specially elected Member of Parliament and later an elected Member of Parliament for Serowe South. During her life, she achieved a lot of firsts as a young girl, as a working woman and in politics, hence the title of the play A Woman of Many Firsts. Botswana needs to know a bit more about this icon.

She has created a legacy by being grounded on selflessness, respect, tenacity and hard work, characteristics of a typical Motswana. She will go down in the annals of history as one of Botswana’s pioneers, championing unparalleled quality education for every Motswana child. Her legacy and character must live on and be emulated by young women in Botswana and Africa to always become the best that they can be. As Botswana celebrates her 50th anniversary of independence, it is also fitting that a story of the daughter of the soil is told. The play will be showing at the Moving Space (at Maru-a-Pula School) on the 13th of April at 8.30pm, the 14th of April at 6pm and 15th of April at 4pm.

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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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