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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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Three vie for Miss Botswana 2018 crown

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A press release from the organisers states that general public public voting through sms line from 10am Tuesday 18 September – 10 am Friday 21 September 2018 (25%). Apparently creative Industry and Past Miss Botswana Queens Representatives at the boot camp (25%), Panel of judges at the event (25%) and attendants at the event through an app (25%).

The organisers stated through a press release that Miss Botswana rebranding, relaunching, crowning night will strictly by invitation and corporate hosting, adding that very limited tickets at P1500 will still be available from countrywide webticket offices.

The pageant will apparently be broadcast on television. Development Advance Institute (DAI), represented by Benjamin Raletsatsi, was subcontracted the license to Miss Botswana 2018 by Botswana Council of Women (BCW), the License Holders for Miss Botswana. DAI presented to BCW a five year plan to restructure BCW and Miss Botswana brands. In terms of Miss Botswana this was necessary to salvage our National Beauty Pageant, which has produced Mpule Kwelagobe (1998 Miss Universe winner) and Emma Warius (1st runner up to 2010 Miss World).

The organisers acknowledged that the pageant has been marred in controversy and noted that their mission is to rebrand and regain trust with all stakeholders and the general public.

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Excitement mounts ahead of inaugural Gabs Book Festival

Keletso Thobega

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It is all systems go for the inaugural Gaborone Book Festival (GBF), which will be held from the 21-22 September 2018 at Maitisong. The two-day book festival will feature panels, talks, readings, conversations, book chats, book launches and book sales all headlined by the featured local and guest authors.

The opening night on Friday evening will feature authors Michael Dingake, Margaret Daymond, Brigitta Zwani and Nsungululi Mbo. Dingake will focus on his biography and there will be readings of selected Bessie Head letters and interpretation by author Daymond. There will also be an authors meet and greet as well as book sales.

The organisers, GBF Trust states that confirmed featured authors are Lauri Kubuitsile, Michael Dingake, Andrew Sesinyi, Ednah Rosen, Modirwa Kekwaletswe, Donald Molosi, Brigitta Zwani, Tomeletso Sereetsi, Thalefang Charles, Monirul Bhuiyan, Nelson Letshwene,  Kgomotso Jongman and Bongani Malunga. From across the continent, the confirmed authors are Lola Shoneyin, Margaret Daymond, Zukiswa Wanner,Victor Kgomoeswana, Esinako Ndabeni, Sihle Mthembu, Niq Mhlongo as well as publisher, Thabiso Mahlape. The organisers say that they wanted to feature authors whose books cover a wide range of themes and topics. The 22 September, which is the main festival day, will kickstart with a writers’ seminar involving all those in the book ecosystem. The seminar will cover issues of marketing and publishing.

According to one of the organisers, Kenanao Phele, an exciting programme will follow this for all, filled with panel discussions, conversations, inspirational book chats, readings and book sales amongst others.

“With the diversity and experience of the authors, the festival touch on varied, in depth topics highlighted by featured authors including culture, music, fiction, travelogues, memoirs, politics, mental health, culinary and cuisine. Furthermore, the festival will also have a fun and exciting space for 100 students from government primary schools, a section made possible by the Orange Foundation,” she says.

She further says that since the beginning of this year, the GBF Trust has been involved in a number of book related activities to get readers in the city and beyond ready for the festival. On the criteria for selecting the authors, she says that the Trust was looking for authors who have been part of GBF platforms in 2018, who have written on important topics/themes that are conversation sparkers, books that have made a mark in Botswana, across the continent, beyond and are some award winning. “Some of our guest authors are celebrated or award winning.

We would also like to feature similar local authors on our platforms to introduce them to more and new readers as well as show them the possibilities that exist for them in the continent and beyond as they interact with the guest authors and publishers.”

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