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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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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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