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the biker magistrate

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By Keletso Thobega

When you spot 33 year-old Tshepo Thedi cruising around the shanty town of Lobatse in her top of the range German sedan, you wouldn’t believe that this chic and sauve lady magistrate is also a biker!

Yep, when she hangs her magisterial gown, Thedi enjoys nothing more than donning her leather jacket and helmet and getting onto her bike. From a young age, Thedi has always relished the idea of being a biker.

“When I was a small child, I was fascinated by bikes and told myself that I would get one for myself when I am older,” she says. It was however only in 2011 when she moved to Lobatse from Hukuntsi, that the University of Botswana Law graduate decided to act on her passion and interest and got her own bike and then learnt how to ride.

When she eventually had the hang of it, she knew that it was now time to realise one goal on her bucket list – to ride long distance. This past festive, Thedi challenged herself to ride a longer stretch. She rode to the Okavango in the company of her friend, Gaborone based fashion designer, Kefilwe ‘Sweety’ Lobelo. Quite a scary prospect, but the two were intent on realising their goal.

Thedi admits it was not an entire breeze. “Sometimes when other people do things, you wish you could do them too, but when you are in the mix of things, only then do you feel the heat!” There’s a lot of pun there because on their ride, the two had to contend with the sweltering heat of more than 40 degrees, throughout the trip. There was the option of turning back, but they soldiered on, even with the fear of coming into contact with wild animals lingering in their minds.

The two left Gaborone on 30 December 2015, at around 4am, and by 3pm the same day, they were in Maun. They returned to Gaborone on 2 January 2016.
This was a life changing experience for Thedi because she was now in new terrain. Although riding long distance comes with its own set of  challenges, she has achieved something that she had always dreamt of.

The long ride also helped them learn more about the functionality of bikes; they fuelled for themselves and had to deal with any problems they encountered themselves.

“We faced a fair amount of challenges, but all in all, it was a beautiful experience because we stepped out of our comfort zones. Being a biker has increased my self-confidence and opened me to a different kind of peace and freedom. When you are on the road, you only think about the stretch before you, so you close out other thoughts. As much as riding a bike can be physically challenging, it is also quite an exhilarating experience,”she explains.

Given the opportunity, Thedi would ride for charity or any other fundraising activity she feels is close to her heart, now that she knows what she is capable of on her bike. Thedi is also one of the organisers of the Thobo Cultural festival, which is held in April annually in Lobatse, to celebrate the town’s rich heritage and revel in the unique Setswana culture.

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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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