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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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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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