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Sereetsi goes on a countrywide tour

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Tomeletso Sereetsi of Sereetsi & the Natives is starting the year on a good note. Hot on the heels of his phenomenal success in 2015, he is scheduled to embark on a two and half month tour of Botswana during which he will share, impart knowledge as well as exchange ideas with the general public, village leadership, students of the arts and teachers about the now famous Four Strings Guitar.

The opportunity to embark on the tour came through a P456 000.00-grant from the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA).

Sereetsi is regarded as the saviour of this oral traditional guitar, having compiled the first ever-instructional CD/book titled The Solo Four String Guitar of Botswana.  

The 83-page book is the result of research of Botswana’s folk guitar’s tuning, chords, song form, origin and development. The grant came in two forms. It assisted in making the book accessible to schools (secondary schools), through the distribution networks of Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MOESD) as well as libraries. It will also be used in schools as a supplementary book.

Secondly, the other half will be used to facilitate workshops that will see Sereetsi touring different parts of the country where he will workshop the public, students, teachers as well as artists in different parts of the country on how to play a four string guitar, its application as well as its musical content.

Ahead of the tour, whose dates are being finalised this week, 300 and 500 copies were donated to the Botswana National Library Service & the Ministry of Education & Skills Development (MOESD) respectively.

The books that were donated to (MOESD) will be distributed to various schools across the country. “The idea is for the students to access the book, and already we have students who are pursuing the arts in schools,” he explained in an interview.

He also said that the workshops are targeting 15 places that include Tsabong, Gumare, Ghanzi, Nata and Letlhakeng and will be done in phases with five places being visited in each phase. Following the completion of each phase, they will return to report back, document as well as find out if there are any lessons learnt.  

The workshops are not only targeting artists but include cultural enthusiasts also. “This will help in seeing Batswana take pride in their own products,” said Sereetsi adding that this can be seen as national pride.

On a personal note, he said that the tour will assist to deepen his knowledge about the guitar as well as pave way for writing his second book. “Chances are another book might come out of this tour. I am looking for something tangible from this project,” he said.

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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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