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Grand plans for local designers

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The Youth Sports and Culture ministry has big plans for local designers and dress makers. Minister Thapelo Olopeng has promised to speak to shop owners in Botswana about stocking clothes made by local designers.

At a meeting with fashion designers, dress makers and models at the Botswana Public Service College, Olopeng advised tailors and dressmakers against making garments of low quality.

He said he could only succeed in his crusade to convince local shop owners to buy their products if they also produce the best quality to stand a fighting chance against suppliers and companies from other countries.

He also advised them to have confidence in merchandise made locally saying he had realised during his countrywide tours of local factories that some of it was as comparable quality to that made outside the country.

Olopeng said that his office was in the process of acquiring land where they would set up a top quality market for designers and dressmakers to rent out and sell their merchandise.

Olopeng’s office also intends to set up an office which would manage all the beauty pageants in Botswana. Such an office would start first with Miss Botswana, Miss Universe and Miss Africa Botswana.

This office would set up standards in which beauty pageants would have to comply with in order to raise the standard of beauty pageants in the country.
The minister’s audience also aired its concerns. Model Maina Thapedi complained of the high exploitation of models by modelling agencies.

Fashion designer Gabriel Maphane complained of too much red tape in accessing the ministry, to which Olopeng concurred but promised they were rooting out the impediment.

Others complained that importing leather is too expensive and wondered if the leather tannery in Phakalane was closed. Olopeng attributed the closure to water shortage in the country and said they were preparing to set up another leather tannery in Lobatse.

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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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