Local poetess ANDREATTAH CHUMA narrates her experiences as an IT auditor in Brussels in an interview with YVONNE MOOKA.
They say how you speak of Brussels reveals whom you hang out with and the places you go. It may sound snobbish but this is because Brussels is made up of so many worlds cramped in an area the size of Gaborone.
The Brussels I live in currently has balconies draped in different European flags pledging allegiance to the motherland during this Euro2016 cup.
There is Brussels the seat of the European Union, NATO, think tanks, lobbyists in all their flavours and the beating heart of the Brexit referendum. Last year I participated in the African Diaspora Network Europe debate with Members of European Parliament in Strasbourg.
International news has been showing more of the Brussels that grapples with radicalisation; where army trucks and soldiers have come to look like an installation.
There is also Brussels the big conference room where thousands of summits, workshops, talks are held each year, most of them free. As a constant learner and a shameless bargain hunter, I love this part of Brussels!
This is the city where I have been working as an IT Auditor since 2012 at Euroclear – world’s largest international central securities depository and cross-border settlement provider. I am also a certified fraud examiner and have been representing Internal Audit at the group-wide fraud forum. An intriguing space during these times of increased cybercrime.
Brussels has given me a front row view of regulation formulation and its impact in the Tech space especially with Africa in mind. As a member of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Brussels, engaging with young policy makers has shaped my view on being an influencer.
This September I start a new journey as a part-time student with University of Strathclyde studying LLM in IT and Telecommunications Law. In 2013, I founded Tech Talk sessions, aimed at connecting industry and university students in Botswana on emerging topics and their role in policy making. I have also taken a step to mentor tech girls while based in Brussels.
I came to Brussels as just an IT auditor. I am thankful to God for planting a seed for all the opportunities and certainly holding me up during the stormy times.
BDC offloads Kwalape shares
Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) this week disclosed it has transferred its 40 percent shareholding and facility interest in Kwalape Tours and Safaris to a citizen-owned company, Dekete Guys Limited.
The transaction was concluded at a hand-over ceremony on the 13th August 2018 at Kwalape Safari Lodge in Kasane. According to BDC, which is a government’s investment unit, the transfer is part of its broad strategy to divest from mature industries and sectors that had demonstrated adequate private sector capacity. The Corporation has approved an offer for its interest in Kwalape, which are the purchasing of both ordinary and preference shareholding and credit facilities.
BDC Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe is thrilled on the latest developments. “We are pleased to see Kwalape having attained a mature business status as evidenced by its ability to self-sustain in a tough and competitive tourism sector. On the back of our robust corporate governance processes, we ensured all checks-and-balances were followed as well as reviewing prospective investors inorder to appoint the right operation to take-up our shareholding,” said Gaetsaloe. “We believe the profile and projections of this investor would sustain the business continuity and open new doors for Kwalape’s growth in the long term. We are confident in Dekete’s vision for the business”.
In 2007, BDC entered into a partnership with the company, subscribing to 40 percent, while the founders remained with a majority 60 percent shareholding. Kwalape, trading as Kwalape Safari Lodge, is located along the Kazungula-Kasane Road, Kasane in the Chobe District, the tourism hub of Botswana. The resort offers an extensive bouquet of tourism activities such as boat cruises on the Chobe river, safaris and game drives in the Chobe National Park and tours of the tourist attractions in the region such as Victoria Falls and Livingstone Memorial through strategic partnerships.
Kwalape was established in 1999. “I believe that partnering with giants such as BDC helps one grow in that they push you to pursue for much bigger and better than what many of us as start-up entrepreneurs could think possible. I appreciate the relationship we have built with BDC over the years and look forward to Kwalape’s next chapter with Dekete Guys,” said Kwalape Tours and Safaris Managing Partner, Milton Khachana.
Nata Bird Sanctuary- an oasis of calm
To wake up to a beautiful view is the desire for most people and to have a chance to do this is a dream that can come true at the Nata bird sanctuary.
Located in the north-eastern periphery of the Sowa pan and founded in 1988, it opened for operation in 1993. It was established for the purpose of conservation of wildlife but also to help in the development of business in four villages namely, Nata, Sepako, Maposa and Manxotae.
The sanctuary has been part home to a number of flamingoes that visit it after the rainy season when the water sources are full. However, if there is no water, then the flamingoes don’t honour the pan with their presence. The flamingoes are quite a sight to behold and if one’s lucky, they will gather in large numbers by the pan where they are close enough to touch. But they can sometimes gather where they can be seen but not close enough to be touched.
The sanctuary is also home to some wildebeests but this year, another group of animals found themselves calling it home. These groups of animals are zebras. The water sources in the sanctuary were apparently dry last year as the area did not experience a lot of rainfall but this year it looked magnificent as they were filled to the brim. If one has not been to the ocean, then going to the sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for one to get that experience due to the endless stretch and amount of water.
Although the water enhanced the drop in temperatures at the sanctuary, it magnified its beauty especially the sunset. The golden colour of the sun was reflected on the water together with the white and blue of the clouds in the sky was a painting just waiting to be drawn; that’s how beautiful it was.
Animal admirers and lovers got a chance to explore the sanctuary and view all the animals housed there through a game drive.
Since it is advisable to go for a drive either early morning or late afternoon, towards the evening, a lot of the tourists went in the early evening. But for those who were yet to decide what they wanted to do or experience at the sanctuary, the friendly staff was more than willing to explain everything to them as well as offer a brochure which contained all the information they would need concerning what takes place there.