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A light amid the darkness

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A light amid the darkness

During these difficult, uncertain times, as Covid-19 lurks with menacing intent, Goratagaone Shakes Seshoka is a shining example that dark days bring out the best in some.

The 37-year-old, a primary school teacher in Jamataka village, has been teaching the 1, 000 strong community about the dangers of Coronavirus.

Seshoka set-up health and advisory information points where he stresses the importance of social distancing, regular hand washing and self-isolation, while also debunking fake news and myths surrounding the virus. He has also designed and installed contact-free hand washing facilities around the village with donated soap.

Last week, in light of his exceptional voluntary service, the Mathathane native was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen as the 137th Commonwealth Point of Light.

As Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen is thanking inspirational volunteers across the association’s 54 nations.

The Point of Light awards celebrate individuals whose service is making a difference in their communities and whose stories can inspire others to creative solutions to challenges in their own communities and beyond.

The Voice’s Portia Mlilo caught up with Seshoka to find out a bit more about his volunteerism work and the man behind it.

Q. Congratulations on the Point of Light Award, how much does this mean to you?

Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

On behalf of the Jamataka community I serve and the beautiful republic of Botswana, I am truly humbled that I have been considered and chosen for such a prestigious award.

This award means a lot to me, as it will motivate me to keeping going, doing the best that I can.

I wish to proffer my sincere gratitude to ‘EmPowered FinTech’, colleagues and the British High Commission for the support and ultimately the recognition.

Truly speaking, it’s all about the people of this village.

Q. What was your reaction when you received the news?

Well it came as a shock at first, because I did not do this expecting any reward.

I am doing it because I know it is a good thing to do it and then I was rewarded.

I am extremely happy.

It can only be God.

I hope the award will help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Q. What inspired your volunteerism?

I am always inspired by my surroundings and this time around the television also played a pivotal role looking at how the disease killed people in different countries.

My work concerning Covid was basically artistic within my place of work (school); that is to design posters that convey the message in the form of pictures and messages – this was done prior to state of emergency commencing.

Q. So how did the British High Commission find out about your volunteerism work?

I would like to thank Solafin-2-Go Company Director, Eunice Ntobedzi as she is the one who advised me to submit my profile for this award when she found out about this Covid-19 project.

We worked with them when they were installing prototype solar panels at Jamataka.

She was impressed by my volunteerism work and told me about the award.

Q. I understand you established health and advisory points around the village – what precautionary measures do you take to ensure social distancing?

The health and advisory points were done within the school because that is where there was a lot of movement, where people were applying for permits.

As they came, I shared the message about Covid-19 and some asked questions where they do not understand.

I am teaching them about compliance with health care regulations like washing hands, using sanitizer and keeping the recommended distance.

Q. How easy or difficult is it to call villagers for lessons?

Actually grouping of people is prohibited at this time.

They are very cooperative and after applying for permits they spare their few minutes to listen to us.

I am working with the school head and the village nurse to disseminate information.

Q. What challenges did you face carrying out your humanitarian work?

Well it is always a challenge when you deal with an invisible enemy, but the challenges will always be dormant when you have supportive colleagues and community leaders!

The issue of masks is a challenge now that it’s compulsory to wear them – any donations are welcome!

Q. What inspired your contact-free hand washing facilities?

Freehand washing facilities aka tip-tab, well I saw some being made on social media but I felt they were not user friendly.

So I had to use my artistic abilities to modify and do what I thought was best.

Q. What kind of support did you receive from the village leadership?

The support is always super-efficient from all the structures of the village: the chief, Kgosi Mosalagae Galebonwe, the Village Development Committee, Parents Teachers Association, School Head Florah Masalila, colleagues and indeed the whole village community.

Actually some of the tools and materials were sourced from individual community members.

A real team effort!

Q. I understand you are originally from Mathathane village in the Bobirwa Sub District, one might have assumed you would have done this humanitarian work there – why did you choose Jamataka?

Yes, Mathathane is my home village but so is Jamataka because I spend most of my time here.

When Covid was declared a pandemic I was here, so I had to remain where I was.

I felt it would be risky for me to travel home when lockdown was announced.

Q. When did you settle in Jamataka and what kind of relationship do you have with the villagers?

I have been here for ten years.

The reception has always been good and people here are easy to relate with and welcoming.

This is like my second home which is why it is easy to share the health tips with them.

Q. Have you done any humanitarian activities before?

Yes, ever since my arrival here in the village outside my work.

In 2013 I met with some residents and formed an organisation in the village, which we called ‘Brothers and Sisters of Peace’.

We have football and netball teams.

The objective of our organisation was to give back to the community.

We supported some pupils from primary and junior schools with toiletry and uniform.

We also support and contribute to the schools prize giving events, refurbish houses damaged by storms, donate food hampers, toiletries and school uniform.

We have adopted a family in Mathathane, helping them with their necessities and connecting water to VDC houses, which is an ongoing project.

That is the little we are doing.

Q. What are your future plans with this gesture or was it only for the Covid-19 pandemic?

Well that’s a tough one; you never know what the future holds.

But what I can promise is to keep doing what God sent us to do on earth.

We are all assigned different tasks and it seems mine is to give back and make a difference in the community I live in.

Q. What advice can you give to other young people about volunteerism?

I just want to say blessed is the hand that gives.

We all need one another; we complement one another, whether rich or poor you will never know who is going to reward you!

Q. Who is your inspiration?

I would say my late mother Ngwakwana Maggie Seshoka has always been my greatest inspiration.

She was wheelchair-bound but she would do any house chores and she raised us well to be responsible citizens.

May Her Soul Rest in Peace.

She sounds like a remarkable woman!

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?

My plan for the weekend: stay indoors, open my stereo and sanitize every ear listening!

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Entertainment

Dipping in with Dipsy

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Dipping in with Dipsy

A legend of the game

When local football fans are asked who the country’s greatest ever footballer is, many will respond without hesitation, Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane.

Certainly, the 42-year-old Gaborone native’s achievements on the footy field are rivaled by precious few.

From playing abroad for five years – in Denmark and America – to starring in South Africa for almost a decade, at club level Dipsy enjoyed a stellar career.

However, it is his exploits with the national team that the striker is best remembered for.

Having captained the Zebras to their maiden (and to date only) AFCON appearance, Dipsy forever carved his name into the annuals of history, coolly rolling home a penalty against Guinea to score Botswana’s first ever goal at the tournament.

Voice Sports Portia Mlilo sat down with the legend for a look back at his footballing career as well as his current endeavors.

Q. When did you start playing football?

As far back as I can remember.

I grew up in a family of football lovers.

My mother, Getrude Selolwane, is known as a big fan of football supporting Gaborone United.

Growing up, GU players would come to our house all the time and I was inspired.

I started playing football on the streets of Extension II in Gaborone with brothers in the hood.

I went to Benthema Primary where I played for the school team, turning out for Arm City, Liverpool and Manchester (Notwane development team) in Chappies Youth League.

I think that is where my talent was recognized.

I was called for U/17 when I was playing at Nanogang Junior School and when I was at Gaborone Senior, I played in 2nd division for Nyangabwe, who are now called UB Hawks.

Q. When did you realise that a career as a footballer was a real possibility?

When I was playing for national U/17.

During international games, we came up against youngsters who were playing professional football and I started to believe that I could also do it.

I was inspired by Aaron Mokoena of South Africa when we played against them at U/23 level.

We had a chat and he told me he was quitting his studies to move to the Netherlands.

Football in Botswana then was more of a pastime than a job.

It was inspiring to hear a youngster almost my age talking of turning professional.

Q. Of all the games you played in, which one brings back the sweetest memories?

All Zebras games I played for the country and when I was playing at SuperSport, a game against Al Ahly (Egyptian team).

I played for my country with pride and I earned my stripes as a Zebra.

I am very proud that I led the team as the captain and we qualified for the AFCON.

That was our biggest achievement as the nation.

Q. And personally, what do you regard as the greatest achievement of your career?

Honour of Meritorious Service to Botswana awarded by the former President Khama.

That’s the best time and best award ever; to be honoured by your President was huge for me!

The other achievement I would say is playing at AFCON, making the country’s maiden appearance and scoring our first ever goal.

That really means a lot to me and my nation.

Q. And on the opposite scale, what are some of the disappointments of your football career?

Quite a few to mention but they have all led me to the greatest moments of my life so I never dwell much on them.

I had applied for Botswana National Sports Council elite scholarship to study at America and also pursue my professional football career.

The process was too long, I was sent from pillar to post.

I was already admitted at the university and what was left was for BNSC to release the funds for my trip and studies.

A day before my departure I was told the right procedure was not followed and I needed to apply again.

I have never been hurt like on that day!

My family had to call an emergency meeting and managed to raise the money for my flight ticket.

I left here with US$200 (P2, 000).

When I got there I found a piece job as a Valet in a hotel and worked for a Nigerian who had a studio at the mall not far from my house trying to make ends meet.

After three months that’s when I was told BNSC had approved my scholarship.

Q. Tell us about the nickname ‘Uturn’, how did it come about?

It came after the turn and strike against South Africa in 1999 at the National Stadium.

I made a quick turn before scoring a wonder goal that marked the start of my impressive career.

It was during COSAFA Cup preliminary game and I was only 21.

I scored a brilliant goal beating the then Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Brian Baloyi.

That was impressive!

Wow, I’ll have to YouTube it!

Q. You mentioned moving to America in 2000 at the age of 22 – what stands out most in your mind about that time?

That football has opened doors for me.

It was very tough at first when I arrived because I did not have a sponsor.

I worked extra hard on the field to market myself to be signed by a professional team.

I had to quit my studies because I could not turn down Denmark, a lifetime opportunity.

I did not want to live with the ‘what if I had not gone’ question hanging over me.

Q. What was the best thing about living in America?

It was an eye opener.

There were lots of opportunities and it made me see life differently.

I would say that is where my professional career started.

They had the best facilities for my career development.

Q. You played in Denmark for a while – what was that like, both on and off the pitch?

I was there for seven months and it was a big learning experience.

The football is not the same as ours.

Q. What do you remember most about your first Zebras call-up – you were only 20 at the time!

I sat on the bench and was grateful not to make an appearance.

I scored on my debut against Lesotho in a friendly match.

Q. Having captained the national team in qualifying for AFCON 2012, you missed the first game through suspension.In the second, you scored the country’s first ever goal at the tournament – a 23rd minute penalty to equalise against Guinea. Stepping up to the spot, what was going through your mind?

The time is now. God had brought the moment to make history.

That was the most difficult and biggest task in my football career.

Q. Fast forward to today, what do you think the Zebras are struggling so much? Where are we going wrong?

The mentality and desire is not the same.

Q. Do you think Amrouche is the right man to take the national team forward?

He is a coach with a huge CV but we have to come to the party to help him move the national team forward.

It is just that the mentality and desire is not the same as ours when we qualified for AFCON.

We were playing for the nation, appearance fees were not even an issue; we were very passionate about our careers.

Q. Toughest opponent you played against?

Mogogi Gabonamong.

He remains the only player that frustrated me to a point where I was given a red card.

He is very intelligent and could read my moves.

My uncle bought me soccer boots in Germany and they didn’t fit me so I gave them to him because we are friends and I always treated him like my younger brother.

When we played against Mogoditshane Fighters, he stepped on my toe to win the ball and I became so angry.

I think it’s because he did that with the boots I gave him!

I shouted at the referee for not protecting me and I was given a red card.

Q. Dipsy today v 21-year-old Dipsy: what’s the difference?

I’m a wiser man now!

Q. It is rumoured you intend to stand as a BFA National Executive Committee additional member in August’s elections. Any truth to this?

(Laughing) What would be wrong if I decided to run in BFA elections?

On a serious note I have not made up my mind but I believe it is high time footballers run football.

Q. Tell us about your football academy and what inspired you to start it?

I want to share my football knowledge and help players live their dreams in football as well as give back to the community.

We also teach them life skills because there is life after football.

They are coached by Vincent Kgaswane.

It is unfortunate that due to Covid-19 pandemic we are not training but we gave them a training programme to follow at their homes.

We will bounce back once WHO give us the green light.

I want it to be a world standard academy and produce professional footballers.

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday, what are your plans for the weekend?

I will be just home with my family and my beautiful two daughters.

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Entertainment

Amantle Brown teams up with Gigi lamayne for “sedidi”

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Amantle Brown teams up with Gigi lamayne for “sedidi”

Defers sophomore album to September

Brownies as she affectionately calls her fans, can brace themselves for Amantle Brown’s sophomore album, which was delayed by the global pandemic, COVID-19.

After a four-year hiatus, Brown’s album will finally drop in September.

Her debut album ‘Sa Pelo,’ which had chart-topping singles such as ‘Moratiwa’, ‘Black Mampatile’ and ‘Sa Pelo’ shot her to the top and won her many awards.

The album, Amantle Brown has confirmed will have 13 tracks.

Voice Entertainment caught up with the petite singer after she released a teaser to the upcoming album, featuring South Africa’s elite rapper Gigi, Lamayne (25) for her latest offering dubbed “Sedidi”.

“I started working on the album as early as last year. When looking for whom to collaborate with, I reached out to Gigi Lamayane and she agreed to set up the meeting. Early this year she came to Botswana for radio interviews and we decided to meet up and record the song,” Amantle Brown said.

“As you can imagine the lockdown has affected a lot of my plans, including the release date of the album. I literally had to go back to the drawing table with the team. There is a lot that goes one behind the scenes before releasing an album. I know all eyes are on me now, first of all it has been a while since I released an album and secondly I have to top the first album, and that is pressure on its own,” Amantle Brown further shared.

Targeting a younger audience with her latest offering, Amantle Brown has switched to a more upbeat tempo.

“We decided to take the dance route. Without completely losing our original touch, we have infused Afro Pop and dance beats into my sound,” she said.

Commenting on her recent controversial post about female hygiene on social media Amantle Brown said, “I was trying to give advice to my ladies about hygiene. The truth of the matter is a lot of us ladies have bad smell down there, so I was trying to share with my followers what has worked for me. I wasn’t expecting it to blow up that way. I have since deleted the video. The backlash was really bad.”

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