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Reaching for an artistic dream



Reaching for an artistic dream

Man makes a living through cartoon murals

A bad performance in BGCSE exams did not deter a determined young man of Mahalapye from reaching for his dreams.

Insisted of wallowing in self-pity, Thapelo Dipatane decided to use his God given talent to eek out a living.

His work has however since become a hit with pre-schools where he freely expresses himself through impressive cartoon murals on walls.

Reaching for an artistic dream
EXPRESSING HIS ART: Thapelo Dipatane

“Art has always been a part of me. When I started I was with Thapong Visual Arts Centre in 2006, but I have since branched out on my own,” Dipatane has explained.

His big break at Thapong Visual Arts Centre, which has served as a springboard to his successful career presented itself soon after high school.

And now he is grateful that finally he is able to pay the bills through his talent.

His first major art project was at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone in 2010 and since then he has been busy with art.

“I have always felt art is what I want to do my whole life and it’s the path that I have always wanted to take from the beginning,” he says, adding that unfortunately the local curriculum does not allow for the recognition of talents from learners at the early stages of education for purposes of nurturing.

“When you are at a primary school, you will be asked as a learner what you want to become, and many will say a teacher, nurse, doctor and so forth but it is not everyone who wants a career in those main stream professions,” he said as he highlighted the need to tweak the curriculum and make it inclusive.

The 36-year- old artist is of the view that technical education should be promoted and encouraged in schools, all the way from lower schools.

Reaching for an artistic dream
EXPRESSING HIS ART: Thapelo Dipatane

He says if artisan subjects could be introduced at primary school level, many children would grown up to become successful individuals even if they do not excel in academics.

While many in his profession prefer producing artworks for sale, Dipatane has chosen a different path by specializing in painting cartoon murals on the walls of nursery schools.

“I chose that career path because there is a lot of pre-schools coming up and right now I can confidently tell you that I have a captive market, although like in any other business there are some challenges,” he said


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ABSA in the money



Bank registers 15 percent profit increase

Two months after its official name change, Absa Bank Botswana has announced a 15 percent jump in profits.

This week, the bank’s Managing Director, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane revealed that despite the challenges faced by the industry, Absa registered profit after tax of P678 million for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2019.

Highlighting the bank’s success, Finance Director, Mumba Kalifungwa explained it continued on a forward momentum of driving interest income growth through prudent lending across all segments.

“On a gross basis, interest income was up by 10 percent year-on-year (YoY). However, market liquidity in the year was thin and this resulted in increased costs of funds,” he said, adding overall net interest income increased by six percent.

Furthermore, according to Kalifungwa, Absa’s net trading remained flat despite an increase in trading volumes.

“This was due to the tough trading conditions and the global geo political challenges experienced in the year. To this end, in 2019 our net fee and commission income as a portion of total income represented 35 percent of total revenue which resonates with our strategy to diversify our revenue mix,” he said.

When it comes to credit losses or impairments, the bank’s expected year-on-year credit losses decreased by 64 percent in comparison to the prior period.

Kalifungwa attributed this to the Absa’s enhanced collections capability, conservative credit extension to high risk sectors especially in the Retail segment as well as significant recovery from one of their clients.

HAPPY BANKER: Kalifungwa

The Finance Director added that as they continue to pursue growth the overall balance sheet grew by 11 percent, ending the year at a whopping P18 billion.

“For the year under review, our customer loans and advances grew by 13 percent compared to market growth of 7.7 percent. This was achieved by growth in all our segments in line with our growth strategy,” he explained, noting the main driver behind the balance sheet’s growth continues to be loans and advances and customer liabilities which remain key drivers of the bank’s total revenue.

During the period, Absa’s loans and advances to customers increased by 13 percent YoY to P13billion.

“The growth was fairly distributed across the segments in line with our strategy and continues to be focused around prudent lending in our chosen business segments,” Kalifungwa concluded.

Meanwhile, the bank has set aside a total of P231 million as dividends for the year, with shareholders set to receive 25 Thebe per share.

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Local suppliers ally fears of shortages



Fear marched menacingly into the country this week as the reality of COVID-19 began to hit home.

Botswana, which goes into lockdown this Friday, imports the majority of her basic commodities – including food, beverages and fuel – from South Africa (SA).

With SA embarking on a three-week lockdown last Thursday, it seems inevitable this will lead to a shortage of supplies here.

Although travel is restricted between the two countries, government has announced that movements of goods will be allowed.

However, it is feared the South African lockdown will lead to demand surpassing supply in the country, which in turn will drastically reduce the amount of goods available for export.

With South Africans engaging in widespread panic buying, emptying all the shelves in major stores, this could potentially prove disastrous for local supply.

The rapid spread of the virus, which has already reached many parts of the world, claiming thousands of lives in the process, has had unprecedented effects on the global economy.

While there is fear of shortage of foodstuffs, distributors have allayed such concerns, as they believe they have enough stock to supply the local market.

It will soon be seen if their confidence is well placed!

Claude Hassett, the Managing Director of one of the leading distribution companies, CA Sales and Distribution told The Voice on Wednesday this week that consumers need not worry as CA Sales has triple extra stock to supply the market.

“Besides, trucks are still allowed to get into the country,” said Hassett, adding that they are hoping that the situation will not get worse.

Hassett although the spread of the Covid-19 has affected virtually everyone they have enough stock in the inventory.

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