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Standing for education

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Standing for education

Having spent the majority of his schooling life boarding in hostels far away from his family, Kebadiretse Ntsogotho knows only too well the pain of not having a school in one’s village.

Now at the helm of the North West District Council, Chairman Ntsogotho has put education among his top priorities in the District Development Plan.

In this week’s interview with FRANCINAH BAAITSE-MMANA, the 40-year-old, who was chosen for the top post back in December, details his experiences and outlines his plans for the future.

Q. Congratulations on your new post. How does it feel?

A. It is an achievement for me because there has never been a Council Chairman in this district from Khwai before.

Likewise, there has never been a Mosarwa [tribe] Council Chairman in the district before.

I am the first Mosarwa to hold this fort and I do appreciate the respect and recognition extended to me by Khwai residents and the entire council.

Q. What drives your zeal to push for education development, especially the construction of satellite schools in settlements across the district?

A. I grew up in Khwai but I spent most of my school days away from home.

I was in boarding schools because there is no school in Khwai, even to date.

I was separated from my parents, siblings and relatives most of the time and I do not wish for the coming generation to go through that.

Q. How did you cope with life in the hostels?

A. It was challenging! At the time there were no mobile phones and I only got to talk to my family on school holidays.

I missed them a lot and again there was a lot of bullying that I had to deal with from other pupils.

I had to mature fast and learn to do things on my own, wash my clothes and clean up without assistance.

The best medicine for bullying was to ignore those who tormented us because we were very far from home and with nobody to take our side in times of trouble.

We stayed the entire term in school without meeting our parents or relatives so we had to learn to survive on our own.

That must have been hard!

The system is very bad and since we have gone through it we know how hard it is.

You get homesick, you miss your siblings, parents, homemade food, the village life.

That is the reason I am pushing very hard to ensure that satellite schools are put up in all settlements which have no schools as a matter of urgency.

All children deserve to stay with their parents and I will be happy to see all Khwai children back from hostels and schooling in their village.

It will make me happy to see Boro children no longer having to walk the 18 kilometres distance to school.

There are many settlements in our District which are in dire need for schools.

Ditshiping, for instance, has no school, but a pre-school was donated to the settlement.

The plan is to develop that pre-school to include lower primary classes so that at least Standard 1 and 2 pupils can study in their village.

Q. In your experience, how does hostel life affect academics?

A. It affects academics because when you are in class and missing home, you cannot concentrate.

It torments children emotionally as well. Besides, every child needs parental guidance unlike where children are taken to hostels where there is a mix of culture and practices from different backgrounds.

For example, some children are allowed to engage in love relationships and sex at an early age whilst some are taught that doing so is bad.

This mix at a tender age creates confusion and results in bad behaviour from some children.

Q. Did you endure some bad experience at the hostels?

A. I started school in hostels and we were bullied a lot, especially by day-schoolers.

As they stayed closer to their families and homes we could not retaliate for fear of being counter-attacked by their older siblings and parents!

Q. Back to the present – what are your immediate plans for the district’s children?

A. There is a school in Khwai and we are hopeful it will open very soon once the teacher’s quarters are completed.

We will introduce Standard 1 and 2 classes in Ditshiping and Boro.

There is a school in Jao that has to be opened as a matter of urgency.

Q. Admirable projects but how do you intend to achieve all this?

A. Through the Constituency Development Fund we will address some of these issues.

We are working together with Members of Parliament to ensure this happens.

Government is launching a knowledge-based economy and it is important that this is done right from grassroots level by ensuring that it (government) educates all generations.

The people have to be educated in every step and level of education so that as the government preaches a ‘knowledge-base’, it has made the rightful commitment and investment in that regard and carries everyone along.

Q. Growing up, what did you dream of becoming? Was it always your ambition to venture into politics?

A. No, I wanted to be a medical doctor, that was my dream.

But as we know dreams change with time.

And again, because of educational challenges, options change.

Education needs to be nurtured from early ages.

Of course I have gone as far as university level, though it was long distance, but I have gone that far.

What I want to point out here is I may have achieved more had I been staying with my parents during my school days.

Q. As a Khwai native, which is one of the district’s more remote areas, your rise to Council Chairman is quite the achievement. Is the village treating you as a celebrity?

A. Of course they are proud of my achievement, more especially that we are from a so-called ‘minority tribe’.

But when I am in the village there is nothing special about me – I am a child just like any other child in the village.

Nothing has changed. We interact the same way we were before I was elected to the council.

Q. What other plans do you have for the district?

A. A lot. I wish to see Maun become the picture of a real resort town.

Maun needs a serious facelift.

Look at the likes of Durban, Windhoek, Cape Town and others, their planning was well thought out.

We can, for instance, improve the main street which runs from the bus rank through the Old Mall past the New Mall.

I want to see Maun have at least one big fruit and vegetable market, vendors selling in well-planned-for structures.

We need clean streets. Also, the roads in the district are very poor.

Like I said, a lot needs to be done!

Q. Is this the reason you refused to have a Chairman’s Ball in December?

A. The Chairman’s Ball is an annual event where we meet as councillors, eat and drink. But ultimately, in the end it does not benefit our constituents in any way.

It has no impact on the lives of the people.

There is a lot that can be done with that budget. For instance, we have a new school in Sexaxa which is in need of teaching materials.

The money can be channelled to that immediate need or alternatively help push the two-teacher school project in Boro.

Q. So did the money saved from cancelling the Ball contribute to some of the developments you have just stated?

A. We used the money to sponsor a workshop for councillors.

The workshop was to teach councillors on the council policies among others social services and by-laws.

This was because we have reaslied that a lot of time is wasted when some councillors debate on matters they lack understanding on.

We are now looking forward to a house full of informed councillors who will table motions to challenge policies which they feel need to be changed, amended or cancelled.

This was done within the Chairman’s Ball budget.

Q. Moving away from the council, are you a family man? Do you have children?

A. Yes I am married to Grace Ntsogotho and we have no children.

Q. How do you spend your free time?

A. My schedule is very busy. Besides being a Council Chairman, I do run my small businesses on the side.

So when I am not doing council work I am catching up on the businesses.

Q. And finally, Thank God It’s Friday – what are you up to this weekend?

A. I am going camping with some of my friends, councillors.

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Zeus to release Pieces of the Now

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Zeus to release Pieces of the Now

One of the few local artists to ever receive the coveted Chanel O award for the category Best Male Award ; Zeus (Game Bantsi ) is currently working on his much awaited album, which he hopes will reignite his 2014 fame.

Voice Entertainment visited Zeus at one of his rehearsals where he is also preparing for his fourth album, which will be called ‘Pieces of the Now’

The last time Zeus released an album was back in 2013 dubbed “African Time”. Commenting on his next offering Zeus said, “The coming album will have about 15 songs but as you can imagine we have not finilised the list. I have featured about four guys in the album one guy called Rane Rap who is based in the US and another rapper from Namibia called Dollars or Yens as well as Owie and ONx Da Poet.
It is a really exciting project that has been a long time coming and I really can’t wait to have it out,” Zeus said.

Catching up on his thoughts on the state of the of Hip Hop at the moment, the “Gijima” rapper said, “Today’s hip hop music is more diverse that it gets credit for. The biggest problem is not that everything had gravitated to one sound, which is an arguable view, the biggest problem is how media covers the current hip hop.”

Asked to elaborate Zeus said, “There aren’t enough acts who are very organic in their appeal who get coverage. There is still a lot of lyricism in the game.”

But who does Zeus believe is the best rapper in BW? The energetic rapper who is also part of the organizing committee of popular Jam4brunch event said, “There are different traits we can look at and each one of those traits someone excels at. Ideally you would want an artist who can bring all those together from flow, to content to multiple perspectives and storytelling. When I think of flow, I think of Veezo View. When I think about say perspective a guy like Frost comes to mind.”

When I think of new age hip hop trap soul kind of vibe a guy like Manne dilla comes to mind, But if I am to name someone who brings it all together I would say arguably ATI. I can’t overlook him. But all the other mentions are special names,” Zeus said.

However there is no MC Zeus will rather not face , “One thing I have maintained is that one should be always ready to fight. I am confident enough to say there is no one I would shy away from if they want to go at it.”

Zues has another collaborative project with rapper Nomadic also expected to be released this year.

In the mean time he has released his single, Gotta get mine, which has shot up the ranks in the local charts.

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Hail The Teen Queen

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Hail the teen queen

Miss teen Botswana crowned 2nd Princess at Miss teen international

Miss Teen Botswana, Anicia Gaothusi was crowned 2nd Princess at Miss Teen International pageant, which was held in New Delhi India recently.

The 17-year-old Ledumang Senior School Form 5 Student won Miss Teen Botswana to secure her place on the world stage.

The Tutume born princess was previously crowned little Miss Districts of Botswana, Miss Multimedia and Second Runner up Miss Teen Africa.

Hail the teen queen
A RISING STAR: 2nd Princess at Miss Teen International

Our Reporter Portia Mlilo had a chat with this princess about her career in pageantry and her international achievement.

Q. When did you start participating in beauty pageants?

A. I started participating in pageants when I was doing Form 2 at Bonnington Junior Secondary School in 2017.

It was just small beauty pageants first, but last year I decided to compete on another level so I participated in Miss Teen International Botswana and won the title.

Q. Take us through your journey from the auditions for this event to the final, how was it like?

A. I was very nervous but at the same time looking forward to being part of the pageant.

After auditions only 30 girls from all over Botswana were chosen to compete for the title.

I was so excited to be among the top 30.

I knew it was time to learn and grow because I believed that the Miss Teen International Botswana title would help me gain my confidence and step out of my box and grow into a leader.

The journey during the competition was amazing as I learned a lot and definitely grew to being a confident person.

Q. When you were crowned Miss Teen International Botswana, did you ever think you would end in the top 3 in the world?

A. I was crowned Miss Teen International Botswana 2019 on the 27th of April 2019.

I was myself all the way and I believe that hard work does pay, so with the effort I had put in I was sure that no matter what happened I would win my crown.

With practice and support from Diamond Pageantry Academy I was definitely ready for the world competition.

Q. What kind of support did you get from the Ministry of Youth during your preparations for finals?

A. All the sponsors brought on board and their contributions to the Miss Teen International Botswana pageant were communicating with management not me directly therefore, my manager would be in a better position to answer that.

Q. What are some of the challenges you faced during your preparations?

A. My major challenge was finding a balance between school, fittings and practice for the talent section as well as attending pageantry classes at Diamond Pageantry Academy.

It takes a lot to get ready for an international competition and it needs one to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge.

Luckily for me I was blessed with an incredible team that helped me find a balance between my duties and responsibilities.

Q. How did it feel when you were announced second runner up, a position that was never reached by any competitor from Botswana before?

A. Being crowned the 2nd runner up was just an amazing experience truly a dream come true and as the first miss Teen International Botswana to actually represent Botswana, it felt surreal.

Q. President Masisi congratulated you on his official social media page, how did you feel about it?

A. Being congratulated by the President definitely made me happy.

That was when I realized that I have made him proud and for the achievement I have truly made my country proud.

Q. It was your first time to compete on an international stage, did you have stage fright? If yes what calmed your nerves?

A. I definitely had stage fright and I believe that no matter how prepared you are for the stage, you are always going to have that fright, but the overwhelming support from Botswana definitely kept me moving and gave me the confidence to pull out all the stops and represent because at that point I was no more Anicia but Botswana.

I was an ambassador for my country.

Q. What was your question and were you sure your answer was satisfactory?

A. My question was, “What is pride?” The first thing that popped up on my mind is the phrase ‘Our Pride Your Destination’ Brand Botswana.

I started from there and elaborated more on what it means to us as Botswana.

Q. What have you learnt from this competition?

A. I have learnt a lot especially having met girls from all over the world.

I have learnt different languages and traditional life styles and now I have international contacts.

It was an eye-opener and it is an experience that I will use in my career going forward.

I have also learnt that you have to read a lot, know what is happening around the world and be informed so that you do not struggle when you are asked a question during the pageant.

Q. How do you plan to use your title to motivate your peers?

A. As a young person and a public figure, motivating my peers is my number one aim.

I started off as a shy person and grew into a confident person and that is a compelling story that I can share to motivate the youth.

I will be launching a project soon named Lights to give the youth light and to encourage them to believe in themselves. Look out for it.

Q. What are some of your duties that come with Miss Teen Botswana title?

A. With this title my duties are to finish my project and reach out to as many young people as I can and help them believe in themselves.

I plan to do this through a project I mentioned earlier.

Q. How do you balance your education and pageantry?

A. Mixing school with being a teen queen is definitely not easy but with time management and a good timetable for every activity it becomes easier to manage.

And the Miss Teen International team has also made it easier for me to balance both.

One of the incentives that came with the prize is management paying for my extra lessons. I have a tutor and for that I am grateful.

Q. What advice can you give to those aspiring to be beauty queens?

A. To be the best in this career you have to win the hearts of the people both locally and internationally.

I will also advise them to be their authentic self, have confidence and be disciplined.

Q. What does it take to be the best in this career?

A. Know that your personality is your true beauty, it brings out the real queen within you.

Q. Do you have a dietitian? What do you eat or avoid eating to maintain a perfect body?

A. As a student and as young person, I love to exercise and I do mind fatty foods.

Home cooked meals have been always my favourite.

I avoid eating out at the restaurants.

This has kept me as healthy as I am.

Q. What is your future plans as far as your career is concerned?

A. My future plans are to pass my BGCSE exams and study medicine or accounting.

These two are my dream careers and I want to achieve.

My dream is to be the next Miss World or Miss Universe.

Q. Who is your inspiration?

A. My biggest inspiration is my family, my mom who has inspired me to become a hardworking, loving, and compassionate and caring young lady.

My grandmother who has inspired me to be who I am, she taught me that blessed is the hand that gives.

My family’s unwavering faith in me has always been and will always be my drives to stay optimistic and push to have my dreams come true.

Q. How do you kill your time?

A. In my spare time I draw portraits, write poems, short novels and listen to music.

Most of the time I practice and watch other beauty Queens interviews on their programmes, projects making impact in other people’s lives on interview.

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

A. I am doing my final year and I have started preparing for my BGCSE so my schedule is very hectic.

Saturday morning I will be at school for my weekend studies and Sunday I go to church with my family.

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Vee’s displeasure

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Vee's displeasure

Kwaito star blasts YAMAs for ‘Dumalana’ snub

Kwaito star Vee Mampeezy has slammed Yarona FM for ‘snubbing’ his hit song ‘Dumalana’.

Last Thursday, the radio station announced the nominees for the sixth edition of its popular awards show, the YAMAs.

Despite boasting over four million views on YouTube, ‘Dumalana’ failed to make the ‘Song of the Year’ category, much to Vee’s dismay.

Instead, the six tracks that will battle it out include: ‘Rolling Stone’ (ATI), ‘Peter’ (Bouncy), ‘Rejection’ (DJ Kuchi featuring Han C), ‘Dlala Ngamla’ (Girly), ‘Re ma Afrika’ (Phologolo featuring Zakwe) and ‘Cream’ (Veezo View featuring Ason).

Speaking to Voice Entertainment this week, Vee remained adamant his single should have been nominated.

“I am worried. If it was someone else who had such a big song how would it affect them? The station has decided to turn a blind eye but one need not be a rocket scientist to figure out that ‘Dumalana’ was the best song of 2019!”

When Voice Entertainment suggested it was perhaps a sense of entitlement that made Vee feel this way, the artist responded immediately, “This is the first time I am speaking out about this. I am just saying let us be fair. I have never ever complained in the previous years. So no I am not entitled!”

Another big name to miss out on a YAMAs nomination was Double Up with his single ‘Thukwi le Mala’.

There was also confusion surrounding DJ Kuchi and Han C’s ‘Rejection’ nomination. Released in November 2018, sceptics suggested it should not have been nominated as the awards cover 2019. However, as the single was dropped after the nominees for 2018 were announced, it is indeed eligible for this year’s YAMAs

The 2020 edition, which will be held under the theme ‘Fabulous 20’, will take place at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Centre as organisers strive for their biggest attendance yet.

“This time around the YAMAs are back with a number of interesting surprises which will be unveiled during the awards ceremony. The YAMAs team is working tirelessly to make sure that this year’s event will be one to remember. The YAMAs brand has a new feel and the packaging is fantastic,” said Yarona FM Marketing Manager Kutlwano Monnamoncho.

A statement from the Radio Station also says, “The change of venue was due to the fact that the YAMAs have been attracting large numbers in the past years. This time around more than 3, 000 people are expected to attend the glamorous event.”

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