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The giver of hope

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The giver of hope

Christopher Christian Seagateng this week received the 116th Commonwealth Point of Light Award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The honour is in recognition of the 31-year-old Mmopane native’s exceptional voluntary service in tackling youth unemployment in Botswana.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London last year, Her Majesty, as the Head of the Commonwealth, is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.

The Queen will recognise one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week in the two years following the summit.

Seagateng is the co-founder and chairman of ‘BW Jobs 4 Graduates’, an organisation that helps young people learn new skills and find employment.

Founded in 2012, the initiative has helped over 11, 000 youth find jobs.

Seagateng is also part of the ‘I AM ABLE campaign’, a Commonwealth Youth Council concept which promotes the rights of disabled people within the Commonwealth.

He is also part of the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) as a Board Member and an Alumni of YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative).

The Voice’s Portia Mlilo sat down with this impressive young volunteer for a quick chat on the award and some of the projects he is involved in.

Q. What does this recognition mean to you?

A. The award means a lot, especially looking at the fact that we run the organisation from our pockets but with passion and focusing on our mandate of trying to bring change in our society.

It says a lot that someone, somewhere, sees and values the work that we do and also supports what we do to address issues of unemployment.

There are a lot of issues emanating from unemployment, like metal health.

This is a pat on the back to say, ‘despite all the challenges you are facing, continue going on!’

Q. What criteria was used to select award winners?

A. You have to be doing something in line with their requirements.

They saw that BW Jobs online platform is changing other people’s lives and made a follow up of who is behind it.

They asked me to send my profile through the link and I made it!

Q. You talked of running the organisation from your pocket. Does the award come with prize money?

A. It might not be monetary but more like we recognise, collaborate and avail resources to you.

It raises the organisation’s status and as an individual it adds to my personal development and growth.

Going forward, it is something that will open doors to the British High Commission office and have meaningful conversation to avenues of collaborations and complement each other on programmes we have.

Your passion for addressing issues of youth unemployment is obvious – what motivates you?

Every year we see universities releasing thousands of graduates who join others on the streets seeking jobs.

The inspiration comes from the fact that there is something that you can do collectively while we wait for intervention from the government.

Our slogan is ‘Changing Lives and Giving Hope’. Helping others find jobs or start businesses will definitely do that.

When you are not working you lose your status and dignity as a human being.

What motivates me are the untold stories that we often get from people we have assisted.

Q. Do you have any collaboration with Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture (MYSC) or BNYC to address unemployment?

A. In 2015 we went to present at MYSC for collaboration and they appointed me to be part of BNYC board.

Now I have the chance to sit with the Minister to advise the government of the day on the interventions that can be looked into.

In a way I have a say or contribute to some of the programmes that are at our ministry.

Our office as BW Jobs is also at BNYC and they gave us an extra room where we conduct our weekly sessions trying to impart knowledge on job enhancement skills to these fellow young people.

They also partly fund the Youth Jobs Fair where we partnered with five other organisations.

We bring employers to the fair to exhibit their vacancies, interview and hire on the spot.

Q. What would you say are some of ‘BW Jobs 4 Graduates’ notable achievements in its seven years of existence?

A. There are quite a few! We take part every year in Human Resource Development Fair and we look at the job market and what can be consumed from the tertiary institutions.

For the past three years we have been getting position one for the Best Youth Organisation.

We also train job seekers on how to write their CVs, application and motivational letters and prepare for interviews.

We have won Botswana Youth Award, International Labour Organisation Award and Africa Youth Award.

Our greatest achievement is helping more than 11, 000 people get jobs through our platform.

We have a database where job seekers have registered and can list their qualifications.

So when companies want to hire we share with them and select people for interviews.

Q. Any intention of turning this into a job recruitment agency?

A. My aim is to have at least four youth employment centres around the country, where employers can advertise their employment vacancy and people are called for interviews and get hired.

We can also use it to brainstorm, come up with proposals or ideas of starting our own businesses as youth and apply for start-up funds.

We would also want to consult for the government because the ministry alone will not manage.

They need a unit solely looking at youth employment – we will gladly offer our expertise on that!

Q. What are some of the challenges your organisation faces?

A. There are lots. We keep on losing volunteers as the organisation after they get permanent jobs.

I have been unemployed for almost a year now to focus on growing the organisation and introducing more programmes.

We do not have resources to reach out to other areas for other youth to benefit from our programmes.

We have four based in Francistown and they help in exhibitions in that area.

Apart from that we get help from HR Experts from Orange, BOFINET, Kwese and others who come on board and say youth are qualified but we are disappointed at what they put in their CVs and what they say during interviews is shocking.

So they help train them so they become equipped.

Q. How did YALI help you in terms of making a meaningful contribution to youth empowerment?

A. It was a great opportunity.

It was six weeks training looking at civil society engagement.

I was given a peer collaborator who works more as a mentor.

We have been quiet for months and are working on restructuring, looking into the board, fund raising and grant application.

As Alumni of the programme you are afforded an opportunity to apply for funding.

You are given an opportunity to travel and partner with people doing something similar to what we are doing.

I have found someone in Togo and next February we are travelling there to share ideas and skills.

Q. Sounds exciting! Moving on, what exactly does BNYC do?

A. Our mandate is to advise the government of the day on youth matters.

We are responsible for lobbying and advocating for development of policies and programmes affecting the youth.

We do not have a youth parliament so we act as one.

Q. What are your future plans for ‘BW Jobs 4 Graduates’?

A. Youth unemployment has been going on in the global agenda and as a country there are no joint efforts in addressing it.

We would also want to be able to reach all regions.

We are on the verge of launching an sms service where people can access job vacancies through their mobile phones not the Internet.

We are waiting for the regulator and we are done with negotiations with all the local network providers.

Q. Who is your inspiration?

A. There are a lot of people that I draw inspiration from -people who in their daily routine go beyond the means to ensure that they serve their communities.

I am also inspired by my mother, she supports me at all times.

Currently I am unemployed and she is there for me paying for my rent.

She is my pillar and believes in what I am doing.

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

A. I am a wedding choreograph so Friday we have a rehearsal in the evening.

Saturday the whole day I will be at UB Indoor Sports Arena for the second annual BNYC TV and Film Festival.

Sunday I will be at church.

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Mrs. Botswana retains crown

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Mrs. Botswana retains crown

Earlier in October, the unconventional Mrs. Botswana beauty pageant was marred by controversy and chaos as a group of aggrieved contestants petitioned the organizer to re-calculate the scores.

The controversial pageant made headlines when the hopefuls in an interview with The Voice called for independent auditors to be employed to oversee the whole process.

However, the event never materialized because the Chief Organizer, Kgalalelo Lesetedi said she was not pleased with the way the syndicate handled the whole matter in what she termed to be “ruining the brand’s name.”

Sitting in an interview with The Voice this week Lesetedi passionately recounted how she got to start Mrs. Botswana, which debuted in 2017.

“I saw it happening in other countries and I was like ‘Wow! We don’t have that in Botswana, what can a lady like me do? I’m married, so what more can I do?

I’m into the advocacy of happy and healthy marriages. It was a hard beginning, my husband even sold his car to fund my dream because I believed in this thing when no one did.”

In 2017, the crown landed on Keitumetse Motlhasedi and the 2018 crown was won by Keletso Linchwe both of whom went on to compete in China and the Philippines respectively.

Maureen Mathuba managed to snatch the crown this year.

“The first time I heard of Mrs. Botswana was when my sister told me she’s registered my name for the auditions. To me, it was a ‘Wow!’ experience. I have always wanted to be this beauty queen but there were no pageants catering for women with children and moreover, married. Finally there came someone who thought about giving us a chance to enjoy and acknowledge ourselves.”

Mathuba is currently conducting her project on Gender Based Violence and children’s protection.

It also strives to get boys and girls to accept and interact with each other without fear.

In response to the syndicate that pushed for the recalculation of the scores, Mathuba calmly stated, “This is a competition, I won the crown as any of them would have. If I had not, I would still say, this is a competition.’

The effortlessly beautiful woman will be leaving for Mrs.

Universe in China from the 21st December 2019 until the 1st of January 2020 and she promises to bring the crown home.

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BIMC, COSBOTS copyright master class to be held

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BIMC, COSBOTS copyright master class to be held

As the last lap into the final preparations of the much-anticipated Botswana International Music Conference (BIMC) gets underway, Copyrights Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) has joined the fray.

BIMC was first held in 2015 to expose local artists to the business side of the music industry.

It has continued to attract a big following over the last four years.

This year’s event has attracted 52 international speakers and delegates as well as 50 local speakers and delegates from various sectors of the music industry.

The man behind the event, veteran promoter and social media commentator Seabelo Modibe has said that international speakers are expected to share insights on Copyright Law and Royalty Management, a topic which has been causing a lot of confusion amongst local artists on how exactly COSBOTS works.

“As BIMC we believe that this Masterclass will help organizations prepare and stay ahead of the curve so that once licensing starts they are well equipped and tooled on Copyright and Royalty Management matters,” Modibe explained.

Next year COSBOTS will commence licensing rights such as reprographics followed by digital and online users of works such as mobile telephony, Over the Top Applications (YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram), streaming services and online broadcasters to name a few.

“BIMC and COSBOTS have found it fit to organize this particular Masterclass to make sure all users, copyrighted works administrators know their responsibilities as per the Copyright Act,” Modibe said.

The Masterclass will be held at the GICC for two days from November 27 -28th.

The speakers list comprises of Karabo Senna (RSA), John Max (Namibia), Adv. Nhlanhla Sibisi (RSA), Adv. Ntsietso Mokitimi Makhofola (RSA), Stephen Hollis, Mirrias Syamutondo (Zambia), Leemisa Molapisi (RSA) to name a few.

The music conference will also offer an opportunity for networking as it will host music distributors such as BET, MTV base, organisers of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Momix, The Imbizo, Moshito, locally celebrated Gaborone International Music and Culture week (GIMC), the Vic falls carnival just to mention but a few

@sharonmathala
sharonm@thevoicebw.com

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Celeb edition with Perion

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Celeb edition with Perion

This week a music sensation that has taken the whole country by storm, Perion takes us into his life in this two-minute interview.

Q. You have become quite a strong contender in the music industry since your hit single Lejebeje; briefly tell us about your music career.

A. My hit single Lejebejebe did incredibly well and that was probably the highlight of my career.

It was rough and tough when I first started because my music did not really get recognition and that can somehow lead to giving up as artists, but I kept on going and trying new things and new sound.

Q. Now I sit back and think back and I guess it is true one has to fall before you reach the top.What was your lowest point in life?

A. I think it would have to be back in 2008 when I lost my mom.

She was my everything.

Q. After her passing everything took a wrong turn because she raised me as a single parent and she was my support system, she was all I had.Sorry to hear that, How did you survive afterwards?

A. Music became the only way I could express myself and open up.

Q. Music kept me going and became my pillar; I just get in the music and forget about problems it is my own world.What is your fondest memory of your childhood?

A. Fondest childhood memory was when I got my first bicycle it was actually the in thing to own one and me being the first to get one out of all my friends in the neighborhood was Gold for me. (laughs)

Q. Who was the last person you texted and what did you say

A. Last person I texted was my best friend and we were about to head to the studio.

Q. Any new music on the works?

A. I am working on quite a number of singles, but at the moment you actually came at the right time as I have just secured collaboration with one of the biggest Nigerian artist.

Q. The song is almost complete so be on the lookout for that one. What advice would you give your 10 –year- old self?

A. The advice I I’d give to my 10- year- old self would be to learn how to adapt, compromise and overcome.

Q. Who is your celebrity crush locally?

A. Definitely Seneo Mabengano, former Miss Botswana.

Q. What is your current favorite song?

Q. Wale ft. Jeremiah -ON CHILL If you had one superpower what would that be?

A. If I could be able to get to any place in the world when I think of it and just be there with a snap of a finger that would be dope.

  1. Tell me five things people don’t know about you.
  2. I am the last born in our family
  3. I am short tempered
  4. I produce and write my own music
  5. .I am a great cook.
  6. Both my parents are late

Twitter: @sharonmathala
Email: sharonm@thevoicebw.com

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