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The year that was…

GABORONE, Botswana, December 2019 — 2019 has truly been a roller-coaster year both socially and politically. With the curtain closing in on 2019, we look back at a few key and happy moments that truly shaped this year in Botswana’s creative sector…

Steve Harvey’s promise to Botswana
American comedian, businessman and entertainer and host of The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Family Feud, Celebrity Family Feud, the Miss Universe competition and Fox’s New Year’s Eve, Broderick Stephen Harvey who began his career as a comedian was in Botswana recently at the invitation of President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi in a bid to promote the local creative industry. He was accompanied by a business delegation to explore potential investment and development prospects in Botswana’s creative arts industry.

True to his words, he has enrolled two Batswana creatives in Maxwell Dichi (TV presenter and actor) and Neo Aabobe (radio and television presenter) for a year-long apprentice programme to learn about the art of making Steve Harvey magic – ‘the LA dust’. Is this Mothusi the creatives are looking for – 2020 should surely be action time.

Steve Harvey with the then Presidential Affairs Minister Nonofo Molefhi.

Vee fills up Royal Bafokeng Stadium with Cassper Nyovest
Odirile Sento a.k.a Vee Mampeezy continues to shine as a man of many firsts. His Dumalana music video has hit over 3 million views on YouTube and that could not go unnoticed. He is also the only artist from Botswana to ever feature in Casspser Nyovest’s brainchild idea of Fill Up Stadiums. Even artists from Nyovest’s background wished to be on his line up but organizers chose our very own Mampeezy. Perhaps, his signing with Universal Music is after all a well-deserved blessing. Keep soaring high Vee.

Vee Mampeezy

President Masisi hosts local creatives at the State House
It was probably a first for many in the creative industry to set foot at the State House – the president’s residence for a meeting where Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi accompanied by his wife and first lady, Neo Jane Masisi hosted the creative industry for a well-deserved banter. The meeting saw president Masisi sharing his wishes as well as getting feedback from the creative industry on how best to take the country forward.

Well, this is what happens when you have a president who is passionate about your craft especially him being a former actor and good orator. The President vowed to assist the creative arts to exploit the whole value chain and explore opportunities in their industry. He said government would be at the forefront to ensure that spaces and opportunities are opened for all to shine.

“My job is to help you do it and I am going to do it. Do all you can, serenade the world and call the world to Botswana and if some can’t come to Botswana don’t feel shy pack your bags and go to them. The capability of exporting our culture and ensuring that it remains ours is what we have to do.” Botswana Unplugged was also present where an estimated 300 creative minds sat and discussed their passion with the first citizens. We can’t wait to see all the promised deliverables come 2020 Mr. President.

His Excellency the President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi.

The rise and rise of Han C
This pint-sized musician cannot be ignored and he’s truly testimony to many artists who are still looking for that well-deserved break. Officially known as Hanceford Magapatona, the young star did well by acquiring the services of a manager in the talented Boogie Sid; who truly understand music and business too.

Han C’s association with DJ Boogie Sid as his manager has landed him lucrative deals over the years – the latest being the Multichoice festive break advert, including perennial bookings too. This is no fluke for the young man to continue being relevant in a small market such as Botswana. Han-C, the world is watching, just continue working hard young lad!

NOW TV secures coveted slot on Dstv, increases content
Botswana’s young at heart TV station, NOW TV is truly going places thanks to its rich and bespoke content. Wanting to be a part of the game and play with the big boys, NOW TV recently landed a spot on the coveted Dstv bouquet (Channel 290).  Mind you, the channel, which is the brainchild of MYSC secured the slot just a year after launching last year.

Well done to the team at the youthful ministry. We are now on channel 290. Not only did they secure the spot, the almost increased content by 100% from the initial 22 companies that were procured at the start of the youth channel. We talk unemployment every day and it’s a serious concern, so for all these production companies if they hire 10 people per production – that’s going to be 500 creatives employed.

The newly launched NOW TV is also streaming online. The streaming is expected to provide an opportunity to reach a wider range of audience. Speaking at the NOW TV online streaming launch in November, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare said such development was a move with new trends and best practices in the television industry. The online streaming, he said would also promote and showcase local talent and grows the film and television industry in Botswana thus exposing emerging local actors and producers.

Batswana TV stars triumph in USA
Batswana TV directors, Gape Ndlovu, Masego Mohwasa and Kevin Sebolao secured two coveted awards. The secured awards are Achievement in Film Short and Achievement in Narrative Short respectively. The trio are former AFDA Students. Silicon Valley African Film Festival is an event that curates a world-class festival of African films and provides the audience with access to the richness, diversity and vitality of Africa’s creative expressions. 

The festival has built a significant following and it has become an annual destination film event that draws out of state and international guests to Silicon Valley. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF) is a showcase of seasoned and emerging filmmakers from the African continent whose works reflect the true stories, hopes and dreams of Africa. An African filmmaker with an artistic vision and voice that needs to be seen and heard uses this festival as a chance to showcase their talent. 

MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy Class of 2019, Masego Mohwasa

Watch Muvhango as Seretse and Marang shine
The demand for Setswana in South African television dramas and soapies alike is sky-high. Over the years, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the integration of Setswana into RSA’s film and television industry, which will over time create a happy ending for all Setswana-speaking natives, most importantly Batswana actors who have always wanted to expand their wings beyond our borders. This year, the duo of Maxwell Dichi (Seretse) and Sharon Seno (Marang) became the latest and new editions to South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC’s) channel 2 soapie dubbed Muvhango. Well done to the two!

Maxwell Dichi

Podium finish for Miss Teen International
Miss Teen International Botswana, Anicia Gaothusi ended Botswana’s year with a bang when bagged two prestigious titles being Miss International 2019 2nd runner up and Miss Teen International Africa 2019 in Delhi, India. Anicia makes history as the first ever title holder from Botswana to win the Multimedia Award. Miss Teen International India was crowned the overall winner while Paraguay got 1st runner up. Well done Anicia, you did us proud!

Chillyboy becomes the new minister of youth
Lastly, let’s welcome the new head honcho at the ministry responsible for the creative arts, Tumiso Rakgare – at only 35, whose achievements have surpassed expectations. His story start from when he rocked the microphone at Yarona FM and told Mr. O that he wants to be on radio and the rest is history. He succeeds big names such as Thapelo Olopeng and Shaw Kgathi – who still remember Kgathi’s tenure at the youth ministry. Well, how can we forget him after his ‘Channel Zero’ instead of Channel O tongue slip? This happened when our very own Zeus scooped an award. The then minister was just being genuine to acknowledge the talent that is Game Bantsi unfortunately his speech was ‘zero’.

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Moagi Madisa

"Although journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information and also the product of these activities; for me its science - our sorroundings"

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BOTSWANAUNPLUGGED is an exclusive online news and lifestyle magazine created for upwardly mobile citizens with distinguished tastes. Based in Gaborone, Botswana; UNPLUGGED is a quintessential online news and lifestyle medium (platform) which strives to speak to the soul of the country’s upscale lifestyle by setting its sights on the passion that permeates our region.

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