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I Love Botswana ensemble takes ‘best of Africa’ to Broadway

‘I love Botswana ensemble’ is expected to once again own the international stage, having wowed the world last year. This time, the group is billed for a grand appearance at the glamorous Broadway

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I love Botswana ensemble’ is expected to once again own the international stage, having wowed the world last year. This time, the group is billed for a grand appearance at the glamorous Broadway.

From August 22nd to 23rd the group is expected to draw crowds with their electrifying performances at the heart of New York at the Times Square.

The ensemble is a collaborative assortment of about seven groups namely, Mophato Dance Theatre, Skit Beat, Nare tsa Pina, Bana ba Kwena, Khudu Thamaga, Ntirelang Berman, and Tsoga Africa.

Speaking at the launch recently, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conversation and Tourism, Tshekedi ‘TK’ Khama highlighted that ever since his Ministry- through Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), refocused their energy into marketing Botswana through among others, the prestigious IT Berlin event they have had a turnaround of over P350 million.

“This is the best investment I know of. But today we are talking the next event, we are talking Broadway, we are talking something big. We need to stand up and be counted among the best,” he said.

Khama further said that ‘when we get to Broadway we are going to show them the best of Africa, we are going to blow them away. This is an opportunity that we have to show the world our culture and skill of the youth we have. We are going to show them what Botswana is and who Batswana are . I never imagined we would one day have a group to showcase in Broadway,” he said.

For his part, the man behind taking the group to Broadway, the President of the Battery Dance Festival- Emad Salem, said that they anticipate to put everything together in two months, something which he says is unheard of.

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“We are doing this in two months and it really is something that is unheard of. People usually take two years to bring such a production to life. We have a 360 advertising strategy to brand Botswana to millions of people in US, a billboard in the heart of Times Square.

Andrew Kola, the Art Director of the I love Botswana ensemble said: “It is every artist’s wish to stage in Broadway of course it is the biggest platform in the world.”

Kola further explained that their production called ‘Pula’ will represent all of Botswana’s tribes. “We all relate to the word Pula, it means a lot to Batswana and we use the phrase mostly in our celebrations and during gatherings. The production basically focuses on issues of the rainmaker who brings the rain.”

Culture

Nigerian first class traditional ruler, Ooni of Ife, makes Hollywood debut

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Nigerian first class traditional ruler, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has made an incursion into the movie world when he recently made a historic debut in a new Hollywood flick titled “Take Me Home.”

The revered King who played a unique role in the movie that succinctly befits his throne as the custodian of Yorubaland, said his role helped to further accentuate and brings royalty, honour and authority to the silver screen.

Produced by renowned produced by Yoruba historian and filmmaker Dotun Taylor, the film, “Take Me Home” centres on the quest for originality and identity.

According to Taylor, the movie “tells the story of an American girl who became possessed after wearing an African masquerade costume that was stolen during a tour in Ile-Ife.”

“In a bid to save her life, her entire family, guided by the promises of two African immigrants, embarked on a journey that would land them in hot waters.”

“As the spiritual and traditional leader of the Yoruba people now saddled with the responsibility of making supplications to God and the Òrìṣà on behalf of his people, Ooni boldly depicted the rich culture of the Yorubas and its relevance in the western world.”

The epic movie also features top Hollywood actors like Dave Sheridan, Amber Rivette, Felissa Rose, Meji Black, and Nollywood actors Abdullateef Adedimeji and Bayo Bankole (Boy Alinco) among others.

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Culture

Uganda Grammy nominee, Eddy Kenzo, using music to pave way for deprived kids

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Ugandan musician and first Grammy Awards nominee from the country, Eddy Kenzo, says he is using his music and status to pave the way for deprived kids in the East African country.

Kenzo who grew up as an orphaned and homeless kid, recounted his story on Thursday, said he used to struggle to persuade DJs to play his songs, but now, is using his success to offer hopes that even the poorest person can triumph.

Kenzo, whose real name is Edrisah Musuuza, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance, said he has only one goal which is to “broadcast his culture to the world.”

“I try to use my culture and what I know to sell to the world. I sell the language that I speak, I sell the music we do here locally and I modernize it and put out the sound that comes from where I come from and it goes global,” the Grammy nominee told entertainment reporters.

Despite growing up underprivileged, Kenzo said he pursued his dreams and made a name for himself with his hit single “Stamina”, which grew to become one of the most popular songs in Africa and dominated the airwaves for months.

And despite his meteoric rise to stardom, Kenzo says he hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings and is keen to pave the way for others like him.

Through his label Big Talent Entertainment, he now mentors Kampala’s disadvantaged youth to develop their musical talent.

Thirteen years after his big break, Kenzo is en route to take home a Grammy for “Gimme Love”, his 2022 Luganda-English song where he featured US musician Matt B.

“I love who I am, I love promoting who I am. I had to let him do what he does, but I had to make sure that I bring in myself in my own way. I started doing my Luganda and I taught him some of the pass, I told him to do it.

“And then this is what we did. And the message “Gimme Love” it’s all about giving love. Nothing could be better than that,” Kenzo said.

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