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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

Germany to return prized artefacts stolen from Africa during colonial rule

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The German government has agreed to return prized artefacts stolen from Aftican countries, particularly from Cameroon, Namibia and Tanzania, during the colonial times over 120 years ago, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The priceless artefacts which were looted by the German colonial government officials during the colonial era will be permanently returned to their original countries, the Foundation officials said.

The Berlin-based Heritage Foundation which manages museums based in the German capital said it had entered into negotiations on the returns of artefacts to their countries of origin.

According to the Heritage Foundation, some of the artefacts to be returned are a shell-studded statue of a mother goddess named Ngonnso, which holds “great spiritual significance for the Nso’ people of northwest Cameroon.”

The statue, according to the Foundation, has been part of the collection of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum since 1903, after a German colonial officer who had taken it by force from the Nso tribe ‘donated’ it to the government.

The board also approved the permanent return of 23 artefacts including jewellery, tools and fashion items, to Namibia, the statement noted.

The artefacts which were stolen from Namibia during the colonial period from 1884 to 1919, were sent to the southern African country in May for research purposes and will now remain there.

The statement further said the Foundation’s President, Hermann Parzinger, has also been authorised to sign an agreement on the return of objects Germany looted from Tanzania during the Maji Maji Rebellion and other conflicts during its early 20th-century colonial rule.

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Culture

Nigerian singing sensations, Wizkid, Tems, win 2022 BET Awards

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Nigerian music stars, Ayo Balogun and Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Wizkid and Tems respectively, were the biggest African winners at the 2022 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards ceremony, an annual award event to celebrate black excellence in music, culture and sports, held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, in the early hours of Monday.

The talented Nigerian songstress won in the Best International Act category, beating compatriot Fireboy, Dave from the UK, Dinos from France, Fally Ipupa from Congo, Little Simz from the UK, Ludmilla from Brazil, Major League Djz from South Africa, and Tayc from France, to clinch the coveted award.

While receiving the award, Tems, an advocate of women and girls’ rights, urged women to continue on their chosen path, as hard work usually pays off in the end.

“Thank you so much for this, thank you so much. It’s an honour… I mean, this is my first award show that I’m winning something and I just want to use this as an opportunity to speak to every single young, old, whatever, every single woman watching this, every single girl watching this at home. Where I’m from, things like this don’t happen,” the elated Tems said.

Wizkid also made history at the 2022 BET Awards when his super single ‘Essence,’ featuring Tems and Justin Bieber, won the Best Collaboration award and with that win, ‘Essence’ has become the first African song to win a BET Award, also making Wizkid the first Nigerian and African to win an award outside the Best International Acts category.

‘Essence’ dusted other songs in the category like ‘Every Change I Get’ by DJ Khaled ft Lil baby and Lil Durk; ‘Family Ties’ by Baby Seem ft Kenderick Lamar; ‘Whole Lotta’ by Bia ft Nicki Minaj; ‘Way 2 Sexy’, Drake ft Future and Young Thug, and ‘Kiss me More’ by Doja Cat ft SZA, to clinch the award.

Wizkid had previously won the BET Award when he featured on Beyonce’s ‘Brown Skin Girl.”

Before the win by Tems, other Nigerian acts who have won awards in the Best International Act include 2Baba, D’banj, Ice Prince, Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy.

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