Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Media practitioners to get Petlo tips
"One of our aims as Petlo Literary Arts Trust is to support, encourage, and develop literature and the arts in Botswana. We have identified the media as a key partner in this endeavour and to this end we are organising a workshop," a statement from Petlo stated.
The workshop is open to journalists, cultural practitioners, tourism marketers, freelance writers, editors of newspapers, and media students.
Speakers at the workshop will include, Head of School of Visual and Performing Arts, Professor David Kerr, UB Media Studies lecturer Wanja Njuguna, veteran journalist Rampholo Molefhe, architect and development consultant Neo Modisi, and UB senior lecturer Barolong Seboni. The workshop starts at 8:30 and ends at 17:00 on each day.
Broadening horizons: putting theory into practice for a student newspaper
Wanja Njuguna, University of Botswana
the University of Botswana’s Media Studies Department (MSD) was started in 2002. The programs in the department are both practical and theoretical and therefore highly intensive. Students are expected to write, read, observe and discuss constantly the media as they see and use it. High standards of commitment to the programme and absolute professionalism with deadlines and well presented assignments are some of the goals expected of the students.
The aim of UB Horizon, an intentional learning tool, is to provide practical print journalism and thereby fill a training vacuum in the journalism industry in the country.
The newspaper was envisioned as the department’s most powerful journalism teaching tool, providing students with real, hands-on journalism experience on deadline that will qualify them for media jobs after graduation. It would also serve to strengthen the university as a whole by providing fair, balanced and accurate news to the UB community of students and staff.
The newspaper would help the print media students practice what they had learnt in theory in courses such as beat reporting, health, science and technical reporting, business, finance and tourism reporting, editing, feature and magazine writing, and investigative reporting. Other courses that benefitted from the paper were media management, desktop publishing and advertising. The media management course would provide market research and monitoring for the paper, the desktop publishing course would aid the newspaper with design work, while the advertising course would help get adverts for the newspaper. Whereas the students would not be paid for their work, those who got adverts for the paper would be paid a 10% commission.
MSD partnered with the McGee Foundation, a US private foundation dedicated to promoting sound journalistic practices in Southern Africa, in its efforts to build an excellent journalism education center. Until last year, when the recession affected the foundation, it sent at least one fellow – a media professional – every other semester to teach journalism skills and provide general assistance to the department. The paper was to be published three times a semester except the last month when students are busy with assignments and exams. It was to be run entirely by students of the Media Studies Department, but with supervision by departmental staff.
Before the newspaper began, a college-wide survey was conducted by students in the Media Management course, to find out whether it was a
viable project and if so, what the students wanted to see in the paper. Based on the results of this survey, the paper decided to give the following prominence to student politics; academic issues; social problems on campus; economic issues; administration and management issues; school gossip; sports news; local advertising; academic staff issues; editorial/opinion pieces; off campus effects affecting UB; cultural effects; UB support staff issues; off campus events not affecting UB; and others (religion).
UB Horizon would be a 16-page, full-color tabloid published monthly during the academic calendar and although it would publish under the supervision of the MSD, it would strive to be an independent voice for the students and staff. Students would generate the stories and photographs in the department’s journalism classes, participate in story editing, design and lay out the newspaper and web site,
sell advertising, distribute the paper and manage the business. It would carry news stories relevant to students and staff including sports, politics, feature stories related to student life and arts and entertainment. It would have a full editorial page including student-written editorials, cartoons, letters to the editor and guest opinions.
The newspaper was to serve a community of 15 000 students and 1000 staff. The first issue, hit the streets on 21 March, 2007. While the initial issue was free, the second was sold for P2 (ZAR 2) in the college and a number of newsstands. Out of 3 000 copies, however, only 900 were sold and many of the initial advertisers threatened to withdraw their ads; as a result, the editorial board decided to distribute it free but seek strong adverts to help run it.
The fact that those who wrote or designed for the newspaper did so on a voluntary basis without any incentive, except seeing their bylines on the newspaper, soon became problematic, especially since the advertising team was getting commissions whether the advertising money was paid or not.
Students would promise to deliver articles, work in the design team or get ads but if they had a lot of class work too, their class work took priority and delivery for UB Horizon took a back seat. We reached a point where I was literally begging to get the newspaper moving from writers, to designers to advertising. The advertising team was the worst. They had realized that the paper actually depended on them for survival and they started calling the shots. As I tried to bring professionalism into the newspaper, I started putting in a few rules here and there. For example, to ensure the advertisers were delivering their payments, I made it clear that the commissions would only be paid after a cheque was delivered. The
response of the advertising team was to refuse to solicit ads. That month the newspaper was printed with only one single ad – an ad that a computer company customer had signed a contract for a year to appear on page three. The only way we were able to publish that month was the fact that we had a relationship with the publisher, Mmegi Publishers, which printed without being paid upfront.
However, the rule on advertising was to prove a plus as I stuck to it and the money started coming in. But the advertising team, still didn’t cooperate fully. As a result, a partnership agreement was concluded with a company, Simply Marketing, in terms of which we were to produce the stories while the company was to get adverts, market, publish and distribute the newspaper. An advantage of this partnership was an increase in circulation from 3 500 to 10 000.
The partnership soon ran into censorship problems when Simply Marketing unilaterally removed some stories it believed would anger the government and college leadership. However, we insisted on sticking to the initial agreement where there would be no censorship and if the company was unhappy with a story or picture, they informed us in advance. without taking matters into their own hands.
While the partnership was a financial relief, allowing us to concentrate on reporting and design, the voluntary work in getting stories and design work started becoming a nightmare. Other academic work took precedence and UB Horizon work would take a backseat, as there was no great incentive to write or design for the newspaper. We therefore decided to fully incorporate the writing of stories into the Print Courses’ assessment from the academic year 2009/2010. The stories are marked by the lecturer as an assignment but the electronic copy of the same is given to the student editors to edit and then return to the lecturer for final editing before it is ready to be placed on a page by the design team.
A deadline for the stories/assignment is given and this has at least ensured the stories come on time and those that do not meet the deadline are not used. Students have to share up to four bylines and it is up to them to learn partnership skills so as to present the best stories. For every group, it is required that the students say who did which work towards the story.
My experience in a commercial newspaper in Nairobi never prepared me for what I encountered at UB running a newspaper. A number of important lessons were learnt. Firstly, When you start a student newspaper, you need to know where the money will come from. Secondly, if it is to be a student learning tool, there are two options: either you incorporate it into the curriculum, or you ensure the college finances the newspaper fully so that you minimize your problems of printing, distribution and news desk communications.
The many challenges that the UB Horizon faced have helped our students realize that the world of work is difficult and also that, apart from the obvious factors of skills and resources, there are many economic, political and social factors which impact upon the production of a newspaper. n
|Jazz Explodes at Shanti Lo and Ivan Mazuze’s Show|
|Written by ...........|
|WEDNESDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2010 12:59|
Sample this Jazz Recipe: Take Botswana’s afro pop/jazz singer, Tumediso ‘Shanti Lo’ Kagiso Loeto on stage, mix him with Mozambiqan born Jazz player, Ivan Mazuze , thoroughly shake the mix. Result? The best jazz night you have attended in recent years. That is what guests were treated to last Thursday night, October 15th at Maitisong.
Mazuze, 30, who is one of Mozambique’s best know jazz players but currently based in South Africa, was in town to promote his debut 11 song CD, Maganda which is named after his traditional name.
The explosive show was set off at 8.00pm by Shanti Lo and his band consisting of Enock Mbewe on Drums, Dingala Mpoloise on Percussions, Andrew Chinganga on Saxophone and this time around, two new addtions to his band: Saki Nonong on Bass Guitar and Daniel Njoroge Njuguna on Keyboard.
He had one vocalist, Lapologa Seetso who has also appeared on his show several times. Dressed in a dark brown body hugging outfit with a gold band on his waist and his dreads flowing, Shanti Lo set the stage for what proved to be a very exciting evening at the centre.
He played eight songs non-stop before a break that ushered in award winning Mazuze. The songs he played, some of which will feature in his upcoming CD were, Are Fofe, Be Butle, Ke a mo rata, Kgogomodumo, Lerato , Boloi, Ngwao and his ever popular, Ditshwanelo.
After a short break, Mazuze took to the stage at about 9.45pm where he played his Saxophone interchanging between a Soprano and Tenor Sax.
Others in his five person band were vocalist, award winning Scholtz, the brilliant Khyle Shepherd on Keyboard, Frank Paco of the famous Tucan Band on Drums and Lucas Khumalo on Bass Guitar.
Scholtz’s light and mellow voice was perfect for the mostly instrumental jazz music that Mazuze played for the night.
Scholtz is a well known jazz singer in her own right. Coming from a musical background where her father played an alto saxophone in a seventies dance band, she studied Opera with the Eoan Group and later at UCT, graduating in 1997 with a distinction.
In 2002, she was named Best Vocalist at the Old Mutual Jazz Awards where Mazuze also won Best Composer. Other awards include Standard Bank’s Young UCT Artist and three albums to her name: 2002’s Zillion Miles and more recently, Connected and Standards.
One of the most exciting things about the Mazuze performance was the coordination between him and Scholtz. Dressed in bright purple shinny trousers with white and purple broad checked shirt and close cropped hair and Scholtz in a petite black evening dress the duo wowed the crowd as they sang looking at each other most of the evening.
Speaking to Timeout after the show, Shanti Lo was all praises for Mazuze: “I enjoyed the training session with Ivan in the afternoon as he has studied music and understands much more than I do about the theory of music, the intricate things in instruments and jazz in general.” Of key importance to Shanti Lo was the confirmation that he did not have to have studied music to be a good jazz musician. “
After the show, Mazuze said the importance of goals and following up on them. “I had a clear vision of what I had to do in order to succeed in the music industry. I realized that educating myself and mastering my instruments was not enough, and while studying I set up my own production and publishing company to handle the administration and business side of my career. I always dreamed of recording my own music right from when I was very young and I did not wait for record companies to offer me a deal – I started my own company and did it my way.
Speaking about two of his songs in particular – Felicidade and Papa Samora, Mazuze said, “Any of you who know the importance of a mum will understand why Felicidade is about my mum – powerful woman in her own humble way. What about Papa Samora? “Though I was young when he was killed, our former President Samora Machel used to preach and say, “Don’t cry and work but I did when he died, it was such a blow for Mozambique and I am asking him, “How can we not cry about your death?”
Besides singing and teaching, Mazuze also writes for various magazines such as Talking Drums and ethno-musicological journals. He plans to start on his Phd soon.
BY WANJA NJUGUNA
"Shanti Lo" dazzles at Maitisong
Selolwane, who until recently played for Hugh Masekhela, has also played with other reknown singers such as Paul Simon among many others. Others in the band for the evening were Enock Mbewe on drums, Elliot Morgan on keyboards, Kabelo Tamukate on bass guitar, Dingalo Mpoloise on percussions and Andrew Chinganga on Saxophone.
During the show that was interspaced with loud cheers from the audience and singing along, Shanti Lo sang more than 12 songs, dressed in his usual fancy clothing but his trademark dreadlocks were not visible the whole evening. The singer sang his first song, The Look of Love and a few others, dressed in a flowing metallic orange coat, which sparkled with the dim lights on stage. He later changed into an African design white top, trousers and head scarf, a tight fitting yellow leather outfit and finally, a sky blue top and brown trousers.
The singer gyrated to his own music churning out some of his popular songs such as Lerato, Ubuntu, Tshuele, Ditshwanelo and Boloi. The crowd screamed the loudest and sang along when he sang Ditshwanelo, Ubuntu, Tshuele and Boloi. Other songs were Summertime, Ke A Mo Rata, Mas Que, Nada, Ma Africa, Emang, Ngwao and Keogomodumo among others. As he sang Tshuele, he encouraged the crowd to clap and sing along much to their excitement.
According to Katumbela, though the show was not house full, they were happy with the attendance that was marked by a larger number of young people than more mature ones, who are often associated with the love for jazz. He however lamented the dismal support local artistes get from locals when they stage shows. "The problem with Batswana is that they do not support local artists as much as they support foreign ones," Katumbela said. "If this was an international artiste, we would have had to look for another venue," he added Katumbela said that from the comments he has had previously and on that night after Shanti Lo performs, he believes the young jazz singer is headed places. "The fact that he is the only one from Botswana who will show case his talent at the South African event says a lot for itself," he said.The singer's manager believes Grahamstown will be a selling point for Shanti Lo as he will show case himself among the best the continent has to offer.
Shanti Lo, who is also a fashion designer and is due to release his third album soon, started singing when he was nine years old when he sang with the Watoto ensemble, which was a mix of Batswana and South African musicians. He later opted to be a backup vocal for his mother, Mpho Loeto and the Family Joint, a gospel music outfit. His first album was entitled, Koi.The singer has also been an apprentice for Punah Gabasiane, Ndingo Johwa and the late Duncan Senyatso. He has featured on his mother's album, Haufi le Morena, Johwa's album, Batalaunda and Citie Seetso's album, Initiation. He has also previously backed South African cabaret singer Abigail Khubeka at a show in Jwaneng. He has previously played with Unity, Shine and Gem bands as well as Abraxas Jazz Combo
Shanti Lo's career is said to have started rising when he performed at the World Summit for the Sustainable Conference in South Africa a few years back. Other festivals that he has performed at include Alliance Winter, St Louis jazz and Stanbic Jazz Festival. He has severally participated in Maitisong annual festival. In 2006, he was nominated for the Botswana Music Awards best Afro pop album and later declared Botswana Television (BTV) Blue Crystal Morakagana Music Competition champion.Before setting base in Gaborone, Shanti Lo was in 2002-2003 based in Johannesburg, as a resident performer at various hotels, including the Holiday Inn.