It was an intriguing melting pot of minds at Maitisong this past Wednesday, as artists and corporates gathered to celebrate two things: the second season of Maitisong’s Madi Majwana and Barclays’s new programme Ready To Work.
As both programmes circulate the topic of money, they have a similar purpose: to enhance financial literacy in Botswana. Like sex and religion, money is an uncomfortable topic. In the African context, it is taboo to be asked of your income or how you spend your money. It is further disrespectful for a child to ask about their parent’s salary and where the money goes within a household. Keeping money talks as taboo is probably why we are all so secretly bad at financial responsibility.
After a successful first edition of Maitisong’s Madi Majwana, the financial literacy radio programme is on it’s second season. Proudly sponsored by Barclays Bank, Madi Majwana is set out to eradicate the stigma around money talks and owning up to being financially responsible. Madi Majwana is an interactive live theatre and radio program with details our common personal struggles we have with money, along with issues that surround our community such as rhino poaching – which end up affecting our own industries at an intrinsically local level.
With the joint launch billed at 18.00 for 18.30, I was slightly expecting (but not hoping) for us to play within the African stereotype of never being on time. Apologetically, the show started 7 minutes late with an apparent flaw of lighting and sound. Fortunately, the audience and myself easily lost our disgruntled feelings on punctuality courtesy of the lighthearted chemistry between the two MC’S Yarona FM’s presenters Phenyo Moroka and Dollar Mac. Dollar Mac was incredibly funny adding a little wit into the programme – using his nick name as the backbone of a few of his casual effortless jokes.
With welcoming remarks from Maru a Pula’s principal Mr. Andrew S. Taylor, we felt a slight break of the stereotype that financial literacy is only within the uneducated community. As he shared with us, he looks back at his first salary and wishes that he was more informed to make savings and investments at the time, a regret that rings true – we always wish to have saved or invested then, instead of the huge splurge we made at the time. From a personal standpoint, most of the people I know don’t have a savings or investment plan, which shows that even after so many years, there still is a need for financial knowledge sharing.
Shortly after a quick speech, Maitisong Director Gao Lemmenyane gave a short insight on the economic benefication that the Madi Majwana show brings to the country. Although we hear 20 odd voices in the episodes, Madi Majwana has created employment opportunity for over 60 people cross industries, including interns in University, the private sector and will be branching out into the tourism sector through the Madi Majwana tour, rippling into the hotel & catering and transport industries. This proves once again that the creative industry needs further investment, as it ripples into other economic sectors that do need a boost in activity.
Just before yet another speech from the managing director of Barclays Bank, a short video depicting the actors, writers, and representatives from Maitisong and Barclays sharing their insights on Madi Majwana and it’s impact on our nation. I felt as if it may be redundant, however new points were solidified from Ms. Reinette van der Merwe (Barclays Bank MD). We got to understand from the horse’s mouth that there is a need to invest in the creative industry for purposes of diversifying the economy, further alluding that it should still be with purpose of the organisation’s purpose – which is why Barclays and Maitisong forged such a partnership.
As the show continued, I couldn’t help but notice constant yawning and heads rested in palms and shoulder blades of those next to them – the constant talk in the evening was slowly becoming tedious. Coincidentally entertainment followed with two short theatrical skits from some of the cast of Madi Majwana. The first scene detailing the perils of owing rent while money troubles suffice – your girlfriend losing her job because the company she worked in closed it’s business while your own business needs more customers to at least break even at the end of the month. The acting from 2 of the 3 cast members was well and efficient while the leading actor casually known as Mudongo may have suffered from the ‘overacting’ bug, although some would argue that it was method acting. With cringe-worthy acting errs such as mumbling over forgotten lines and looking directly at a person who, in the scenario, isn’t anywhere close to your radius he couldn’t manage to carry his role that could make the skit holistically enjoyable.
The second and last skit included a story heavily relatable to the young working women. A story of a young accountant working in a large firm for the past 6 years. Same position. Same salary. Same responsibility for close to 6 years. With a new job opening she is hesitant on applying, as her self belief is countered by a little voice in her head; the sound of her constantly disapproving mother. With her mother constantly comparing her with her siblings, she automatically feels as if she may not have the intellect for the job. Further solidifying this belief is her supervisor/ unlisted sex offender, who believes that the only way he can give her a recommendation, is if she could produce a beneficiary of her own to him. It’s an uncomfortable story of normalization of sexual harassment in the workplace vs. an unnurtured relationship with parents which has its effects on how you want to receive your income. The story was open-ended, but we can catch more through the running Madi Majwana episodes here.
As the launch continued, I realized that this is exactly where I would’ve prefered it to end. I was edging to meet and greet with the cast members and a few familiar faces in the audience, but we still had yet another speech and presentation from a marketing head from the sponsoring bank.
We got schooled on the ReadytoWork programme, and although I may have felt a bit lagged, I saw this programme as not only beneficial to young graduates but to myself as an entrepreneur as well. The Barclay’s ReadytoWork campaign is a solution to young people not knowing how to adjust efficiently in the working world. Much like Madi Majwana, it is aimed at sensitization of financial responsibility but expands to equipping young people with skills needed to make critical transactions when they finally step into the working world. This includes entrepreneurs and start up businesses run by young people (such as myself). This program is run in partnership with Botho College.
From this talk, we were entertained by Sereetsi, a local folklore musician , further having a listen to an excerpt of full show derived from radio. Although there is significance in knowing the show, it felt a little redundant entertainment-wise, thus exacerbating my fatigue.
It was time for the guest of honour, Deputy Govenor of Bank of Botswana, Oduetse Motshidisi to hand his honorary speech, however he spoke to an exhausted audience, who slowly got to pick up a few gems from his speech. Based on the importance of a financially responsible society citing that banks can get a maximised service if their market was financially literate.
The governors speech His speech was followed by dance entertainment by TNT, whom we have previously highlighted their amazing dance skills. Dancing to a fresh mix of the Madi Majwana theme song, I couldn’t help but wonder that perhaps launching both projects at the same time was not the best idea, particularly because one project can overpower another with its presence.
In a nutshell, because I’m acquainting myself with the Maitisong’s well established reputation in hosting shows, I am fairly disappointed in the organization of this launch. Perhaps if the entertainment streamlined between the speeches, with each speech being slightly shorter. Better yet, it would have been better if it was a morning event, when we wouldn’t have been worn out by the hot sun and our daily activities.
Catch Madi Majwana episodes on Yarona FM 6.50 am every Monday, or catch up on old episodes here.