#CreateprenuerAfrica Botswanas Sledge Chizhala, Africa’s Chess Evolution Pioneer!

 

Chess may not help to build biceps or tone abs, but it guarantees a steadfast, lifelong capacity for mental health....much needed in our puzzled lives of chaos and confusion in the ongoing quest for Africa's emancipation! 

Sledge Chizhala realized the potential of chess to align the strategic thinking power of potential leaders at an early age.

He stays purpose driven to develop chess in Africa, as a tool to assess situations and discover committed paths of action on the continent! 



 

Its all about the children!

Chess is life. Chess is life mirrored on a board. Everything that happens in real life is chess, it’s only when you get to understand it and you feel it in your soul and spirit that you get to understand things better.               

Sledge Chizhala

http://facebook.com/schizala

sledgechizhala (Twitter)

Meet #CreatePreneurAfrica, Sledge Chizala, the pioneer of the chess evolution in Africa!

With My Dad, who has always been there for me in front of the great Nelson R Mandela in Johannesburg
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
I was 13 when I found my passion, which is chess, in junior high school. It was more like a calling because nobody had ever played chess in my family.
By his grace, God placed the right individuals in my life to find my true passion, from all my former coaches.
Mr. Jon Toscano was my chess coach, class teacher, science teacher and my father figure since my dad was making a living and trying to fend for the family in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mr. Toscano taught me all the basics a chess player needs to know. From chess books, and introducing me to chess clocks and playing chess on a laptop in rural Tutume, my home village!
 
I then proceeded to senior high school and met Mr. Sathiya Kandasamy from India who continued to coach me. After his passing, Mr. Mpowe who was also my chemistry teacher took over to coach me in chess.
We played in tournaments in Botswana and around Southern Africa. I proceeded to The University Of Botswana, where I formed a chess club called KINGS chess club which was to participate in the first ever Botswana Chess League.
It takes the whole village to raise a child as we say in Africa and the rest is history… 
Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life
My true and soul passion is chess, I love chess and everything chess with my heart, soul, and spirit. What drives me every day is the love for my family, my wife, and kids. She is my Queen! And my two beautiful kids are my Princesses. I was born out of love so let love lead and love conquers all.
My Beloved Wife On Our Wedding. The Queen Dipolelo Kristal Chizhala. Last but not least

What about your passion appeals to you the most?

Chess is life. Chess is life mirrored on a board. Everything that happens in real life is chess, it’s only when you get to understand it and you feel it in your soul and spirit that you get to understand things better.

Unraveling the mystery makes the game so appealing. Chess makes you smart and what appeals to me most is breaking all myths and stereotypes around chess, for example, everyone and anyone can play chess regardless of their age, color or religion. Chess is a beautiful game for everyone. Chess is like music to my ears!
What drove you to make money from your passions?

It has never been about the money, it’s about the people and spreading the Chess Gospel to all four corners of the world, through my Chess Foundation,

The Sledge Chizhala Chess Foundation which is the first of it’s kind in Africa. I have played chess all my life and my wish has always been to see it grow to dizzier the world over!
With Mpho Letsholonyane from Metro FM in SA CENTENARY Celebration for our Hero Nelson R Mandela
The mandate of my chess foundation is to help the Botswana Chess Federation promote chess and help where the federation falls short by bringing the corporate or private companies to assist in donating chess sets to marginalized places, the underprivileged and helping in gender issues.
The government surely cannot do it alone, due to other constraints, and that is how the Chizhala Chess foundation come in to bridge that gap. I also write articles for a local newspaper all in a quest to promote and sell the game for free.
 sledgechizhala
(Instagram)
When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

The first time I was ‘paid’ for my passion I was fourteen years of age, after coming 3rd and winning a bronze medal at the Debswana Junior Secondary Schools Championships.

It was a fierce battle amongst the top chess players in Botswana. I won a chess board and a small trophy for my efforts which I still have. It was payment in kind so to speak because here in Botswana we do not encourage paying school kids in cash so they focus on their studies rather than chasing the money with no education.
Discipline is very key. All our Five Generals including former President Ian Khama. Sport instils discipline. All the generals have preached that, in all aspects of life.
Chess is part of education but we encourage that we balance the school work which is the books with sport , which I believe is a brilliant idea. See I still have the small trophy, if it was money  I would have long spent the money. My trophies, chess accolades, and my chess talent are for keeps. Money comes and goes.
I have played chess greats such as International Master Robert Gwaze from Zimbabwe, Grand Master Judit Polgar from Hungary one of the best woman players of our time, to name but a few. I have played in the Junior Ranks and senior ranks and I have also represented The University Of Botswana at the inter-varsity games winning all medals in the process during my time at University.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?

Growing up in rural Tutume, north of Botswana there was no electricity. One day, my favorite teacher Ms. Kgomo sent me to her house to pick up something and when I got there, I found her kids watching a South African TV station powered by a generator. I  was so fascinated by the television set. It was my first time to watch a television in my life……I must have been  7 years or so.

 
Botswana did not have its own TV station then, then there came a TV commercial with a boy my age doing the unthinkable and at the end the boy said BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, NEVER GIVE UP, EAT JUNGLE OATS’‘ and that stuck with me ever since.
Healthy Mind Healthy Body. Lady Ruth Khama Marathon.
I got in trouble for taking too long at the teachers quarters. Giving up has never been an option for me really, I could share other countless episodes and then came chess which then has always kept me going, be it academically or in my personal life.
Chess is what cemented who I was and who I am, chess is my destiny. In chess after losing or playing to a draw with your opponent you rectify your mistakes, go back to the drawing board then start afresh, you never give up and its what makes life interesting, you win some you lose some BUT never give up!
My Grandmother, who took care of us. Mrs. Nlobi Chizhala, L-R My little brother Andrew Chizhala, grandma Myself in a hoodie and my uncle Luke Chizhala as kids
My parents also taught me to have willpower and the power of prayer at a very young age, I always prayed though I had no proof nobody could hear at such a young age, I just prayed for a better life, good health and getting more lambs (baby sheep)!
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?

Reading, prayer and seeing the happy faces and inquisitive looks on people’s faces when I impart my chess skills, unravel chess novelties and beautiful moves with the people motivates me to wake up every day. Chess gives all my students hope.

Charity begins at home. My parents have always taught me that I should share everything that I have, no matter how little it goes a long way. In Botswana, I have since volunteered to teach chess to prisoners, psychiatric patients, able-bodied kids, disabled kids and everyone willing to learn.
Why prisoners?…….. they are shunned by society and chess helps rehabilitate their minds and its also a form of recreation.
Prison kills your spirit and nothing brings joy to my heart like seeing them smile and understand chess regardless of their situation. We all deserve a second chance no matter the circumstances!
Given a chance, I can spread that all across Africa and the world and motivate people. Chess is a gentlemen’s game and makes you humble yourself in defeat and in victory by shaking hands with your opponent after the game!
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?

Nothing at all… Silence is Golden……

What advice do you give to aspiring creatives who look up to you?

Everything happens for a reason, so remain steadfast, remain committed and always be honest and true to life. Do not drop the ball. We are one people, one world! Amen

CreatePreneurAfrica – Botswana’s Donald Molosi’s “Critical love letters to Humanity”

It was a soul calling for Donald Molosi...born with a passion to spread the word. A renowned writer, playwright, and actor, he has been awarded over twenty-five acting awards internationally, fifteen writing awards and was the first Motswana to launch performances on Broadway.

“critical love letters” to humanity – Molosi describes his work in a BBC interview

In his viral essay “Dear Upright African”, Molosi explores the need for a liberated school curriculum in Africa. It is a calling for genuine African history in African classrooms.

He delivered a keynote address at the Bucknell University’s Black History month,  themed on the archives of post-Colonial African performance.

From an early age, Molosi sparked a flair for performance naturally. By the time he turned sixteen, he was already on the journey of touring with arts festivals and co-writing plays.

Molosi was the youngest to hit the airwaves when he became a Yarona Fm radio announcer.

He was a child presenter on Botswana Television in partnership with UNICEF to empower youth and make their voices count.

When he was seventeen, he wrote his solo performance, “Fragments,” based on children’s rights. The critically acclaimed  “Fragments” got him invited to the United Nations General Assembly on Children in New York and he performed  for world leaders like Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela.

He continued to advocate for children’s rights through his  “Can I live” poetry exhibition, based on interpretations of the  African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.[11

A language historian, Molosi is multilingual. He speaks Setswana, French, Swahili, and English. He is conversational in Ndebele and Zulu. His writings have shed light on the diversity if Africa in multiple narratives, debunking misconceptions of Africa.

He is currently represented by the  Pan African Waka Agency, founded by  award-winning actress and media proprietor from South Africa, Rosie Motene.

Theatre

  • 2003   Fragments

  • 2008   Blue Black and White

  • 2010 Today it’s me

  • 2013 Motswana: Dream again

  • 2017 Tumultuous

  • 2017 Yaguine and Fode project

  • 2017 Black Man Samurai

Filmography

2016 A United Kingdom

2009  Given

2007  Green Zone

  • 2006 Breakfast in Hollywood

His latest documentary, “We Are All Blue,”   an Africa Day premier on May 25, 2017, debuted all over Africa on DSTV, Multichoice. The documentary carries the final televised interview with the  late  Sir Ketumile Masire, former president of Botswana

It has premiered at the Ditshwanelo Human Rights festival and made a cinema debut in conjunction with the first Dalai Lama visit to Botswana.

Molosi shared the stage with Dalai Lama in the historic conference to explore the African way of life, Ubuntu/ Botho in the modern Botswana era. 

The  framework to heal the trauma of the colonialism and trauma  legacy, advancing in social justice and equality.

 

Molosi is also a songwriter and a singer and has a project lined up to showcase singing and songwriting.

Meet #CreatePreneurAfrica Donald Molosi

 

Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?

I am driven by the desire to live a life of purpose. My true passion is to express myself through writing and performance and I am elated to be having my passion as my profession, therefore.

How did you find your passion and how old were you?

My passion found me before I was born. I knew at 4 what I would do with my life and it is exactly what I am doing today.

I have been performing all my life and my early start meant that by the time I was 15.  I was internationally recognized enough for me to address the UN General Assembly at that age.

What about your passion appeals to you the most? 

I don’t think of my passion as something that necessarily has to have a wholesome appeal to me. It is a calling and I need to fulfill it to keep my spirit and the world around me stable.

What drove you to make money from your passions?

The need to grow the same passion. The ability to finance my plays and films and still travel the world launching my books.

I monetize what I do purely so that I can invest in my talent and growth and have freedom as an artist without being held hostage by misguided sponsors. That is partly because I come from Botswana where a real artist can only survive by investing in themselves.\

In Botswana, there are two ways to survive as an artist, generally – either by corrupt means or by monetizing your talent.

That is why I enjoy working on Broadway and Hollywood half of every year because in the US you actually compete against other talent and the arts are not subject to the corrupt whims of politicians.

When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

I definitely don’t recall the first time as I was below 10. I recall being extremely excited when I got my contract with Yarona FM when I was 15.

I was paid really well by Yarona FM even as a newcomer at the time. I was the youngest person on the radio at the time and the year was 2001.

 What kept you going when you thought about giving up?

I have had challenges but I am not sure that I ever wanted to give up. I operate in full knowledge that this is my life’s purpose and legacy.

So, even when I face challenges I go through them without shaking the core of what I do in the first place. And that is because I am clear about the legacy that my name should leave behind.

 What motivates you every day to be even more successful?

I only pursue success so that I can better help and mentor others. For me, success is never really for the individual alone.

I choose to live a life where I challenge myself to use every day to be there for myself and others. That motivates me to get up in the morning because that is work that is never finished.

What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?

I have nothing to say to them. I will let my work speak for itself and hopefully, they will learn from it the value of talent, hard work, and self-confidence.

 What advice do you give to aspiring creative is who look up to you?

I advise them to speak from the heart and to speak truth to power. African artists are too silent about the lack of art academies in our nations for example, and yet we pour our taxes into our governments hoping they build one.

African creatives must stand up and let the African politicians that we see the lavish ways our corrupt leaders live on our taxpayers.

We must let them know that we will not tolerate that selfishness any longer while our industries suffer and countries like Botswana don’t even have a national theater after 50 years of being a country ….And yet we have the most fantastic corruption of national funds that my generation of Batswana has ever seen!

 

Explore Motherland Africa – A Whirlwind Walk in Botswana- Lush Greenery and a Wealth of Wildlife

Botswana, the land of extremes, a dry desert in the Kalagadi region and then there the most famous wetlands in the world, the Okavango Delta.

Discover Makorosi!   The traditional canoes that are used in the delta for a takeoff into lush greenery and a wealth of wildlife.

It is a  dugout canoe that is ideal for mastering shallow waterways expertly steered ahead.

 


The Okavango Delta offers the enchantment of luxury, privacy, and connecting to nature. The lagoons are impressive with hovering birdlife, crocodiles, hippos and elephants, while zebras, giraffes and beautiful buck wander through the grass flats.

Predators are in the range like the hyenas and big cats. Then there is the endangered, rare wild dog. This largest inland delta in the entire world explains the wealth of excessive wildlife that makes one forget that Botswana is mainly desert.

The natural paradise wonder of Botswana is because the human population is tiny compared to the massive size. There are approximately only 1.8 million people in the entire landscape of Botswana.

Undoubtedly the animals do score but so do the people. Tourism is a huge business. Many flock from everywhere in the world to explore the wildlife in Botswana.

A large GDP percentage is from diamond mining. After diamonds were discovered, Botswana rose from an economic wasteland to be within the ranks of the highest growth rates in the world of economics.

The good leadership makes it a stable country that stayed that way, even in the colonial times. During the 19th century, when hostilities broke out between the Ndebele  (who were migrating from the Kalahari Desert) into the territory and the Tswana.

The leader Bathoen and Khama III and Sebele requested protection from the British Government. The northern territory continued as Bechuanaland Protectorate and the southern territory was integrated into the Cape Colony. It is in the north-west province of South Africa.

Botswana has two official languages, Setswana and English. Setswana is common to Sesotho. There is a good literature platform in Botswana. Bessie head, a well-known writer lived in Botswana in exile from the South African system and set many of her books there.

Other writers, Unity Dow as well as Norman Rush explored Botswana society and culture. Alexander McCall Smith featured  Gabarone with his First Ladies Detective Agency series of books.

Divine Botswana Munch Aways

Food specialities include the underground tuber Morama, similar to sweet potato, beans like ditloo,lethlodi( dried bean leaves, cow peas, the Kalahari Truffle,  ground nuts and peanuts as well as Morogo, a wild tasty spinach, it. Traditional homemade ginger beer is delicious.

A Walk into the Wild Botswana

The magnificent Kalahari is a desert that takes up seventy percent of Botswana.

The central Kalahari Game reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park offers great experiences in a wildlife venture.

 

A game walk is exhilarating. It gets you up,close and gives you a direct connection to the world of wildlife celebrities,leaving you snapping away to capture the memories.
If you are not up for the wild walk, mountain bike your way up the Tuli block or otherwise safari on horseback. Another way is a view from above from a helicopter.Or even venture into a hot air balloon and experience a thrilling open floodplain landing.
Sport fishing trends in Chobe, the Okavango, as well as major dams around  Bokaa, Shashe and Gaborone. There are thousands of flamingoes awesomely flowing over the Makgadigadi plans.
Explore villages and towns to experience true culture in Botswana.

Botswana currency is Pula. Pula is also a motto of the country - it means rain.

Everyone should see beautiful Botswana at least once in their lives.

Join a lifetime venture. ExploreMotherlandAfrica#

A special thank you to the Freeway Tours team Julie Hall and Thandi Brewer.
In memory of W.G Robertson