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‘A Song of Comfortable Chairs’ by Alexander McCall Smith: Book Review – Oakville News

This month’s choice is just what we all need, I reckon, now that September is here with the days getting shorter and work and studies once more becoming onerous – not to mention any inevitable commuting. 

A Song of Comfortable Chairs is the 23rd book about the trials and triumphs of Botswana’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.  You don’t need to have read any of the previous 22, although, like any series, some knowledge of previous events in the life of this ‘traditionally built’ lady detective and her assistant can make it easier to settle into a story that possesses all the cosiness of your own, very comfortable armchair.

A new company in Gaberone’s office furniture market is undercutting prices, offering doubtful incentives and generally behaving unprofessionally towards Phuti Radiphuti’s well-established company.  His company has always been known not so much for the latest fashion in office furniture as for its very comfortable chairs, which are especially suited to those of ‘traditional build’.  Unfortunately for the interloping company, Phuti is also married to the agency’s assistant detective, and word soon spreads about his company’s sudden loss of sales. Adding to their business problems are the couple’s efforts to reach out and help the troubled son of an old friend.

What to do?  

Much of the charm of these engaging books, and especially this one, is the way in which possible solutions are considered and even arrived at by Mma Precious Ramotswe, the No. 1 lady detective herself. Sometimes alone or with the help of her assistant and always aided by a cup of traditional Rooibos tea, Mma Ramotswe mulls over solutions, considering them not only in light of their legality but her personal philosophy.  No student of law, or philosophy for that matter, can better lay out a complicated argument as well as its pitfalls – not surprising considering the author’s own legal background.

Will Phuti’s own campaign against ruin prove successful, thanks to Mma Ramotswe’s ideas? Will her legendary patience and the determination of the good friend who runs a local orphanage be enough for the Radiphutis to help the troubled boy?  In this captivating story, former apprentice, now fully-fledged car mechanic Charlie also has a starring role. Author Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors, who has written and contributed to more than 100 books, including specialist academic titles, a gently satirical series set in Edinburgh, short story collections, and a number of popular children’s books. His first book, The White Hippo, a children’s book, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1980.  His new children’s series, The School Ship Tobermory, is proving popular.

McCall Smith was born to British parents in 1948 in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).  After studying law at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland he worked in universities in the UK and abroad, including many years in Botswana, where he co-founded the University of Botswana’s law school and taught law there. An amateur bassoonist, he has also co-founded The Really Terrible Orchestra and was one of the founders of Botswana’s first centre for opera training called, inevitably perhaps, the Number 1 Ladies’ Opera House.

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Ghanaian Fashion Creative Nuel Bans Invited For Huge Partnership In Paris, France – YEN.COM.GH – Yen.com.gh

  • Emmanuel Ekuban, the Editor-In-Chief of Debonair Afrik has been putting Africa on the map in the fashion industry
  • His efforts have helped to bring African fashion to the forefront of pop culture on the continent
  • As a result, he has earned a welcome to France to engage in a partnership at a top-tier event dubbed Africa Fashion Up

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The founder and Editor-In-Chief of Debonair Afrik, Emmanuel Ekuban, has been welcomed in Paris, France to partake in a groundbreaking partnership.

Emmanuel better known as Nuel Bans is known as one of the first and few fashion creatives who have dedicated their time and resources to the documentation of fashion and lifestyle in Africa.

His efforts helped bring African fashion to the forefront of pop culture on the continent. He also serves as the Creative collector to the Style lounge Platform, Creative consultant to Tex Styles Ghana Ltd (GTP) and an art director to notable fashion brands on the continent.

Read also

Morocco king invited to Algiers summit despite tensions

Nuel Bans showcasing his work in Paris
Photos of Nuel Bans
Photo credit: @nuelbans via Facebook
Source: UGC

As myjoyonline.com reports, Share Africa with global fashion house Balenciaga organized the event in partnership with other organizations to showcase the vitality of current African creativity through fashion to the global audience.

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The event that is dubbed Africa Fashion Up has the goal of becoming a major outstanding leader in the market space by creating a generation of uninhibited designers who give pride of place to audacity, color, and originality.

How Black Sherif a Ghanaian Rapper Gets 1st BET Nomination

In another story that made the entire nation proud, young Ghanaian rapper Black Sherif, known in private life as Mohammed Ismail Sheriff, grabbed his first-ever BET nomination.

Black Sherif has been nominated in the Best International Flow category at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards. The ceremony is slated to take place on September 30.

Read also

Global Citizen Festival: Walking Dead actress Danai Gurira hosts events in stunning see-through outfit

According to Hiphopdx.com, Black Sherif will compete against eight other rappers for the award. Two of his competitors are Africans, Blxckie from South Africa and Nadia Nakai from Zimbabwe.

The other nominees are Benjamin Epps (France), Le Juiice (France), Central Cee (UK), Knucks (UK), Haviah Mighty (Canada), and Tasha & Tracie (Brazil).

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Source: YEN.com.gh

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fashion an lifestyle

Why a high-flying multi-lingual investment manager entered Miss Great Britain – The Independent

A high-flying investment manager who speaks six languages hopes to shatter stereotypes that women can’t be successful and take part in beauty pageants by being crowned Miss Great Britain after winning a regional contest she applied for on a whim.

Always a whiz with numbers, Audrey Ward, 26, worked hard to achieve her dream of working in finance – securing her first job after university as a finance analyst in Hong Kong.

Working her way up the ladder to investment managing in March this year, Audrey who lives in Mayfair, London, found herself applying for the Miss Central London pageant show on the spur-of-the-moment, after stumbling on an advert that reignited her childhood dreams of becoming a beauty queen.

To her surprise, the 26-year-old won the title in a stunning floor-length royal blue dress, meaning she is now preparing to strut the catwalk once again in the hope of becoming Miss GB at the contest being held on October 20 and 21.

Audrey in her stunning blue dress as Miss Central London (Collect/PA Real Life)

Audrey, who is single, said: “I want to show women that you can do both – you can be successful in business and follow your passion.

“Don’t allow yourself to be put in a box – you can go for what you want and what makes you excited.

“Being crowned Miss Great Britain would mean the world to me and I would feel so proud.”

While Audrey always knew she wanted to work with numbers, growing up in Harrogate she had early dreams of becoming a beauty queen, too.

Audrey Ward, 26, is an investment manager and a pageant queen (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “Maths always came very easily to me and I worked hard to do my A-levels so I could study Economics at Nottingham University.

“But when I look back, when I was around 10, I did actually have an interest in pageantry.

“I remember seeing it on the TV, like Miss USA, and thinking it looked so cool, but assuming it wasn’t something we had here.”

Putting her pageantry dreams aside, Audrey focused on her studies, as well as enjoying a year abroad as part of her degree in Ningbo, China, in 2017.

Audrey has always loved fashion (Collect/PA Real Life)

After graduating in 2018, Audrey secured her first job as a financial analyst with an investment bank.

She said: “I started from the bottom and worked my way up.

“It was very hard and the environment was very competitive so I had to learn to put myself out there.

“Especially as a woman in a male-dominated industry, I had to have a lot of confidence and learn to use my voice.”

Audrey Ward, 26, says she gets the best of both worlds (Collect/PA Real Life)

Audrey added: “It was definitely scary but I loved it because it was such a challenge.

“There was such an amazing atmosphere and I loved the unfamiliarity of the city because not many people actually spoke English.”

Already able to speak French and Spanish that she learned at school, English and Hebrew, and Shona – a language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe which she learnt from family – Audrey set about learning Mandarin too, among other activities.

“I would spend my weekends hiking or volunteering to pick up rubbish at the beach and find new experiences,” she said of her two years in China.

Audrey is a high-flying investment manager as well as a pageant show winner (Collect/PA Real Life)

“I have also always been very interested in fashion and beauty, too.

“I never like to follow the trends because I don’t think they are sustainable – my style is far more classic – like a trench coat and good boots.”

As the pandemic was brewing in early 2020, Audrey moved back to London and found a role working in private equity.

Then, scrolling on Instagram one evening in March this year, she landed on an advert for the Miss Central London pageant – and all her childhood dreams came flooding back.

Audrey Ward, 26, will be competing to become Miss Great Britain on October 20/21 (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “I saw the advert and I thought: ‘Wow, that would be amazing’, but I didn’t know if I would have time or if I could.

“I decided to apply because I thought I had nothing to lose.”

To her surprise, Audrey was accepted to take part.

She said: “My family were very shocked at first but also really proud. I told my work straight away, too, and they have been so supportive.”

Audrey is living her childhood dream (Collect/PA Real Life)

In preparation for the July show, Audrey needed to raise funds for the pageants two charities, Alex’s Wish, which raises funds for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Cancer Research.

Doing bake sales and a 10K walk for every day of June to raise £500 in total for the charities, Audrey said it meant a huge amount to her.

“I lost a best friend when I was 14, who died of cancer, which I think was bone cancer,” she said.

“It was really shocking and had a huge impact on me.”

Audrey Ward, 26, hopes to shatter stereotypes (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “Since then, I have always been very passionate about raising money for cancer charities, which is why this meant so much to me.”

Then on July 24, Audrey stepped out onto the catwalk in her first ever pageant, wearing a £400 ‘Red Carpet Ready’ blue gown.

She said: “I didn’t even get my dress until the night before and it was too big at the top, so my mum had to tailor it!

“As soon as I stepped onto the catwalk, I saw my mum and best friend in the crowd and that calmed my nerves.”

Audrey Ward raised £500 for charity in the lead-up to becoming Miss Central London (Collect/PA Real Life)

Audrey added: “I just thought, I’m only going to do this once in my life. It was exhilarating.”

To Audrey’s surprise however, she was crowed Miss Central London, meaning she is automatically in the running for Miss Great Britain – along with 39 other women.

She said: “I was so shocked but I felt so proud.

“If I could be crowned Miss Great Britain, it would mean everything. I would love to give it 100% and do it properly and support the causes I feel so passionately about.”

Audrey is hoping to be crowned Miss Great Britain next month (Collect/PA Real Life)

Audrey will face a number of challenging rounds at the final – including three judged walks for fashion wear, swimwear, evening wear – and an on-stage interview which she hopes by taking part she can help tackle any stigma surrounding pageantry.

“There is still a huge stereotype that women can’t do both finance and modelling and pageantry, but that is because people still don’t understand pageantry,” she said.

“They give women a voice to shout about things they’re passionate about and there is a huge amount of self-development and giving back.

“I feel hugely motivated to encourage other girls to apply because I think it can give you so much confidence and purpose.”

You can support Audrey’s fundraising here –

And here .

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fashion an lifestyle

Young People From Former British Colonies on the Queen’s Death and Monarchy – Teen Vogue

As someone who wants to see my nation thrive, it’s impossible not to call out the British monarchy for its role in our setbacks today. The biggest outrage is that people keep calling on the colonized to show compassion or “stop being insensitive” for not caring about someone that literally killed half of our population. It’s time we start asking the oppressors for compassion and accountability and stop expecting the oppressed to not be angry.

Asjal, 22, Pakistan 

My grandparents migrated from India after the partition, so we lost a lot of heritage, friends, and family members.… I felt indifferent to [the] Queen’s death, but the whole carnival around the coronation and celebration just reminds me that Eurocentric, hegemonic beliefs and apathy might never die, and that makes me angry and sad for my ancestors.

Komal, 27, US (Punjabi)

I am from Punjab, which is in India, but we don’t claim to be Indian and we say we are Punjabi (we don’t claim our oppressors).

The Queen’s death was a reminder to the Punjabi community that our struggles continue to be belittled as the baton is passed from one elitist to the next. We see dozens in the streets mourning the Queen’s death, but very few looking at all of the enabling she did during her reign.… 

Sikh (a religion in India) had a vast empire before England came in, and then we were put in a box in Punjab, India (including then Pakistan). England brought an outsider to draw a line separating two countries and displacing thousands, if not millions, of Sikh-Punjabis. 

As long as everything remains out of sight and out of mind, the crown continues to change their ways from old-school slavery to its new forms of terror. The cycle continues, only the face changes. (Editor’s note: The partition of “British India” into India and Pakistan happened prior to Queen Elizabeth’s reign.)

Ashley, 21, Ireland (Irish Zimbabwean)

At the beginning, I didn’t really care that the Queen had died. I have no personal connection to her or the crown, and old, white people die all the time, so it didn’t really feel like news. But as the day went on after the news broke and I saw how the British media were treating this woman, I became more and more annoyed. 

I’m really connected to my heritage and identity and I feel equally as Irish as I do Zimbabwean, and the crown and the monarchy and the British Empire has done nothing but bring my people pain and suffering, historically. People like to act like all of this happened so long ago, but my mom was four years old when Zimbabwe got its independence, in 1980.

The Queen was on the throne longer than [many] countries have been independent. We have been murdered and raped and starved to death while a family sits there on hoards of wealth, which they have done nothing to deserve.

And while I’m talking about the Queen, because my family and my friends have been personally affected by [her] reign in one way or another, how I feel applies to all monarchs and former colonial powers existing within Europe at the moment. Entire countries and communities have been destroyed and destabilized…. I personally wouldn’t care if any of them died, really, because the people from the countries her family brutalized are still dying every day.

Callan, 24, US (Ireland)

The total erasure of family history. The cycle of violence and poverty since the forced migration during the potato famine is as fierce as it is sad. Poor, white, Irish Catholic Americans in Philly are a legacy of that imperialist farce known as the British monarchy. We’re having a céilé tonight in the Irish enclaves of Philly.

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