Many coffee table photo- books have been published over the years about the incredibly amazing flora and fauna that Botswana has to offer. From the Tsodilo Hills to the the
Okavango, the Moremi Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi, Chobe National Park, Sua Pans, the CKGR and the big five. Botswana’s biodiversity is unmatched. But not much has been published comprehensively about the beauty and diversity of its people.
From presidents to poets, sports stars, radio personalities, artists, bureaucrats, and ordinary members of the society whose contribution in whatever form or scale has not gone unnoticed. Now three years since identifying that niche, creative director and author Aldo Brincat is about to fit that missing piece of the puzzle with the launch of his photobook, Diamonds Alive.
The book features not only the people from different walks of life- such as the youngest author in Botswana, but also the cr├¿me de la cr├¿me of sports, arts and business.
Past presidents including the recently passed President, Sir Ketumile Masire, have also made the book. “We thought it would be nice to also include the current president (Ian
Khama) but he politely asked that he be left out for now,” Brincat told Lifestyle.
The project took off in February, 2016 with the official launch at a glittering event hosted by The Grand Palm hotel where previous Presidents, and many of Botswana’s A list-ers were in attendance.
“The launch alerted Botswana to an interactive photo exhibition, as well as a commemorative photobook, all under the name of Diamonds Alive,” Brincat says. “Both the book and the exhibition feature a collection of portraits and stories of some of the men and women who have contributed towards the development andsuccess of Botswana.” He describes
the book as a vibrant, artistic celebration of people past and present who have captured the nation’s imagination either for a moment, or for a life time. “All the portraits are
set against an ever evolving landscape that is Botswana,” Brincat says.
He tells Lifestyle the ‘Diamonds Alive’ interactive exhibition travelled throughout Gaborone and the public were invited to interact with a team of volunteers to either learn more about the heroes, or nominate a few of their own. “It is estimated that the exhibition was viewed by approximately 120 000 people.”
The final 120 images, Brincat says, were curated for the book by a neutral curator in the United Kingdom.
“Images were selected for the book based primarily on their artistic merit.”
Friday September 1st will see the launch of the book at the National Museum. The book (a copy of which has been passed to Lifestyle) with its unique and breathtakingly fresh approach is definitely much ado about something.
“Even His Excellency, Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Botswana was impressed enough to autograph 10 copies as a sign of his approval and blessing,” Brincat says. Featuring 120 portraits with accompanying narratives of approximately 150 words, he says the book has indeed been a labor of love and truly representational of all Botswana’s people.
Brincat and his team of 14 local young professionals have been working on the project behind the scenes since 2014.
He says for them, the project is of national significance, a celebration of all that is good about Botswana. “It reflects Botswana’s true wealth: its people. What better time to reflect on where Botswana has come from and to look towards its future than now, as Botswana enters its 51st year of Independence?” Unfortunately, for those who would have loved to
rush to the nearest bookshop, Brincat says the book will not be for sale. “It is to be distributed among the community by the sponsors as a gesture of good will since the project is not for profit.” The book is sponsored by De Wet Drilling, Lucara Diamonds, Orange Botswana, Puma Energy, Advanced Global, Botswana Oil and Choppies.