Connect with us
Advertisement

Turning Photography into Hustle

For so many years, photography has been seen as a form of an art meant to create memories. It was regarded as an art form that takes skills, artistic ability and an understanding of technology.

Well, unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does. Tables have now turned, meaningfully. Photography is seen as a skill, a source of hustle and an opportunity that can help advance oneself.

With unemployment intensifying at an alarming rate in Botswana especially amongst youth, some of them found niche in photography. They capture pictures, but at a fee. Surely, there are so many ways of killing a cat. In an interview with Weekend Post News writer Tlhabo Kgosiemang in Gaborone on Wednesday, some youthful photographers indicated that they make ends meet through photography. Some indicated that they are self-taught, while others did it for fun, and it happened that they get paid for it.

‘’Photography is an art where an artist lays out his mindset in the form on still pictures, just as great artist that painted such as Leonardo Da’Vinci, I use my camera as my paint brush. A great photograph has emotion. I have always been advised by well-established photographers to change my style and follow some typical ‘’photography rules’’. But for me, photography is an art and the only thing that can distinguish a great picture from the rest is the ability of giving out emotion in your photographs’’ says Kevin Kalabante, a 21-year-old Mahalapye born and Founder of Kissed by The Gods photography.

He said he started photography after he discovered that he actually can be a great photographer, liking the kind of work he does and eventually doing what he wants to do. He discovered a few great local photographers, but for him, it was distinct and astonishing on how the puzzle pieces fitted together and how fast his development was.

A Botswana International University of Science and Technology BIUST Geological Engineering students noted that everything and everyone is an inspiration for his creative energy. He can draw some inspiration from the simplest aspect of something, visualize it and create something unique and new.

Kalabante indicated that photography is the simplest but yet stressful kind of hustle, especially for the 21 century generation. ‘’It is definitely the best kind of making money. I enjoy taking pictures, and being able to eat from what you love is an exceptional feeling. It is the best gift you could give to yourself’’

However, there has always been ups and downs. As photographers, the biggest challenge is the pricing of their services. ‘’Me being unfairly expensive is quite an everyday conversation for me but I try by all means to show the clients how much time, effort and skill I put into my work’’. Further, he underscored that although clients are mostly the hardest people to deal with, he always finds a way to work out stuff and that makes his job likeable at most times’’ Kalabante believes that 2018 was a great year for his brand, but as 2019 started, new skills, targets and important people came up into the equation.

‘’I still have a long way for the vision in mind but eventually it will be reached’’ he said. He has started receiving international recognition this year, including the international Nikon photo contest held by Nikon annually. Other than that, it has always been about countless shoots and collaborative projects. ‘’I really do not want to divulge some other stuff I am working on, but they will be published with time’’

He advised aspiring photographers to follow what their hearts lead them to, saying that they should not chase it for the money, but for the dream. Kalabante highlighted that passion keeps him relevant. ‘’Long as you have the drive in your heart and mindset, you can never go wrong. Stay humble and put the work’’.

For his part, Gonna Monngakgotla, a 23-year-old Kanye born oddly creative said photography is literally just the art he sees. ‘’It is basically the art of capturing what’s around you. I like breaking down this to people that I capture anything that you would look at and make you think outside the box. But obviously photography is diverse and has different fields to it, I am more leaning onto fashion, creative photography and soon to do landscape photography’’

Monngakgotla describes a photograph as a freezing time, a captured and frozen moment. ‘’A photographer has to be the artist with an eye for such interesting moments. It’s all in the eye and knowledge basically, which is why we getting paid for it. It is not just about clicking the camera as people may presume. There is a lot of thought process that occurs in the midst of a picture being shot and not to forget the work that goes into editing and bringing the picture to life’’ he highlighted

Just like any other photographer, he draws an inspiration from something. Monngakgotla stressed that Botswana as a whole inspires him. ‘’My country has beautiful people and places which I feel the obligation to showcase to the world and get people to appreciate the beauty that we pride ourselves in. I also get inspired by anything that looks abnormal, oddly creative as I would call it. Some of the inspiration I draw from the internet, I love taking pictures that will get people talking, if it is controversial to them I will be the guy behind the lenses’’ he said the 2016 album he titled Basadi got recognized internationally on Afropunk, an American magazine. Some of his pictures captured in Parliament during the unemployment protest nearly broke the internet.

‘’Photography is part of who I am, I love it and I am passionate about it. I just happen to get paid for it’’. He noted that he has achieved a lot ever since venturing into photography, saying that it is his main source of income. Monngakgotla has managed to branch out the profits into coming up with a clothing brand. He indicated that due to a good business structure, he has managed to stay relevant in the game.

‘’As much as photography is a hobby, hustle or a job to most of us, it has to be managed with profession. It has to have a well laid out business plan, that indicates cash flows, and a photographer should be able to read risks and opportunities available’’. He added that research, learning something new and keeping in touch with customers makes a winning business.

However, unlike Kalabante, partnering up with other photographers has been the worst mistake Monngakgotla ever took. ‘’The biggest challenge I came across was trying to work with other photographers. Collaborative works does magic for creatives but is usually the most complicated effort to take, working with people’s tight schedules is quite exhausting’’ he concluded

Continue Reading

WeekendLife

The King’s journal 

23rd November 2021
Kgafela Kgafela II

This book is a true-life story of an African King based in South Africa. The Last Frontier is a resistance stand by Bakgatla Ba Kgafela tribe and its line of Kings from 1885 against a dark force called ‘western democracy’ that is insidiously destroying lives, peoples, nations and threatens to wipe away whole civilizations in Africa.

The story flows through four important episodes of history, beginning in about 1885 when Bechuanaland Protectorate was formed. This section briefly reveals interactions between Kgosi Linchwe 1 and the British Colonial Government, leading to the establishment of Bakgatla Reserve by Proclamations of 1899 – 1904.

The second episode deals with Kgosi Molefi’s interaction with the British Colonial Government in the period of 1929-36. The third episode records Kgosi Linchwe II’s interactions with the British Colonial Government and black elites of Bechuanaland. It covers the period of 1964-66, leading to Botswana’s independence. Kgosi Linchwe ii resisted the unlawful expropriation of his country (Bakgatla Reserve) by Sir Seretse Kgama’s government of 1966 to no avail. He wrote letters of objection (December 1965) to Her Majesty the Queen of England, which are reproduced in this book.

The fourth episode covers the period between Kgafela Kgafela II’s crowning as King of Bakgatla in 2008 to 2021. It is a drama of the author’s resistance to the present-day Botswana Government, a continuation of Bakgatla Kings’ objection against losing Bakgatla country to the Kgama dynasty assisted by the British Government since 1885. The story is told with reference to authentic letters, documents, and Court records generated during the period of 1885-2019. There is plenty of education in history, law, and politics contained in The Last Frontier for everyone to learn something and enjoy.   

Continue Reading

WeekendLife

Gospel concerts make a comeback

16th November 2021
Bishop Benjamin Dube

Hailed for being the prime gospel concert after the Covid-19 pandemic had put events to a halt, Golden Relic, in conjunction with Sweet Brands, recently unveiled the Arise and Worship Concert, Botswana. The show marks the return of worshippers and fans to enjoy music and worship together after what seemed like “cooler box” events were taking over the entertainment scene. 

The concert to be held on December 11th 2021, at the Molapo Showcase, has a packed lineup with the Headlining acts being Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela from South Africa and Botswana’s very own Obakeng Sengwaketse. More international acts from Nigeria and Ghana are also expected to grace the event. The show organizers have invested an effort in diversifying the lineup with live performances. 

The promoter of the Arise and Worship Concert, David “DVD” Abram revealed in an overview of the event that; “We have lost a lot of loved ones this year, and when that happens, one’s spirit goes down, and we need a light to ground us once more, to heal our souls. Therefore, the two main purposes of this event are to do the work of God and, secondly, to make sure that we nurture and develop talent in Botswana. With challenges that come up with events of such magnitude, the team and I have been committed to seeking guidance from God through having night prayers.” 

Abram added that as promoters, they usually have a bias towards already established artists, thus neglecting the upcoming ones and wanting to change that. “We approached the Melody Gospel TV Show since we aim at nurturing new talent and agreed on having one of the winners as a headliner for the event to allow them to share the stage with gospel giants so that they are exposed to the industry. This resulted in securing the Second Winner of the Melody Gospel TV show; Thabiso Mafoko as a local headlining act.”

The concert also aims at celebrating a Motswana. Multi-Award Winner; with the most recent title; BOMU Best Traditional Gospel under his belt, also best known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics, Obakeng Sengwaketse enthusiastically said, “I want to thank the organizers of the Arise and Worship concert, it means a lot to me after recently winning two awards that are currently the highlight of my career.

I regard this as a great revival because the Covid-19 pandemic has muffled events such as this. I am looking forward to sharing the stage with the great Bishop Benjamin Dube, Lebo Sekgobela and more artists from Nigeria and Ghana. Sengwaketsi urged Batswana to come and witness the greatness of the Lord as their lives will never be the same.”

Tickets are selling like fat cakes with VVIP tickets having only five tickets remaining; the VVIP tickets include rounder access backstage to all the performing artists. The event will also comprise a seated Gold Circle Ticket, which accounts for 50% of revellers to allow for easier enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and avoid a potential stampede.

In a bid to entice merrymakers to buy tickets, the promoters have come up with a layby strategy and buying tickets on an instalment basis for the attendees to be able to buy their tickets since the COVID-19 Pandemic has left many Batswana in financial ruin but having the interest to attend the event.

Continue Reading

WeekendLife

Fame vs Mental health

9th November 2021
Lizibo

One can only imagine what is like being in the public eye. It is not a walk in the park; and not as easy as people might think it is because of the pressure from the public. Celebrities or influencers are perceived to be perfect, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect parents, financially stable, healthy, and always smiling and patient with everyone – Is this for real?

However, when people’s expectations of celebrities are not met, the same celebrities are often victimized, body shamed, or blamed, fairly or unfairly. As a result of them not having a personal life, they are often scrutinized in all aspects of their lives; their lives are aired for the public to see and judge. Celebrities are often extra careful about everything that they do, they have to go an extra mile as compared to how ordinary people live their lives.

To understanding this experiences by public figures, this reporter made a case study of Mr Lizibo Gran Mabutho, the firstborn in his family with only one sibling, his younger brother. Lizibo describes himself as a simple Kalanga guy who was chosen by music and did not choose music.

He said being raised by his mother and grandmother, he grew up surrounded by music from birth. Lizibo said his grandmother was a religious person who held church services at their house in Zwenshambe, “for me singing was from Monday to Sunday. I was not like any ordinary child who only sang at church on Sundays or sometimes in school assembly, for me it was a daily thing. My mother was also a talented dancer in our village that is what I mean when I say I did not choose music, but music chose me.”

Lizibo said though he grew up surrounded by music, it was hard for his parents to accept the path he has chosen to be a musician. Lizibo said he had to prove to his parents that music was his passion and that it could pay the bills like any other profession. He said eventually they saw his passion for music and supported him.

Lizibo said being exposed to music from a tender age made him venture into the music career from a tender age. He said he was part of the Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete (KTM) choir, Lizibo said being in the public eye for the longest time has taught him that he is living for the people and that he does not have a life. He said the very society that is watching him has so much expectation for him and that means he has to conduct himself in a good manner because people are looking up to him.

Lizibo said he understands the saying that great power comes with great responsibility, “when people see me, they see a role model. I realize and understand that people are and have been modelling me even when I was not aware of it, I know of six mothers who have named their sons after me because they felt that I inspire them somehow.”

He said he has accepted his fate that he will never have a normal life because people are looking unto him. He said he is grateful to be in the public on a positive note by bringing hope to the people because he has always wanted to be part of people’s solutions and not their problems.

He said, “people should understand that our careers are our calling. One needs to be spiritually connected to their calling as an artist. The most rewarding part about being in the public for me is not about payment but about being the solution to someone’s problem.”

Lizibo said the greatest challenge that he has ever faced about being in the public eye has been the issue of trust, not able to know which friends are genuine and which ones are not. He said as a way of avoiding fake friends he has always kept his four close friends who have been there for him through thick and thin. Lizibo said being close to his family has also helped him as they have been his strength when things were not going well for him, “most of the time people say we change when we taste fame. That is not necessarily true because people are the ones who changed when we became famous. People always want something from us, nothing is ever genuine with people and that is why I chose to keep my circle very small.”

Lizibo said as much as he travels a lot because of the nature of his work because it is naturally demanding, he said he always ensures that he creates time for his family. He said that at home he is Lizibo who is sent to do errands, he is Lizibo the son, not a celebrity.

He said there is a lot of pressure that comes with being in the spotlight, “the public puts so much pressure on us mostly about the material lifestyle they portray us to have. We are often compared with South African celebrities, but people fail to understand that we are two different countries. Most people fell into the trap and are living above their means resulting in them living in debt. I often tell youngsters not to fall into that trap of being tempted to live life above their means.”

The advice Lizibo gave to upcoming celebrities was that they should know that being in the public is not about them, but it is about the people. He said, “one of my mentors once asked me if I make music about myself or the people. He said I need to make music for the people because it is my responsibility to feed them with what they need, he said they might not even be able to know that they have a need but that I need to identify that need and meet it. Our responsibility is to serve people what they need, our music is to feed people’s hunger. My music is about love, I feed people love.”

Lizibo said it is important for celebrities to seek counselling and take care of their mental health, he said he has been investing in his mental health for years because he understands the importance of mental health especially when one is in the public.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!