Comfortable in her black skin, Motso Ratsie is an award winning and seasoned actress with a vast experience spanning over nine years.
As a local act, one of her breakthroughs was lending a role as a call actor in one of the South African soapies, Scandal, playing Jemina. Her artistic performances reflect her exceptional skill of entrenched interpretation of the characters she portrays. She continues to appear on South African television screens with more roles in Z’bondiwe and Saints and Sinners 2.
This coming month, at the annual Maitisong Festival, she will stage her latest production, The Signature which she directs and has a role as a character. The Signature gives an overview of real life issues including unemployment, sexual favours and passion killings amongst others.
In this tragic theatrical piece, we meet Molatlhwa, a 33 year old handy man who tries his best to make ends meet in order to impress and support his girlfriend Mosa, who since graduating from school struggles to find employment. These two are deeply in love and they have vowed to stay together despite all challenges. As the play unfolds Mosa faces a serious dilemma when the only way she can finally have a job is to sleep with a wealthy businessman.
In desperation she decides to give in. Molatlhwa catches them in the act and he feels totally betrayed by the woman he has done everything for and he decides to take a decision that he thinks is best for both of them. What is the decision? This question will be answered in the night of the production play at Maitisong Theatre when The Signature reaches its climax. Ratsie plays the role of a Mmaago Mosa, a village single mum with two kids. Even though she didn’t graduate herself, she does everything for her kids.
Being a local actor and having struggled to finally make it outside the borders, Ratsie says the challenge facing the local industry is lack of financial support. “The support isn’t there yet where we wish it could be, but it’s getting better though. Batswana want to see first before investing, or sponsoring a production. And then this is a male dominated industry, so at times as a woman some will doubt you because you always have to face them and it’s even more interesting,” she said.
Like many local actors, Motso, as she is passionately called, started acting in school plays and traditional dance groups as a school girl. The young determined girl continued perfecting her craft in community theatre groups, before going professional and breaking into television. As a mother, daughter and socially conscious black woman who continues to defy odds, she is a strong believer in empowering and emancipating the girl child. As a Christian woman, her life is not only built around passion for the craft, but compassion for others.
In addition to her acting career, Motso has a knack for business administration and has studied Human Resource Development. On a social entrepreneurship front, she is part of collective that registered and runs an NGO that addresses issues of gender based violence. She is currently the CEO of the House Of Comfort PTY Ltd that is operational in Botswana.
BACKGROUND ON THE FESTIVAL
This year, Maitisong is proud to celebrate three decades of arts promotion, raising the professional bar in the creative industry, making careers and connecting Batswana artists with their international counterparts. In its 30 years running, Maitisong Festival is undoubtedly the biggest arts festival in Botswana. International and local artists bring theatre, music, dance, poetry and comedy to fee audiences in several venues around Gaborone.
The 2017 theme, Enrich, extends from 2016’s Engage and 2015’s Elevate. All the themes reflect the need to professionalize the arts by pushing the envelope and the bar higher, and ensuring that professionals work together and with audiences and sponsors to upgrade their game. The 2017 theme seeks to encourage artists to earn a decent living out of their talent, as is the case in other countries.
Maitisong Festival 2017 is scheduled for 1st – 11th April at various venues around Gaborone. With a varied and exciting line up of events, the Festival, once again, will bring brilliant home brewed and international shows to provide an unforgettable experience for the audiences. There will be free and paid events to ensure that everyone gets a piece of the action.
SNEAK PREVIEW OF PERFORMANCES
Artists from far and near join this ten-day, roller-coaster shindig. Billed to perform at this year’s festival are performers from Botswana and South Africa. The Festival Opening Night will be graced by international band Kgalagadi Soul; Botswana’s beloved four-string guitar master Sereetsi and the Natives, of the famous tunes Robete and Thaa Kokome, makes up one third of this band. He performs alongside Aus Tebza (ZA) and Mumba Yachie (ZM) on the Tuesday, 4th April at 7:30pm at Maitisong. Admission is P200, inclusive of refreshments.
Hailing from Limpopo province in South Africa, Generations actor Moses D. Rasekele is bringing a double bill to the Maitisong Festival. The two theatre performances, Nasty Burn and 2-Late, promise to be nothing but the best. In comedy, Soweto Comedy Festival battles it out with Botswana’s funniest. Chris Mapane and Tumi Stopnonsons are back again to face off with Botswana’s rising, comedy star Bambino, the legendary MOD, Rib Cracker, and the new, funny kid on the block Johnny. They will crack ribs on Friday, 7th April at 7:30pm and admission is only P150.
Mandy Promotions brings back A Day before Execution while The Company@Maitisong extends Barclays Madi Majwana to those who missed the recent launch and tour. At Stanbic Bank Piazza, expect Socca Moruakgomo’s acclaimed musical Moratiwa and the internationally renowned, one man show from Cape Town titled, Pay for the Curry on Tuesday, 11th April.
Avani Hotel & Casino will host the third annual Fashion without Borders on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th April. In addition to screenings, readings and workshops, lovers of spoken word will be treated to a Poetry Slam and an Acoustic Café at Dros, featuring the best of local poetry. The flagship Old Naledi Outdoor Music Show promises to be bigger and better. Supported by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture annually, this concert will come at a later stage and will extend beyond Gaborone this time around.
A job, lucrative or not, is a job after all. Sometimes one has to compromise in order to make a living, few people get a job their dream jobs. But once in a while there is an emergence of people who listen to their inner calling to pursue their passion.
The founder and head designer of Butterfly Couture, Chawa July is one of those few people who left their job to pursue their passion. An inspiring fact about July is that she is a self-taught fashion designer, she used to copy patterns from her old clothes until she learnt how to draw them, and she also searched information from the internet to increase her knowledge and skills.
“It all started as a hobby from my love for beautiful dresses and I started adjusting and making clothes for myself. Gradually people around me started to take interest in my craft and the hobby slowly grew into a profitable business,” July said.
The 41 year fashion designer from Molepolole worked her way up in the Procurement space for over 10 years. She worked at Stanbic Bank, Kromberg & Schubert and Clover Dairy as a Procurement supervisor. Her last job before she entered the fashion industry was a Manager for Contacts & Sourcing at a Facilities Management Company.
She established her fashion house in October 2019 and it has become synonyms with elegant wedding gowns and exquisite evening wear. July said when designing she is inspired by various aspects such as the client’s personality, the mood of the event and the theme. She further mentioned that every opportunity is to show her craft so she always aims to please.
“Every Butterfly Couture piece must represent the elegance and the creativity the brand is about,” she said. Butterfly Couture has adorned beauty queens; Miss Botswana 2021/2022 Ambrociah Samboko at Miss Universe in South Korea and Miss Botswana 2019,Oweditse Fafah Phirinyane during her reign of which is the highlight of her career. They have also marked their presence in a few fashion events locally and in the neighbouring countries.”
They showcased at The Grand Palm Wedding Expo, Masa Fashion Show, Miss Botswana Fashion Show and Sacunda plus Size Fashion Show. The will also be showcasing at Gabs July Fashion Show on the 15th of July alongside the South African designer, popularly known as the King of glamour David Tlale.
July also identified that one of the challenges they face in the couture is that, it’s a seasonal business. “There are times in the year when the business is great and challenging. Winter in particular, is difficult time to stay afloat as there aren’t as many events that people are inspired to dress spectacularly for,” she said. She further said that her aim is to be a prime couturier of choice in Botswana.
“Craft like your life depends on it because every happy client is 10 more referrals” is what she said when asked to serve a word of wisdom to people hoping to make it in the fashion industry.
The Botswana Gospel Music Awards (BOGMA) and the Annual Gospel Awards (AGA) are said to be no longer in existence and a joint venture project has been put up that will carry out the awarding of gospel musicians.
The new entity has been established as Gospel Music Awards, which is a project at this moment is nearer to dishing out the first Gospel Awards under the leadership of the dissolved entities (BOGMA and AGA). “The difference is the same, it is just that the two projects were run by different minds which had differing objectives,” said the project coordinator, Letsweletse Moshabi when asked what the difference was between the two previous awards.
He added that at this junction their focus is on the future of the gospel musicians and they would like to direct their energies to the new project and forgo the past projects. “The Music market especially the gospel genre is too small and that basically means the very small market was experiencing the imbalance in the supply and demand forces. At that stage, supply was more than the demand so the reason for the joint forces is to allow the supply and demand forces to readjust and form equilibrium,” added Moshabi.
The mandate and objectives of the project are to recognize and award gospel music talent, to create awareness of the Botswana gospel music industry and to create a platform where fellow musicians may exchange ideas and network amongst themselves and approach international markets in cohesion.
The first of these joint awards will be held on the 27th August 2022 at Molapo Showcase under the theme ‘Cohesiveness to Build’ where about 18 categories will be up for grabs.
The Kumnandi Ekhaya musik festival will be held on the 30th September 2022 at Thamaga village. The event coincides with the release of famous host, Dj Ngwazi’s first album called ‘spring day’ on the 2nd of September 2022.
The Thamaga born and raised Lefika Lushen Kebatlege is a disc jockey and a music producer signed under WanitwaMos Entertainment in South Africa. Famously known as Dj Ngwazi and formally known as DJ superstar, he has really worked hard to become one of the finest export DJs the country has produced. Internationally, he is described as a DJ from South African because of his works with popular music artist Master KG.
Meanwhile, the music festival will feature South African artists, Makhazi, Master KG, Prince Benza and Mthunzi. They will also be joined by some of the big local artists, Franco, Vee Mampeezy, among others. “The tickets of the concert will be available at Spar stores, webticket and Kings bar. There will be three categories for VIP tickets, the one that goes for P1000, P1500 and P2200,” said the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest promoter Sadie Swartz of Saysay Entertainment.
“We have a new system to tackle the cry of promoters about security at the events. We will have a team of 100 security men, 10 horses and 15 dogs. We also agreed with the police to help with traffic control and no tickets will be sold at the gate to avoid circulation of money which can attract thieves,” said Kagiso Gaodumelwe from All Night Security.
“I started deejaying back in the days when I was still schooling at Kagiso Senior School and I never stopped working towards my career since then. I have a career in South Africa, since 2018 when Master KG took me in and his support as a brother has taken me to places,” said DJ Ngwazi describing his career journey.
“Kumnandi Ekhaya is Zulu language which means ‘go monate ko gae’ in Setswana. The name came about as a way of inviting my South African fans and supporters to my home village Thamaga to come experience the joy that comes with celebrating our freedom and independence. I used isiZulu because it’s the dominant language in South Africa,” explained Dj Ngwazi.
“The concert will be held in an open space which was used for agricultural purposes and we would like to call it ‘Ko Legoleng’. With this concert I want to redeem the dignity of our village because we once had the cases of youth who were terrorizing the community, beating up people in the streets and stealing and these was really a concern in our community because they were tarnishing the village name,” said Dj Ngwazi.
The purpose of this concert is to empower the community of Thamaga and local artist, more especially artist from Thamaga village like, Kgabo Sereto traditional group. There will be a litter picking campaign around the village before the launch of the concert .The sponsors which are already on board are Dladleng Entertainment and Kings bar and there are still more sponsors to be revealed.
”As the Kumnandi Ekhaya musik fest management, we are going to buy food combos and take them to Thamaga village Kgotla so they can be donated to the less privileged and orphans. Starting from October we will be donating pads to all Junior Schools in Thamaga,” said Dj Ngwazi. Dj Ngwazi’s motivational words to other artist and everyone else; work hard, be patient and be determined.