Billy Obonye graces our television screens every Mondays at 2030hrs, as gangster Lemphizzy on the popular BTV drama series Ntwakgolo.
The passionate actor is one of a few theatre actors whose transitioning from stage to the small screen has proved to be a worthy step, especially in Botswana where both industries are relatively small. Born in Selibe Phikwe in the early 80s, ‘Lemphizzy’ as he is popularly now called related to WeekendLife this week that acting for the Dee Zone productions’ drama series has literally changed his life.
“I was unfortunate to have ended my schooling with only a JC. Life was very hard then, the year I wrote my JC exams was the very same year we lost our mother, which I believe was the reason for my not doing well.” His aunt was their caretaker with his 3 other siblings, him being the second born. But his eldest sister soon passed away too, and he was left with only his younger brothers to fend for.
“In 2001, I had a son. Life became more complicated as pressure to find work to provide for all of them started to build up.” He has always had a passion for acting and wanted to follow his dream, but his aunt, who stayed with them constantly, reminded him to stop dreaming and get a job for provide for his son and younger brothers.
“All I really wanted to do was act. I wanted to attend all my Moitelasilo (drama group in Phikwe) rehearsals but I was constantly reminded that that would not put food on the table. And with only a Junior Certificate I could not even find a decent job. I would get contractual jobs at the mine for 6 or so months sometimes,” he said.
His acting talent was nurtured from primary school where he acted on school plays, continuing to junior secondary school where he was in the drama group. From there he started Moitelasilo with other fellow actors in Phikwe. “I moved to Phikwe Theatre, which was bigger than Moitelasilo after they spotted me during the president’s competitions in 2011. That is where I would audition for Ntwakgolo in 2014 when auditions were being held in Phikwe.”
Today, the talented actor says that he has no problems taking care of his own and has even added on to his skill. “When I first started acting, I didn’t just do my part and fold my arms. I was no Denzel Washington, so I would do other small jobs on set; like lighting, carrying equipment.”
In 2015, he had learnt so much that he started operating the camera on his own. “Thabiso Maretlwaneng gave me a chance, when Ntwakgolo wasn’t on air, he let me even shoot Pula Power. I would just go with the presenter(s) and just shoot. ” “I am now Assistant Director for Ntwakgolo, other than that, I did part of the casting for Season two and even trained some of the actors. This is a job done mostly by people who have degrees in TV and film production,” the passionate actor said.
More than anything, Obonye comes across as humble, kind and very loving, unlike the character he plays on TV. “ “I don’t believe that there are jobs that were made for certain people; they were made for all of us, it is upon each and every one of us to push and make things happen for ourselves,” he said.
Looking back, he has no regrets and says he would choose to disregard his aunt’s advice again. His aunt had wanted him to repeat his JC and eventually pursue his education and get a ‘proper job.’ “I didn’t think then that repeating or going back to school would bring any changes to my life. I wanted to pursue acting as a career, and now I am able to take care of my younger siblings. I am now a father of 3, my eldest son is doing form 3 and I am able to pay for his studies without a problem, and my other two daughters are being well taken care of.”
Ntwakgolo is a TV Drama series focusing on HIV and AIDS themed issues. The drama is a chronicle of the lives of people living in a community, how they intercept, relate and behave towards each other in regard towards the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Ntwakgolo broadcast 52 episodes weekly on BTV between 2014 and 2015 under NACA Funding and has become the most popular television drama nationwide.
In season two of Ntwakgolo, which was shot in Selibe Phikwe, Lemphizzy and Lingas have fled Gaborone to establish their bad business in Phikwe, but there is a twist of events when competition arrives in the form of former partner in crime, Sekhokho.
Creativity is seen everywhere and these individuals did something recently that’s never been done before, and some are still killing it. We see creativity on streaming platforms, stages, runways, social media and boardrooms even. Some of them are revamping their businesses, and lately, clothing sale is thriving.
They love concept-driven designs, storytelling and they bring fresh ideas and new perspectives that will leave footprints in the sand. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, these creative minds utilized the drawing board and they became cognizant that monetizing content will actually take them far, which is frank nonetheless.
This is commendable though, but the creative industry will still need support from government in order for it to flourish further. Allocation of resources (funds, facilities and empowerment) should be done consistently, creativity must be raised and at the end of the day, the economy benefits from that kind of investment.
Ever since he parted ways with his former manager, DJ Bougee Sid, Mahalapye born-pint sized, multi-award-winning artist, Hanceford Magapatona has been taking up space, unapologetically so. Han C has shown a strong will to take over the entire world, and he is in the right direction. He’s solely organizing the annual Mahalapye Spring Festival, which is taking place next weekend.
The Pepetetsa hitmaker raked some monies from his savings to put together this event. Mahalapye Spring Festival will feature Paige, Ubuntu Band, Khoisan, Amantle Brown and Double Up among others. Even though it didn’t come as a surprise, Han C was nominated at African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) in the US, under Best Male Southern Africa category.
However, the award was snatched by the late South African rapper, AKA. Its not all lost as Han C secured two nominations at the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs): People’s Choice of the Year and Best Male Single.
This entrepreneur has turned his dreams into reality, and his promising apparel business is now a fashion destination. Matter of fact, Motswagole weathered the storms to be where he is now because through criticism and social media bullying, he still leads the pack in fashion.
His social media accounts got deleted but through his online store, KM Sales, Motswagole is able to rake in some profits. He initially started selling from his car but now owns a busy store and has employed a number of young people.
KM Sales has been offering fashionable items (shoes, t-shirts, pants) and has been participating in various lifestyle events such as Garden of Drip where it showcases its products.
If there is one young entrepreneur to draw motivation from is Koketso. The business started from humble beginnings, at the time when he worked part time at Ipelegeng as a casual labor. Indeed, good things come to those who wait, or well, work like a slave today, live like a king tomorrow.
KAGISO LUDO DE KLERK
Vee Mampeezy’s ex-wife Kagiso De Klerk clearly did not sit and weep over their dramatic divorce. The famous social media influencer hurriedly picked up the pieces and went hard on promoting business online. She literally took social media influencing to the head and it is working for her.
This year saw her partnership with Shell reach greater heights, and obviously, she is raking lot of pulas from the deal. Kagiso has been making frequent appearances in top events in South Africa such as Bubbles in Spring and Gold and Diamond Experience.
After a long break from the limelight, renowned media and radio personality, Gaona Dintwe is back. She was missed by many on TV, and she’s back where she belongs, news anchoring on BTV. Gaona has also found a niche in podcasting. She is a host of her own podcast, Gaona Live Conversation, where various people share their stories on camera.
Some of what they discuss is Gender Based Violence (GBV), polygamy and drug addiction. This is highly commendable because even BTV doesn’t have programs that discuss these crucial social issues. The Lentswelemoruti native is also seen in various corporate events where she is engaged as a host.
Now that one-man shows are made fashionable, traditional dance guru and ex-convict, Ditiro Leero is joining the crusade and he will be hosting his also. The show will be held next month at Zone 4 Farm in Selokolela, but the there are traditional dance music artists who have been lined up to perform at the show. Matshana, Morwa Leka and Maswailathota will be doing their thing and probably bring some heat too. Ditiro Leero will be making history as the first traditional artist to host a one-man show in Botswana.
With only two months before Miss World 2023, the reigning Miss Botswana, Lesego Chombo is having many irons in the fire, preparing for the much-anticipated beauty pageant. Miss World 2023 will be the 71st edition of Miss World pageant and it will be held in India. Chombo has been spotted toning her body at Jack’s gym, a requirement that is taken seriously at the pageant. She has also been participating in charity events, something that should add to her profile at the Miss World.