It was an unexpected gesture when Thabiso Junior Kefalotse climbed the stage at Bahama Lounge recently to give South African house music crooner Naak Musiq a pencil portrait of him.
The music artiste was in the country to perform at the now popular ‘happening’ nightclub known for attracting the finest music acts both locally and internationally. The 25-year-old Kefalotse who hails from Ramotswa but was raised largely in Gaborone, says he started drawing when he was in primary school and continued at secondary.
He later went to the University of Botswana to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies; he however did not complete his studies and giggles that somewhere along the line he realised that formal education could be overrated sometimes. However, he did not stay home and twiddle his thumbs as he got a job in marketing, working at a gym. In fact, Kefalotse is a gym fanatic and spends a lot of his time working out. Earlier this year he quit his job to take on art full time. He concedes that everyone around him thought he had lost his marbles but he points out that he would rather be happy than chase a pay cheque each month.
He says the interesting twist is that money followed him as he started investing in something that he loves and enjoys. The self-taught artist explains that he decided to focus on the medium as he wanted to be an expert in one thing first. “My expertise is in portraits and I have not yet transitioned to other forms of art. If I can achieve a certain skill in pencil then I would have achieved a lot. With time I will explore other art forms,” he says. Kefalotse says he relies on commissioned work.
He says social media has helped him a lot. “I got my first client from Facebook and have subsequently got a lot of clients through word of mouth. The plan is to grow my brand so that eventually art lovers buy my name,” he says candidly. One would wonder why it appears that he draws celebrities mostly. He says that is not necessarily the case but well-known faces help him get mileage.
“I usually draw people who know people and have an audience because it brings attention to my work. But it is not entirely free. For example, Prince Kaybee bought the portrait I did of him during his last visit. I have also met up with Khuli Chana as well as Han C. Our plans don’t just end with the portraits – I engage them on future projects and see how we can collaborate,” he says.
The artist says he is not in the same position he was in a few months ago. “I have grown in terms of my skill and reach. I know what I am doing and I can secure clients. One has to start at the bottom and work their way to the top and that is the approach I used.”
Dr Gure Gure of MedExpo Private Clinic says that it is high time people change their way of lifestyle and live healthy in today’s era. He is of the view that High blood pressure and heart diseases have become common, hence people should be careful about what they eat and the way they live.
“With modernization, and fast food restaurants popping around the city as well as the high rates of unemployment, lifestyle diseases keep on growing,” said Dr Gure. He emphasized that the main cause for High Blood Pressure is stress. “With all sorts of ailments in the society we now see High Blood Pressure getting common even among young people because they are stressed out,” he said. “It is small things including living allowance running out of transport fare, groceries, milk of the baby finishing while the young people get into adulthood. This is the time when the reality of life strikes and the young people fall into the High blood gap,” he said.
He also adds that the challenge of bad eating habits, also contributes to lifestyle diseases including Diabetes. “Eating right is still expensive for an average Motswana, especially in drought seasons,” he said emphasizing that; lack of vegetables and too much starch on the diet remains a concern for most people in the country because of lack of employment. “The burden of a disease is the chronic medication and lifestyle change, and when it is diagnosed this becomes a concern because having to take an anti hypertensive pill everyday for the rest of one’s life is not easy,” he said. He adds that above that, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, which are lifestyle diseases, can also cause kidney failure, as a resulting consequence.
He noted that it is their mission at MedExpo Clinic to engage people and teach them about choosing the right lifestyle because it cannot be the government ’s effort alone to fight this problem. “We have outreach programs each month to sensitize people on lifestyle diseases and we had one recently at Airport Junction mall where people came in large numbers to learn about lifestyle and non communicable diseases,” said Dr Gure. He revealed that they have scanned people for; blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and body mass index for free, and advised people on medical precautions to take to ensure good health in their lives.
Fashion design house Rita-ac Collection has been on many people’s lips following the Miss Botswana finale a few weeks ago that saw the second princess Winfred Motcher stun in a red frock.
The brains behind this fashion house is fashion designer Rita Abbey Chuma who describes herself as a ‘playful creative.’ In an interview with BG Style, she explains that when a client comes in, she looks at them as a person during consultation. “I look at their body figure and also consider the kind of event they are attending as well as their tastes and we take it from there,” she says. She says she prides herself with creating work that has a royal touch.
“The recurring element in all my designs is that I always add a touch of royalty to make my work stand out,” she says. She adds that she always challenges herself to do better than her last design. “It is a matter of keeping the standard or taking it higher,” she adds. She explains that she is a creative and likes to make her imagination run wild when she is working on a design. “I don’t like common outfits and I will work on something until I get a ‘wow’ factor – I always want to make garments that stand out,” she says. Rita-ac makes high-end clothes for special occasions and specialises in gowns that stand out.
Chuma explains that they were invited to take part in the Miss Botswana fashion show this year and they agreed. The organisers and contestants were blown away by their designers. Apart from the second princess, they also designed for Miss Botswana 2017/2018 Elias Moitshepi who handed over the crown. Most recently they dressed Miss Botswana first princess Uaa Murenga at the Independence Celebrations last week.
Chuma works with her husband of 14 years, Ronald Chuma, who does the marketing. They established Rita-ac in 2006 and have been at it since then. Ronald says they make unisex clothes but they have more female than male clients. “Women are more into fashion than men. But we do cater for both sexes and give each client our best.
With us, every client is high end and we make sure that they are satisfied with the end product,” he says. He points out that the biggest challenge of running a fashion design house in Botswana is that many people still cannot differentiate between fashion designer and tailor. “With a tailor you can find a picture on the Internet and ask them to re-create it.
A fashion designer takes their time to tweak the outfit putting into consideration their figure, personal taste and environment,” he says. He also says that Botswana is coming up in the fashion stakes. “We have many more fashionable and style conscious people around. Botswana is lagging behind in terms of the fashion industry but in recent years I have observed that they are catching up.”
Rita-ac has worked with many clients including model beauty queen One Mariri. They have also worked with music artists including Punah Gabasiane who they have dressed on several occasions.