Breaking into the world of television and acting is not all a bed of roses as many would like to think. Many envision dreams of seeing themselves on television, watched by millions; they have no idea about the obstacles that lie ahead. Some have given up on those dreams, and kissed their careers goodbye, even before they could start. The Botswana born couple, Shona and Connie Ferguson recently chronicled their early days in the acting industry, and the many pitfalls they bypassed before they became the powerhouse in the industry.
The Fergusons, through their production house, Ferguson Films are behind some of the most popular telenovelas in South Africa, including The Queen, airing on Mzansi Magic weekdays at 2100 hrs, and The Throne that airs on Mzansi Magic on Monday-Thursday at 1900 hrs, as well as other productions that include Rockville, Igazi and The Imposter whose second season is running on Mzansi Magic on Sunday at 2000 hrs. The Fergusons have engaged close to 200 employees, half of whom are on fulltime employment.
The Lobatse born Connie shares that after competing in the Miss Ellerines competition, she found herself on her way to South Africa where she was to enrol in a hair braiding course. But prior to that life changing journey, she points out that back at Lobatse Senior Secondary School, one of her teachers, a Mr Biriam, a tall British and no-nonsense teacher recognised her talent as a drama student.
The teacher pushed them a lot. She notes that children are gifted differently. Some are meant to pursue careers in medicine, others are teachers, and so forth. “None of those appealed to me,” she says, adding that Miss Ellerines was her break-through. But prior to being one of the most loved actresses on television that she is today, she reveals that she has endured challenges.
“I had a tough time in South Africa and auditioned a lot,” she says. She says that what the youth or those who wish to break through in this industry need to know is that failure to clinch auditions should not deter them. “This is something that the youth needs to know. Rome was not built in one day,” she says.
Prior to her debut in Generations as Karabo Moroka, she appeared in a couple of dramas in the then Sotho television. She stayed with Generations for sixteen years, and says that during that time something inside her wanted to do more than just standing in front of the camera.
“I didn’t see myself acting all my life, and I wanted more,” she explains. She further says that during her days as the beloved Karabo, she would also assist with behind the scenes duties although this was something that most producers and directors never publicly credited them for.
Itching to do their own thing and tell their own stories, the Fergusons took a risk and started their own company. “We wanted to tell own stories that will resonate with a lot of people,” she says.She says that when one takes a risk the time has to be right. Ferguson says that before the lord says yes, doors will remain shut, and one might even wonder whether their proposals were being opened.
Their first big project they embarked on as a couple was The Wild, which was later cancelled as the couple were gearing up to take over its production. Sharing his story, Shona Fergusons told the audience that before he was the Robocop/ Jerry Maake, a character that he plays on The Queen today, he auditioned countless times.
His career in acting started in Generations where he only had two calls. He says that while some might have looked down on that opportunity, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. In one year, he points out that he went through more than twenty auditions, and was turned down. He later joined Muhvango, where he stayed for three years.
“Those two calls at Generations gave me three years at Muvhango,” he says adding that he was a call actor and was paid per call. During this time, he was changing agents hoping that one of them would get him the ideal opportunity. One of those agents, informed him that he was too good looking, and that people who are too good looking normally do not have talent. The fact that he has tattoos also did not favour him, his agents told him.
“I was told so many times that I will never make it. but today, those very same big producers want to work with me,” he says. In his search for gold, and when auditioning for Scandal, he was also informed that a mole on his face did not look attractive. He decided to remove the mole. He was turned down three times at Scandal and later clinched the role of Alex Phiri, where he stayed for four years.
When The Wild was supposed to change production houses, they were already doing the ground work for the production. And that ground work gave birth to their first production, Rockville, which was initially meant to be a spin off to The Wild. When Mzansi Magic was conceptualised they decided to change the characters, and his wife, was meant to play the glitzy role of Dudu, who was married to one of the lead characters namely JB (Ferguson).
But her wife had enough time playing those glitzy role, she wanted something different and opted to take the role of Mavis Mavuso, a woman who was going through hardships. Rockville went on to have four seasons, and gave birth to other productions.
The exhibition of the Thapong Artist of the year 2018 competition comprises of an eclectic mix of different media meticulously conceptualised using some incredible found objects. The objects range from bottle caps, bones, metals, string, and many others. An exciting and breathtakingly impressive collection, the exhibition could be one of the best exhibitions to date.
What is standing out from this particular exhibition is how local artists appear to have done their ground work and researched on what is working for visual artists today. One gets a sense that they are rising to the occasion and at par with other international artists.
Eighty -seven artists submitted their artworks, and their many pieces have given life to the gallery. One of the incredible artists, who scooped the TAYA title is none other than Prika Ntolo Makosha. An interesting artist, Makosha’s winning piece is a three wheeled motorcycle with the same title, and he used different found objects that include bones, wood and metal.
A stunning and visually stimulating piece; the motorcycle is a masterpiece. It proves that Makosha used his surroundings for inspiration and cleverly used something that is easily found. Makosha also illustrates his creativity with this piece that almost prompts one to expect to hear the motorcycle roaring to life. His award-winning piece is valued at P30 000.00. And he takes his love for bones as a medium in another piece titled Pupply.
A totally different presentation from last year’s winner, Makosha has upped the scales from where Obed Mokhuhlani left off. Mokhuhlani won the 2017 TAYA with his artwork titled Nail Thread on Board.Something to consider about this piece, is its longevity, and whether it will stand the test of time. Both Makgosha and Mokhuhlani are masters of their respective mediums, and they have proven why they have won the much sought-after title.
Another outstanding submission is Isaac Chibua’s welded steel and plastic creation titled Tolerance. The piece holds a price tag of P70 000.00, and for those with a keen eye for the visual arts, you can instinctively see why that might be the case. Chibua used found objects that include bottle caps, stand pipe, and other metal pieces, and it shows that it took him some time to put this piece together. Tolerance is in a league of its own, and a good art collector would be lucky to secure it.
Omphile Sefako’s Pieces of Me brought to life using wood and acrylic is an ingenious creation. A striking piece, it is priced at P12,000.00 and rightly deserves the price tag. Lecha King David Mosinyi, who walked away with the title of the Young Artist of the year is another brilliant artist. One of his pieces titled The Despondent Soul is a remarkable painting. His medium is oil on canvas.
In his other submission titled The Intruder, he takes his talent to exhilarating heights. Mosinyi proves that he is one of the artists to look forward to in future. On the installation side, there are some pieces that leave some with many questions. You instinctively wonder what was going on in the mind of the artist, and the message that they wish to rely, but then again, that is what art is supposed to be sometimes. It is supposed to invoke many feelings. One of these pieces is that of Osego Edoh Keboseme.
The piece titled Alcohol cries for freedom is made up of three Black Label bottles, and a sjambok on a white surface. It leaves one with more questions than answers. There is also Thato Nkawana’s installation titled Naked World. A confusing piece for an untrained eye in the visual arts; the piece comprises of baby bottles with what appears to be milk, bricks, sand, and what appears to be a box and a black plastic bag. One walks away from the pieces wishing they had met the artist to
Afro Botho is pencilled to host end of year Mindfulness Retreat in Maun. The event is scheduled to take place on November 30th - December 2nd. It will be held at the Afro Botho farm in Boro, located 10 kilometres from Maun.
The place, according to organisers, is of tranquillity surrounded by natural beauty and beautiful lagoon that is fed by the great Thamalakane River. The place, says the organisers is designed to promote personal rejuvenation and offer an escape from daily routine. In an interview with one of the organisers, MotherK Masire tells this publication that the retreat specifically focuses on unplugging and connecting with one’s inner selves.
“It gives participants a chance to get away from the struggles of daily life, and a chance to get out of your heads and allow your bodies, minds, and spirits to heal. What could be better than that,” she says.She explains that the retreat is ideal for individuals who would love to give themselves some self-care before the festive season madness or for corporates to reward or give incentive for deserving employees.
Those who are interested can look forward to practical mindfulness tools that can be implemented in everyday life for a positive change that can be sustained. “Individuals are guided on how to use mindfulness tools with a follow-up self-evaluation system that enables them to monitor their progress based upon their personal self-effort,” she explains. The price for the retreat is P2500 (inclusive of accommodation per person sharing and meals but excludes transport to Maun)
Afro Botho is conceptualised by Dr. Didi Biorn and Masire. The duo is presently based in Maun. In the past, Afro Botho organised events such as marking the World Mental Health Day under the tagline Heal the Healer. On top of these, they hold a number of retreats through-
Wine lovers gathered at Alliance Francaise this past weekend to celebrate the Beajolias Nouveau Day, courtesy of France Botswana Business Club.
The day that is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of November in France to mark the new harvest wine of the new season. Usually in France, the key word to start the celebration is “Le Beaujolais est arrive”, meaning ‘The Beaujolias Nouveau has arrived’. Ambassador of France to Botswana, Pierre Voillery explains that the occasion is celebrated in many countries outside France, in all the continents.
He appreciated all the wine lovers who came to support the event, saying that it shows appreciation of different cultural backgrounds. Chairman of France Botswana Business Club (FBBC), Dr. Patric Benon also appreciated the good turn up at the event as people came in to welcome the new wine of the season.
He indicated that FBBC’s aim is to group companies with the mandate of reinforcing business link between Botswana and France. “It is about networking between local businesses and French businesses to create business opportunities as well as facilitating exchange of business information between the two countries,” he said adding that finally FBBC has been supporting culture, education or any other activity that can reinforce mutual understanding of people from Botswana and France.
He thanked local companies including Orange Botswana, Seen Foods, Parmalat, Total, Mazars AGS, Minequip, and Light Box Photon Booth, for facilitating the cultural mix between Botswana and France. The attendants of the event also appreciated the wine tasting and chilled session. Shahbaz Mahmood viewed the event as a friendly and open plartform, making it easier for people to interact and that it connects the business community.
John Sande said that it feels special to taste the very new wine on the new season. “The wine tastes good but it has still not matured. Otherwise, it is a lovely event and we are networking pleasantly,” he said. He further said that what amazes him most about the night is learning about the wine and cheese culture of the French people.
However, he urged the French organisers to also add more aspects of the French Culture, saying that they need to learn more on cultural exchange. “Apart from wine, they could also explore aspects like architecture and fashion so that we get to learn more of their way of living too,” said Samde.
The Mascom Top 8 organizers and the Botswana Football Association (BFA) need to introspect and find better ways of re-energizing and reinventing popular tournament affectionately known as Tse Di Tona. As the 2018/19 Top 8 season kicks into action tonight with BDF XI visiting the Ostriches at Itekeng stadium in Orapa. There is actually nothing new to the game. Well except for the much increased P1.3 million -prize money that was announced last season.
Even the season 8 launch held recently in Gaborone did not come with the usual pomp and fanfare expected to keep spectators on their toes. The launch ceremony was rather low key as teams simply presented and posed with their opponent.
Or is it this particular existing quarter- finals fixture criteria that makes the tournament launch appear monotonous because supporters can predict the fixtures.
Perhaps it is high time organisers bring back the spark and hype that came with the Top 8 when it first blasted into the scene. Even the Top 8 clubs are of the opinion that the tournament could do with a bit of revamping. This week the defending champions Township Rollers Spokesperson Bafana Pheto blamed it all on the organizers. Pheto told this publication this week in an interview that clubs are never involved in decision- making processes however they are the ones playing the game.
“The launch is not exciting because we already know what will unfold there and this way of doing things is not even benefiting the sponsor because there is no football cream in it,’ Pheto said. In his opinion, if only after the games would the organizers find time to involve and try to consult would things get better because they will be enlightened oh how to better package the tournament next time.
Black Forest Chairman Emmanuel Kekobilwe believes that the way the quarter -final fixtures are done is boring and needs to be changed. He said the organizers have to move in with the times and perhaps do a toss and draw session. Actually, the local Premier League Board is said to have agreed to change the system however it still beats them why they later decided against it.
“We have to move in with the times, a toss would mean teams will go into the launch anxious to know who they stand to face in their first game, not forgetting the spectators uproar,” Kekobilwe said.Another worrisome matter is that BFA is still holding tight to running the tournament and not freeing the responsibility to Premier League.
Kekobilwe said that BFA needs to focus on other issues and give teams the freedom to run the tournament the way they see fit saying it is the only way they can bring the excitement to the tournament.The Black Forest chairman said inspiration should be drawn from neighboring country South Africa. “They have moved on with the times and the South Africa Football Association is not holding unto the tournament, the Premier League is in full control,” he said.
For his part the Chairman of BPL outfit Sharps Shooting Stars Dickson Wiya said the is no buzz amongst spectatorship and the organizers need to change things. He noted that teams could easily manipulate, predict or dictate the system when playing in the league to determine where they should land and who to play against.
Wiya noted that at the end of the day it is all about money and teams can chase even gate takings or eyeing to small teams to eliminate in the quarter- finals to secure themselves a seat in the semi finals. “It somehow kills the aspect of fair play, a draw would not be so obvious,” Wiya said.Meanwhile Miscellaneous will face Gaborone United at Serowe Sports Complex tomorrow while on Sunday Jwaneng Galaxy will play Sharps Shooting Stars in Jwaneng. Township Rollers will play Black Forest on the 30th November 2018.
The Chairman of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Solly Reikeletseng says that the time has come for BNSC to consider returning management of stadiums to government.Addressing National Sport Associations (NSA) at the BNSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week in Gaborone, Reikeletseng revealed that the management and maintenance of the stadia has depleted the BNSC resources.
He said the expenditure of the stadia goes up to 8 million on an annual basis, however they are granted only half of the amount to do the job.Reikeletseng added that sport funding is always not enough and now is their responsibility to explore other options to ensure that they do as much with what they have.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Region 5 Youth Games Gaborone 2018 scheduled for next month, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) General Manager, Steve Bothasitse informed BG Sport recently that they will spend about P1, 8 million resurfacing the track at the facilities. The stadiums maintenance is currently ongoing as the games fast approach.
For his part, Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) president Joshua Gaothobogwe said that supporters tend to relieve themselves on the stands during premier league games. “It is an unhealthy site that side and if only measures can be reinforced such would not happen,” Gaotlhobogwe said.
The BISA president noted that BNSC has to hold accountable all and reinforce security measures so that they can be on high alert of those that vandalize the stadia. In other matters, BNSC recorded a healthy financial bill with the independent auditor’s report, suggesting that the annual financial statements gave a true and fair view of the financial position of the BNSC.
The report also suggests that the commission has kept proper books of account from their own examination. Also the commission’s statement of financial position, profit and loss is in agreement with the books of account.
The missing of the substantive U23 national team kit raised eyebrows earlier this week when the team had to use alternative attire against their Malawian counterparts in a high profile Afcon qualifier in Blantyre.
The U23 dubbed Dream Team lost 3-2 on aggregate to Malawi and exited the 2019 Afcon qualifiers. The loss of the national team kit follows another strange and bizarre incident when the senior national team had to leave without striker Onkabetse Makganthai when they faced Burkina Faso in a 2019 Afcon qualifier.
This week the BFA was quick to defend both their kit and team managers over both case. In an interview this week, BFA spokesperson, Tumo Mpatane said their team and kit managers are professional and experienced individuals.
“The issue has nothing to do with our kit manager, we have to protect him because he has done his job,” he said. The BFA mouthpiece blamed the kit mishap squarely on the airline service they used from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Malawi. “We checked in the bags at O. R international airport and once we arrived in Blantyre, we could not get our bags. The kit manager ensured that the bags were checked in at the airport and he report to us. We realised the bag were never loaded on the flight once we arrived in Malawi.”
Mpatane said they could not disclose the name of the airliner for professional reasons. Nevertheless, the Mpatane said they had to come up with a plan after consulting their technical sponsor over the matter. “We played the game with an alternative kit; the jerseys were ours but the shorts were not.”
Furthermore, Mpatane said the team luggage included both home and away kit. In the future, we will consider travelling with a third team kit, nevertheless there are issues of luggage and weight when we travel by air. The third kit set can be carried by individual players in their hand luggage.
Mpatane said the kit manager plays a crucial role in the team as he ensures that we have the right sizes, equipment for both the players and the technical team. He (kit manager) ensures that the kit is clean and other hygienic issues. It is his or her job to ensure that the equipment and kit arrives on time. “The issue was bizarre and unfortunate. These things happen even to at club level. Some of the biggest clubs in Africa face the same situations,” said Mpatane.
The President of Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) Mmetla Masire has expressed concern that it appears Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) is dragging its feet on the 2018 Sport Pitso resolutions made early this year in Palapye. Masire voiced his concerns when reacting to Solly Reikeletseng, the BNSC chairman’s remarks during the BNSC Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Gaborone this week.
“You make reference to the Sports Pitso that was held in Palapye, it is very painful when I hear you make reference to that event given the fact that we took it very seriously, however it’s beginning to transpire that maybe the meeting was not so serious, all is silent on the outcomes,” he said.
Masire recalled that the BNSC pushed National Sports Associations around demanding recommendations upon return and they also put in a great effort also, to deliver what was expected of them and worked long extra hours.
The BCA president shared that what saddened him to the core was that the Pitso was even attended by the Minister of Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng, that to him was indeed a sign that they had gathered at the meeting for serious things that needed immediate attention, however they have received nothing to this end and it was worrisome.
Some of the resolutions made at the Sports Pitso meeting were the need to rehabilitate the athletes’ village in block nine. The village used mainly by athletes when in national team call up was reported not habitable with the septic tanks said to be an eyesore, old furniture and torn electric wiring and the fire extinguishers that have not been functioning since 2015.
BNSC was also to prioritize funding for people living with disabilities and improve their support services and also make proposal to government to allocate a quota of proceeds of alcohol levy to funding the sport.
When responding to the matter, Reikeletseng noted that they be given time to continue working on the resolutions saying that some proved a bit challenging to achieve, “The difficulty was how they were structured and how to resolve their funding aspect. I believe for now what we can do is to revise each and try to find how best to approach them,” Reikeletseng said.
In other matters, Reikeletseng has advised leaders of different sporting codes to take control of their associations, saying the local sport is under siege. He said they should be firm in their decision making because they have all the powers and that, the BNSC will be there to protect them.