Phutego speaks out
Public figures should expect people to be interested in their private lives. When they seek a public role, they should expect to lose at least some of their privacy, once wrote one anonymous person.
If there is a public figure who will fully identify with this statement, it is none other than former Botswana Television news anchor, actor, master of ceremonies and one of the country’s eligible bachelor, 31 year old Benson Phutego who has lost his privacy and dignity a couple of times.
When he parted ways with his former employer, First National Bank Botswana, stories started doing rounds that he was forced to resign because of fraud allegations.
And when he had a misunderstanding with a young man at a party in Tlokweng, the public got know about it and unfortunately, whether the young man was right or wrong it seemed not to matter, the ‘juicy’ part was that Phutego had somehow hurt him.
His financial position has also been a subject of scrutiny as it was once reported that he was being auctioned for failing to pay some debts. Recently he was reported to have failed to pay a loan shark and having written a cheque that bounced.
But how is he coping with all this bad publicity and is there any element of truth in all these stories that have been written about him or he is just a victim of publicity gone bad.
“It is all lies, no truth at all in these bad things that have been written about me and I don’t understand why people take pride in spreading false stories about me. I cope because I have told my self that pain is temporary and therefore should not worry myself about it. However what pains me is that it not only me who is affected when these stories come out, people close to me also feel the pain,’’ he said.
Phutego was speaking in a wide ranging interview with Voice Lifestyle at his home in Block Seven on Sunday where we sought to find the real truth about him and his life visa-a vis all the stories being whispered in the corridors about him.
“As Jeremiah 1 verse 19 says, they will fight against you but will never overcome you. This is exactly what is happening, people can say whatever and work hard to pull me down but they will never overcome me,’’ said Phutego confidently quoting the Bible adding that although he is not a regular church goer, he knows the Bible very well and kneels down to pray on a daily basis.
“And by the way I am a very sober guy who does not drink or smoke and rarely goes partying as some people tend to think.”
Although he says he has been in the limelight since his primary school days, Phutego began to catch the public eye in the late 90s when he started reading news on Radio Botswana and later Yarona FM.
But it must have been the Btv and his sought after deep voice as a master of ceremonies at various functions that brought him a lot of attention.
“Without sounding like I am blowing my own trumpet, I know I am good at reading news and being an MC though it’s still a puzzle to me why the national broadcaster decided that I should no longer be part of the news anchor team. It is also interesting to note that I have heard stories about why I stopped reading news on Btv yet the truth of the matter is that somebody there just decided that I should no longer be part of them ,’’ he said.
He said sometimes it surprises him when he hears the stories about him which don’t have a grain of truth but he has learnt to accept that there are some people out there whose purpose in life is to bring others down.
Contrary to what people say about his reasons for leaving his job, Phutego who showed his business acumen while still at the UB by starting a magazine says he left to concentrate on his trucking business.
“My business was suffering because I was not giving it much attention so I had to leave my job to give it all the attention it deserved. Though it might not be easy, I know I will make a break-through one day.”
This is one subject that Phutego was not keen to talk about saying his private life is a private matter.
“Obviously I have to be involved with someone and I believe in the sanctity of marriage and have no doubt that I will one day get married to a lovely wife and have beautiful children.