30 years ago, Kootshepile Motseonageng, the woman the world would come to know as Berry Heart, was born.
From her humble beginnings in Magagarape village, Kweneng, the multi-talented musician would blossom into one of the country’s most celebrated poets.
Currently working on a revolutionary Indo-African Collaboration project with Indian artist Ekam Maanuke, Berry Heart was voted Botswana’s most dedicated artist at the recent BOMU awards.
You seem to have transformed from the semi-naked woman who first burst onto the showbiz scene – what happened?
I was young then and wanted to dress like a girl but you can see I have changed to a woman because I have grown. I am now a woman.
Q. You are one of the most ‘cyber bullied’ individuals in the country; how do you handle the hate?
A. I ignore it but sometimes I show them that I can hit back. It works for me either way.
Most of the bullies are people who I inspire and you find that they cannot reach where I am and so end up resorting to bullying.
Q. If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day, who would it be and why?
A. I would trade lives with Mr Nana Kwaku Bonsam. I think he is very interesting to openly keep the African culture of Gods and spirituality.
The man is the most authentic person I have ever met.
Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. Having worked with the European Union and United Nations and other international organisations without applying for the post.
Turning the Berry Heart Brand into one of the well-packaged brands in Africa’s entertainment industry.
To be a multi award-winning artist – the award I got from BOMU recently as the Best Dedicated artist made me really proud.
To have the first Indo African Collaboration that is going so well despite so many challenges.
I have always wanted to work with Indians, since I was 13. This is my dream project!
Q. What do you like and dislike about your home village, Magagarape?
A. Magagarape is where my heart is. I love everything about it (the love, the ambiance and fresh air, the people, the culture of ubuntu) except that the government has really abandoned us in developments: we have no school, no clinic, no electricity or water.
Q. What drives you to do what you are doing?
A. The poverty that I grew up from is my biggest motivator – I do not want to go back there.
I happened to be lucky to bring change and inspiration to the children born in poverty that they can make it.
Q. Why is your life filled with drama, especially on social media?
A. It is undoubtedly because I am famous and fame comes with pros and cons. People will create untrue stories about me to make themselves relevant.
My advice to those people who aspire to be where I am is to work ten times harder and the world will recognise them not gossip.
Gossip does not pay.
Q. Five things people don’t know about you?
- I love kids and have adopted two orphanages in Botswana and Kenya that I donate to annually.
- I am always and will always be a scholar. If I’m not getting my Master’s, I am doing short courses on branding and others.
- I am actually a successful farmer.
- My biggest fear is breaking my father’s heart.
- I have never applied for a job.A.