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From child star to wonder woman

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From child star to wonder woman
AMBITIOUS: Currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in Drama and Film

At just 11 years, Marang Molosiwa was part of the first crop of presenters on Botswana Television.

Her introduction to the public eye was as a presenter on the children’s show, Mantlwaneng.

The beautiful young girl stole viewers hearts with her enchanting, confident smile and excellent delivery in front of the camera.

Since then, her journey has included presenting the popular My African Dream talent search and eventually venturing into radio drama.

A role in the local drama, Makgabaneng won her more fans, further catapulting her into the limelight.

A seed was planted and this exposure led her to actively pursue a career in film, theatre acting and directing.

Now at 24-years-old, the vivacious Molosiwa is a qualified performing artist, theatre director and a budding creative entrepreneur.

A passionate citizen of Botswana, there is more to Molosiwa than just a pretty face and a dazzling smile.

Currently enrolled at Wits University studying a Postgraduate degree in Drama and Film, Molosiwa already has a degree in Drama from the University of Pretoria.

“At the core of who I am, I am a creative and a staunch advocate of the performing arts in Botswana. I have made it my purpose to use my artistic skills to further promote the arts and encourage social change through performance,” she explains in an eloquent, almost ethereal voice.

Though rightly proud of her achievements thus far, Molosiwa is quick to point out that her journey has not been without its fair share of obstacles and sacrifices.

“I was working when my peers were attending other events, like birthday parties and extracurricular activities at school, so I missed out. Though I loved working, I was often made to feel bad by others,” she said.

Indeed, finding fame at such a young age caused resentment amongst Molosiwa’s schoolmates, jealous of her success.

“It was as though I had to apologise for this great opportunity. To be good at anything takes dedication, guidance and giving up other things to focus. I put in the work but kids at school would go out of their way to exclude me and tease me,” she recalled sombrely.

Though it was difficult and upsetting, a determined Molosiwa did not let this dampen her enthusiasm, as she explains, “I had to balance being a normal child at home and school and maintain good grades – all while having this extraordinary job. Often I found myself having to downplay what I did, just so I could fit in with my mates and lead a normal life. Primary school days were the worst for me as I was bullied. Fame taught me that I had to develop a thick skin. And I mean thick! I had to cultivate a strong sense of self and learn to be assertive and confident. It also became very important for me to be conscious and cautious of my actions, behaviour and interactions. I loved my work. It didn’t even feel like work. I was living my dream at such a young age.”

Despite having craved fame, being launched into the public eye at such a young age, constantly feeling like she was being scrutinised and judged, proved psychologically draining for the unsuspecting Molosiwa.

“All those years of watching KTV, dreaming and praying that I would get my chance had materialised. They just didn’t warn me about the challenges of being in the public eye so I was ill prepared in that regard. One attracts attention wherever they go, even if unwarranted. Walking into a shop and having people recognise you, asking for pictures, sometimes autographs, got tiring. It was even harder to understand and deal with as I was so young and just wanted to be ‘normal’. At times I felt like my life didn’t belong to me. To this day, there are times I still like this.

“Until you’ve experienced it, you will never understand living a life where you know any move you make, good or bad, big or small will be amplified just because it’s you! Social media has also become a catalyst to all of this now. There are no boundaries anymore and this can be intrusive,” Molosiwa continued knowingly.

It has been a while since Molosiwa’s TV days, but even now her fame precedes her, as she explains, “Though I may not be on TV anymore and have expanded my career into other areas of the arts, people still recognize me – to me that is evidence that my work has left a lasting impression on audiences across Botswana and I’m truly humbled.”

Molosiwa prides herself on the work she has done and continues to seek opportunities to elevate both her own star and those she gets to work with.

In 2009 she took on the lead role in an HIV-themed short film that formed part of the SoulCity/BP 10 part series: One Love Stories.

“This was my first real introduction to acting and it sealed my passion for performance.”

She also cherishes the experience amassed directing a production titled ‘Ketswakae’, at the 2015 Maitisong Festival.

“Not only did I direct a show in the festival, but I also performed in a production titled Born Around Here. It ran at ArtsCape in Cape Town in September 2015. Both shows are relevant to everyday Botswana.”

Beyond her work, Molosiwa is involved with an association that engages young women in relevant conversation about adulthood.

‘Minds for Tomorrow’ was formed in 2014 and hosts monthly sessions that provide a space for conversations aimed at yielding meaningful exchanges and calls to action amongst Botswana’s youth.

“We discuss financial, personal and social responsibilities whilst giving support to one another as we navigate ‘life’.”

And what of the future? Can it possibly live up to Molosiwa’s exciting past?

The former child star is confident that it can, saying, “When you’ve been in the public eye since you were young, people find it hard to detach themselves from that image of you as an 11-year-old and it can be debilitating if one allows it. I function like any other 24-year-old. Even though I enjoyed and appreciate my days as a child star, I have grown up and have other passions I wish to fulfil. I am about pioneers, trailblazers, risk takers and hard workers but I am also about my cultural beliefs and the values instilled in me by my family. In the end I can only advise, ‘do not get in your own way’. Overcome yourself and the blocks you impose on yourself and your progress. I think we often make excuses as to why we cannot do certain things and allow that fear to determine our lives. We can all be whatever we choose!” concluded Molosiwa impressively.