Kgomotso Tshwenyego is a name you probably may have heard on local radio attached to a soft, feathery voice.
You may have also seen it rolling with the credits on shows such as Rebina Mmogo and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (Mma Ramotswe) which starred American actress Jill Scott.
Her brand is symbolic of a virtuous and cultured Motswana woman, who is a mother to all.
Voice reporter Leungo Mokgwathi engaged with Ausi Kgomotso as she is popularly known to reflect on her multi-dimensional career, and to get insights on the evolution of the local film industry.
Kindly please introduce yourself to our readers.
Kgomotso Tshwenyego was born and raised in Mochudi.
I am a mother of three, and a granny to two boys.
I am an actor, motivational speaker and writer.
I am just a lover of life, I especially love giving people a reason to smile.
You have built a huge name for yourself in various disciplines, let’s first get into acting. Do you remember your first big role? What show was it and what was the experience like?
My first big role was Rebina Mmogo.
It was a bit overwhelming since it was my first time in front of the cameras, but it was fun at the same time.
I have always loved acting and the thought of being on TV was exciting at the time.
For me, the thrill didn’t come from being on TV, it was about doing what I love most, which is telling stories through motion pictures.
How difficult has your journey as an actress been?
Quite challenging, especially given the fact that our industry isn’t growing as fast and as big as we wish it could be.
Most people are sitting on their talents just because there aren’t many acting jobs and I face that as well.
When the job comes, it is at a fee that one cannot live on.
We cannot live on being a seasoned actor only, money must come with it.
Looking back at when you started acting to today, what significant growth have you recognised in terms of our local film industry?
A lot of talented filmmakers have emerged and trained ones at that.
The only thing lacking is the opportunity to showcase their abilities, which they aren’t being given.
The industry is trying their best, but the resources are failing us.
If you look at the picture today as compared to back then, you will see that these young people know what they are doing, they only need support and by support I mean, they should be paid what their hard work is worth.
They should be given more and more opportunities and given a chance to expand and do more.
Can you recall the role that gave you the hardest challenge? Which was it and what was so challenging about it?
Rose (Mma Ramotswe’s maid) in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
I must have auditioned about four times before I got the role.
I am a very bad auditioner by the way, hahaha! But once I get the role, I hammered it.
I wanted the Rose role so bad given that it was an International production.
On my last re-call, I had been grilled by Anika Noni Rose from Dreamgirls the day before.
I managed to get the role on the spot. On the day of filming, I was so scared, I was shaking and there was a point where I forgot my lines, I just stood there.
Imagine the cameras rolling, everyone is quiet and my tongue got tied and I just froze.
Everyone was nice to me but I think I got star-struck when I turned and came face to face with Anika.
Ausi Kgomotso really became a household name when you joined the My Star Botswana judging panel, how did you land that gig?
I don’t know, but somehow I got a call that my services were needed as a Lady Judge on MyStar.
I remember it was a Thursday night when DJ Sid called, the next morning Master Dee called and that Saturday I was in the panel of Judges in Palapye.
What was your favourite part about being a judge on MyStar?
Getting to appreciate and nurture the talent that our youngsters have.
I really appreciated the opportunity to share and advise them on how to improve their craft, but I mostly enjoyed that mother-figure role I automatically assumed as the only lady on the panel.
This wasn’t shown on TV, but I was someone they relied on for a shoulder to cry on which was fulfilling.
Our children are going through so much and they need someone to talk to, on a personal level.
To date, I still maintain a good relationship with some of the contestants.
Do you have any musical background? What would you say made you competent enough to judge the talent show?
Everyone has a musical background.
The moment you find yourself loving music, listening to music, singing along, having a favourite genre, picking your best songs and loving the instrumentals, it’s a background.
People are different, on one hand we have those who have a good singing voice but choose not to use it, and some who can’t sing at all but take time to learn all the techniques of music and develop a good ear for music-I happen to be one of those.
How and when were you introduced to radio?
I first started as a guest on DumaFM when Resego Motlhokathari was still doing The Flight.
I have always loved radio and have always wanted to be on radio from a very young age, I found it thrilling.
Then an opportunity came for me to pitch my idea for a Family Radio show which I named The Family Show.
I hosted it until changes were made in the lineup and then I was entrusted with hosting Tea with Kgomotso, which focused more on the Elderly and the challenges they face.
What’s your strategy for ensuring that your content is always engaging to listeners?
Research – have conversations with people and know your target group.
You see when you’re a talk show host, you need to create content that suits your target audience.
Know what the listener needs to know and be fluent with it.
Also, always be prepared and be humble.
What was the transition like from pre-recorded content to hosting live radio shows?
Live radio is more authentic than recorded TV.
It was quite challenging because with a Live Talk show, there is no “cut” if you go there unprepared, you will be very frustrated.
You say something wrong, it’s done!
No matter how many apologies, you can’t take back or erase the error.
Which show are you currently hosting?
I haven’t done any radio since December 2021 when my contract wasn’t renewed at DumaFM.
I really miss radio though.
What was your favourite part about being a radio show host?
That you get to be yourself, no scripts just you and your thoughts, your mind and emotions.
You give the Listener who you are, the discussions, the topics, the growth, the music, the relationship and intimacy with the listener.
Anything else you’re working on that your fans need to know about?
I founded Lepatla La Bagodi Foundation which holds Retreats for elders over the age of 60 years.
These are empowerment retreats and also a platform for old people to discuss issues that affect them directly.
Elders also experience abuse that includes marginalization, discrimination, neglect, isolation, poverty and depression as they age.
During these engagements, delegates showcase their skills, specialties and exchange ideas and knowledge, make new friends, acquaintances, business partners as well as share their life experiences and their contributions to society.
I also do community visits as well as home visits to Bagodi.
Interesting stuff! Any word of advice for a young girl with a dream?
Focus on your dream.
Do something that makes sense to you, scares only you, means a lot to only you, your dream should be just that – your dream.
Don’t say it’s your dream because you saw someone else do it and admired it.
Do it in such a way that at any point in your life, you will be proud of the work you have put in to realise it.
Finally, thank God it’s Friday, what will you be up to this weekend?
Busy preparing for the Annual Retreat which is coming on 14th and 15th July, 2023 as well as Ms. Senior Botswana which is part of Lepatla la Bagodi Retreat.
After that, im snuggling up in bed for rest!