Living the dream
It has been more than a decade since My African Dream was launched and hidden talents unearthed.
The aim of this non-profit generating event has always been to target and offer young Batswana interested in the performing arts, a viable outlet where they both exhibit and express their talent.
“It is inspirational when a dream or vision becomes a reality, and when one realises that anything and all is possible. It brings with it change – change in choices, change in options, and potentially a change in many people’s behaviour. These changes need to be embraced and directed into positive actions”, reads a statement on the MAD website.
By starting at grassroots level, this event aims to encourage young performers to work hard, strive for international success, and ultimately fame.
And indeed many participants of MAD have found fame and have become household names in Botswana.
To add a little more flavour to this year grand finale to be held on October 29, some of these ‘superstars’ will be bouncing back to further inspire the participants and would be participants of the talent show.
“Bringing back the 15 stars of the last 15 years of “MAD” has acted as some sort of wake up call and reality to the opportunities that My African Dream can open for so many and I think it is this realization that has made many rise to the occasion,’’ said one of the directors of the show Mandi Mash.
As a build up to the finals we tracked down some of the featured individuals and groups to find out what they have been up to since their appearance on the show.
Tshepiso Kevin Molapisi aka KAST, 28, hit the MAD stage in 1998 and since then the young artists has become a household name through his three albums The Curse (2003), Daz it (2006) and Superman (2009).
“It was a great experience participating in MAD and would like to urge other young talented people to explore their talents through this avenue.”
Nono Siile, 30, took part in MAD 2006 and has since recorded two albums Meme and Kgarabe, something she could only dream about before her talent was discovered.
Although 35-year-old Boitumelo Pilane who also participated in 2006 has not recorded an album, she has been in great demand at a variety of function and concerts as her golden voice continues to delight audiences.
“I wouldn’t have come this far if it was not for MAD,’’ she said.
No one can forget the sensational youngsters who danced, sang and thrilled Batswana to the core back in the 2000/2001 series. Since then Eskimos have gone from strength to strength and now has five albums to their name with a DVD set to hit the shelves soon.
Daniel Taric,14, first hit the MAD stage in 2003, returning the following year and again in 2009. The young lad has since showcased his precocious talent at numerious concerts singing and entertaining the masses.
“It was quite an amazing experience and would like to encourage other young people to participate. I have learnt to play a guitar because of MAD and I don’t think that would have been possible if I had not participated in the show,’’ he said.
She has worked with a number of production houses, has collaborated with the American Embassy and has on several occasions performed on stage. Once again meet 26-year-old Racheal Manda aka Spurt who participated in the talent search show in 2004.
“I have had some best moments because of MAD and I am happy to have taken part,’’ said Spurt.
Mattews Matsetse, 35, became a force to reckon with in the arts industry in 2004 when he hit the MAD stage. Since the realisation of his talent he has recorded an album This love and is working on a live DVD which is set to be out before year end.
“I have no doubt that people will love my product,” he said.
22-year-old Kennedy Thal has not recorded any album since he participated in MAD in 1997, but he has been all over the show performing in various corporate functions, state gatherings and shows including this year’s Miss Universe Botswana.
Samantha Mogwe, 22, might be musically talented but she did not allow her new found fame to disturb her studies. This is the reason why she has not recorded any album as she had to go to school, but the young entertainer has worked with other artists who include KAST and Andreattah Chuma.
The year was 2005 when 19-year-old Naledi Thabakgolo hit the MAD stage and her talent was discovered. Naledi now has an album under her name.
26-year-old Vivien Dakpo from the class of 2005 has since become a well known performer, appearing at various corporate and entertainment functions.
When she battled it all out with other contestants in 2008, Rosemarie Hamoir, 18, did not know that she would one day entertain at the highest level in a number of prestigious functions.
“It has been a wonderful journey entertaining the who is who of Botswana and this is all thanks to MAD.”
14-year-old Moonga Kapambwe has not recorded any album, but there is not doubt that when he eventually does, it will be one of the ‘hottest’.
We may not know why the group was named Amanandos, but what we do know is that these boys can really entertain. They took to the stage in 2007 and since their talent was discovered they have also discovered other groups which include another boy group, Candy and an all girls crew, Bonadosita.