Botswana’s movie star continues to shine
She started acting at Sunday school and in school plays when she was a little girl but it never occurred to her that she would one day be counted amongst some of Botswana’s accomplished actresses.
To date she has been an actress in almost all the films that have been produced in the country as she seems to be irresistible to many producers with the latest being the just ended Botswana Television series Morwalela.
The Voice had a chance to chit chat with the ‘television lady’ Kgomotso Tshwenyego who is also on the panel of judges for the reality music show, My Star on Btv, to find more about her and her love for acting.
Q.Please give us a brief background of yourself.
I was born in Mochudi on October 27, 1963. I am single mother of three children currently working for the University of Botswana as Senior Personnel Assistant to the Director of Centre for Academic Development.
Q. How did you discover that you had a talent in acting?
I have always had passion for the performing arts but I never thought it would take me this far. Actually my involvement with acting started when I still a very young girl. But the turning point was when I got a role in one the local productions Re Bina Mmogo
Q. What were you hoping to achieve when you decided to take acting seriously?
I wanted to do something which I had passion for. The other reason is that I am a very shy person and so I thought acting would take away the shyness but it is refusing to go. I still am very shy.
Q. Did you get any formal training in acting or it’s just a natural talent?
It’s a natural talent, something which is in me, but I have attended course in films and acting. I would however like to encourage aspiring actors and actresses to get some kind of formal training.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement thus far in your acting career?
Being part of the international No.1 Ladies Detective Agency movie and series is my greatest achievement so far though I don’t want to viewer myself as an achiever as I feel I can still do more. I was involved both as an actress and dialogue/ dialect coach. And working with international renowned Jill Scott was quite an enjoyable experience.
Q. What exactly was your role as dialogue/dialect coach in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency?
My role was to teach and coach Jill Scott and other non-Setswana speaking actors their Setswana lines and how to speak in the best Setswana accent as possible. I was also responsible for teaching Scott how to behave like a Motswana woman. I must also point out that I have heard people saying Scott somehow failed to imitate Batswana in talking but what people tend to forget is that as Batswana we have our own different accents and thus Scott ‘as a Motswana’ had her own.
Q. What do you think landed you the job of being the dialect/dialogue coach, are you very good in Setswana?
I wouldn’t say I am very good in my language but what I do know is that I speak clearly for those who are listening to fully understand me. That is one thing that impressed those who chose me for that role.
Q. Which other films have you been involved with?
I was an actress in Re Bina Mmogo, Thokolosi, Possibilities, and the just ended Morwalela.
Q. So do you consider yourself a celebrity?
Not at all, I don’t consider myself a celebrity but instead I think I am a role model and a source of inspiration, at least that’s what people have told me.
Q. Is there anything common between you and the characters that you play in the films that you have participated in so far?
Definitely there is. In the latest film Morwalela, I was playing Mma Mpho who was a typical African and Motswana woman and with a mind of her own, never to be swayed by anything and that’s exactly how I am. I stand for what I believe in. In the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency I was Rose, Mma Ramotswe’s maid who also made sure that she got what she wanted and that is a true reflection of myself.
Q. What is it that you love most about acting?
The fact that it gives one a platform to express themselves through different people. There might be similarities between the actor and the character that one is playing but the fact that when you are acting you are not you is what I find fascinating.
Q. What is your dream in as far as acting is concerned?
I still want to do more of acting but the problem is that the film industry in our country is not vibrant at all. But I wish I could also get a platform to impart my knowledge and experience in acting to aspiring actors and actresses.
Q. You are saying the film industry is not vibrant in Botswana, what could be the reasons behind that?
Producing a film is very expensive and those who have the money and the means to produce in the country don’t seem to be interested. Botswana is awash with talent but all that talent is going to waste because the government is not taking the industry seriously and so is the private sector.
Q. Now let us talk about your other role in television, you are one of the judges of the reality music show, My Star, what qualifies you for that role?
I have a flair for music and understand what it takes to be a good singer and this is largely because of the fact that I am a chorister. Musically I am a product of Gomolemo Motswaledi, he trained me on how to be a good singer and I am founding member of KTM choir, a leading choral choir in Botswana. The musical knowledge that I have therefore puts me in a better position to be a judge in reality show and I am also technically equipped to be the judge.
Q. And your writing part, the column that you once had in The Voice, can you tell us about it?
The column was meant to motivate people through my personal experiences. It was a column close to my heart and it made me express my feelings.
Q. You seem to have knowledge in a number of things, acting, writing, what else do you do and have done besides acting and writing?
I have also done several voice-overs for different productions including television adverts and radio adverts.
Q. Lastly what would be your advice to people who wish to follow in your footsteps?
They should know that acting is not all fun. It is a career that needs to be taken seriously like any other and thus if one decides to make it a part time or full time career he/she must give it all the attention it so deserves.
Full names: Kgomotso Tshwenyego
Place of birth: Mochudi
Date of birth: 27 October 1963
Marital status: Single
Children: Kago, Wame and Laone
Car driving: Nissan Sunny
Favourite food: Anything nice and well cooked but no sausages and mince
Favourite drink: Nothing specific depends on my mood
Likes: Spending time in the bush, listening to birds and enjoying nature
Type of Music: Anything that sounds good but has more liking for Jazz and Gospel
Favourite Films: Romantic movies, true stories
How do you relax: By sleeping
Two things that we didn’t know about you: I am a very shy person and I like catching flies, holding them in my hand and then letting go while it is still fighting for its dear life.