Making it big at first attempt
Discovering one’s talent is usually never easy especially at an older age. Some accidentally discover it while some are helped by others to realize that they gifted and good in something. For Loretta Mekgwe it is hard to say when she discovered her artistic talent as she was a choirmaster at standard two but never thought that was a sign. It was just recent that it actually dawned on her that her life might be in the arts industry.
She fields questions about her life and where she wants to go in as far as her artistic flair is concerned.
Q. Please give us a brief background about yourself.
I was born in Gaborone but raised between Mochudi and Maun. For 17 years I was the only child but I now have two little sisters. I have a diploma in graphic design, sales and marketing and will be soon be studying towards my Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts. I consider myself as an all rounder.
Q. Why pursue an Arts degree, is it something that you have always wanted?
I believe I was born an artist because no matter how hard I tried to ignore the arts industry, it kept on following me so I decided to do what I think I was meant to do.
Q. When exactly did you discover your artistic side?
I was a choirmaster at standard two and I think that was a sign that I would later be seriously involved in arts. I remember that I used to stand in a chair leading the choir and we did very well despite our age.
Q. Tell us about your journey in the film industry and as an actress in the television series Morwalela.
It was when I landed a role as an Onset Personal Assistant to MaRamotswe (Jill Scott) in the No.1 Ladies Detective series. My role was to make sure that she is comfortable on set and that her script and food were always ready for her. This then made me take acting seriously and when adverts for Morwalela casts came out I applied. I must also mention that I was also encouraged to apply by Kgomotso Tshwenyego (who played the part of her mother in the series). Initially I was also supposed to work behind the scenes but things changed when I auditioned for Mpho’s role and landed it.
Q. Tell us a bit about that role.
Mpho was the only child, beautiful, caring, mature young lady who was involved in community work. She was a virgin and determined to be remain like that till marriage. She was engaged and all seemed well until she learnt that her fiancé was HIV positive.
Q. Are there any similarities between you and Mpho?
Yes they are, we are both loving and caring. We also both believe in community development.
Q. You recently arrived from South Africa, what had you gone there to do?
We had gone to do the English recording of Morwalela. I think it is a good story hence the idea to have the English version so it can be watched and enjoyed by people from other countries.
Q. Morwalela was your first experience for on screen television, any lessons learnt?
I learnt that one has to be passionate about what she does. Acting is not as easy as people think and the only way to succeeded is to take it as a serious job.
Q. Given a chance what is one thing that you will do in the country’s film industry?
I would make sure that there are many productions as possible. There is a lot of talent in Botswana but the problem is that the film industry is as good as non-existent.
Q. Under the current scenario what then should be done to improve the situation?
The government and the private sector should take the industry seriously but giving it priority when it comes to funding. People always complain that our television is full of international content, where would the local content come from when there are no productions. Our neighbour’s (South Africa) television is all about the local content and I believe that it is because of the support from the government and the private sector.
Q. Talking about vibrant South African film industry, any plans of crossing borders?
No, not at all. I don’t intend to leave Botswana, I believe we will one day get there, it’s only a matter of time. I also believe that growth should be within, it must take one to leave country of birth to grow.
Q. And what is your dream with regards to your acting career?
I want to go as far as it will take me. I never thought I would land a role in Morwalela so who knows what will happen next.
Q. What else are you involved in?
I am an abstract painter and actually working on my first exhibition, which I am hoping to hold this year. I am also an entrepreneur and interested in IT solutions. I am currently working on a mobile payment system, which if all goes well should be launched before the end of the year.
Full names: Loretta Mekgwe
Place of birth: Gaborone
Date of birth: 12 July 1986
Marital status: Single mother of one
Favourite food(s): Meat, pasta and salads
Favourite drink: water
Type of music: Anything nice
Favourite films: Comedy
Holiday destination: Bali Island in Indonesia
Dream car: Mazerratti
One item she can’t do without: Her notepad