When Botswana Television (BTV) started many moons ago, Batswana remained hopeful about the advancement of local media especially in the area of broadcasting. However, almost 20 years after its launch, the TV station remains stagnant with no sense of direction, dismal programming and mediocre content. This has however not deterred many of its maiden talent from growing wings and reaching for the skies.
Take for instance the kids who hosted the kiddies programme Mantlwaneng, which at the time received minimal attention from everyone including the local media. Fast forward to 2018, the Matlwaneng kids just like butterflies have now metamorphosed not only into talented broadcasters but superb presenters too.
#BotswanaUnplugged recently looked at the likes of Marang Molosiwa, Rea Kopi, Phenyo Mogampane and StaXx who have truly made a resounding return to TV and are slowly carving themselves a golden niche in 2018…
Marang Molosiwa – Unplugged BW TV
Marang, aged 26 has made a comeback to television after spending some years in South Africa where she studied Performing Arts Management and Film at the University of Witwatersrand. The vivacious Marang recently returned to TV courtesy of the new youth channel, NOW spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, as the presenter of a grand lifestyle magazine dubbed Unplugged BW TV- an extension of Botswana Unplugged.
The show profiles the country’s showbiz through news, travel, entertainment and sports. It is multi-faceted as the country itself; an entertaining kaleidoscope of people and places, arts and culture, concerts, music, style, fashion and much, much more. Marang’s TV break began at Mantlwaneng in 2002 after which she expanded her work to compering. Upon finishing high school she job-shadowed at a few establishments, mainly the then Lapologa Magazine where she did administrative work and writing.
In 2009, she took on the lead role in an HIV-themed short film that formed part of the Soul City/BP 10 part series, One Love Stories that was shown across Southern Africa. In 2016, Marang went to Johannesburg, South Africa to pursue an Honours degree in Drama and Film at the University of Witwatersrand, where she specialized in Performing Arts Management and Film.
In 2015 and 2017, Marang had the honour of adjudicating the categories of Scriptwriting as well as Drama for the President’s Day Competition, organized by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. This year she also provided master of ceremony services for the Youth Business Expo Awards Ceremony – another initiative by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. In 2015 and 2017 Marang had the honour of adjudicating the categories of Scriptwriting as well as Drama for the President’s Day Competition, organized by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development.
This year she also provided master of ceremony services for the Youth Business Expo Awards Ceremony, yet another initiative by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development.
Rea Kopi – African Youth in Business & Rea On TV
Rea’s perseverance has truly stood the test of time and she’s an epitome of ‘if you put your mind to it, you can achieve it.’ Rea started her own show, Rea Online which was simulcast on both Facebook and YouTube, and the rest as they say is history. Despite limited resources, Rea kept the fire burning and fast forward to today, her show was acquired by the new youth channel, NOW and beams every Wednesday at 1800hrs CAT. In between producing and presenting her own show, Rea also hosts Travelogue – a travel magazine show on Botswana Television (BTV) which will be airing soon.
“I was at Mantlwaneng from 2005 to 2008. I studied Bachelor of Accountancy at University of Botswana (UB) and completed last year December 2017. For now it’s good to be back on your television with two shows. I’m also hosting African Youth in Business which comes every Thursday at 1800hrs CAT. I also present and host REA Online.” Rea’s journey on television presenting never stopped. In 2012 she was also a presenter of Gemstone IMTA talent search.
“Television is such a powerful influential platform to share our stories, magnify issues that may be overlooked all the while entertaining people with visuals and sound.” Quizzed about her future plans, Rea said she has put her Accounting career on hold in order to expand her scope in television beyond our borders. “My plans are to expand the Rea brand beyond borders to penetrate the SADC market which will be a gateway to the entire continent of Africa and to the world,” she said.
Meanwhile, the media protégé is also a radio newbie courtesy of the newly titivated GABZ FM line up where she co-hosts a show with Tumisang Mokalake – a new radio entrant too.
Quizzed about radio, Rea has no regrets and accepts all the challenges that come with live radio. “It’s been a little over 2 months since I started working at Gabz FM as a radio host for a cutting edge and fun show called The Arcade – with REA and Tumi which airs on Fridays 1pm to 5pm and Saturdays 2pm to 6pm. It feels good to expand the REA brand to radio – #REAonAir. Radio is so different from Television because you can’t say cut, or edit out some stuff later in post production. It’s REAL, Live and so personal. I’m loving it so far and I’m constantly learning.”
StaXx – Pula Power
Born Kago Serole the young coffee-coloured bloke was with Mantlwaneng from 2003 until 2010 and left to study Business Information Management at UB for two years (2012-2014).
“I then dropped out to focus on making music, which is something I’ve always had a passion for even when I was on TV. I joined Pula Power towards the end of last year after my friends pushed me to audition. But it’s also something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a kid and I had nothing to lose. It’s different from working on Mantlwaneng but it’s just as fun because I get to travel and see places I haven’t been to before, and just connect with people. It is also great for my music career because I get to meet people that support my music and TV career.”
Kago added, “Right now, my main focus is on growing as an artist and as a presenter and working on campaigns and projects that affect the youth, especially those in the creative field and those that desire to be a part of the industry. It’s tricky trying to balance TV and music, but its also making a few things easier especially in terms of the amount of reach I now have.”
He said besides music and TV, he always ran a film and design company with two of his friends, Motheo Malgas and Gonna Monngakgotla. “We shoot music videos and short documentaries for artists and other brands that are interested in working with us. Everything revolves around music, film and art really, for me. It’s a world I’m passionate about and despite the obstacles, it’s a world I would die for.”
Phenyo Mogampane – My Star
Probably the youngest to make a return to television, the new popular ‘My Star’ presenter has been roped in to fill the big boots left by her predecessors.