BERLIN, GERMANY — It has been a decade since November 2008 when Donald Molosi’s play “Blue, Black and White” about Sir Seretse and Lady Ruth Khama’s interracial romance premiered in New York’s Theatre District thereby making Molosi the first Motswana to perform on Broadway. To mark the occasion, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany recently hosted actor-playwright Donald Molosi to honor him.
The event was attended by Berlin’s literati, graduate students from Humboldt and Her Excellency the Ambassador of Botswana to Germany, Mrs. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba. At the gathering, Molosi screened a video of his wide-ranging work in a new documentary. He then spoke of how Blue, Black and White had given his generation of Batswana a new relationship to history.
“That phrase itself – blue, black and white – now officially trademarked by myself had not been used and so this play brought us that language to use inclusive language when speaking about Botswana. It will continue to be a phrase for all of us, it’s just that its origins are now etched into history. I am happy that through this work I advocated for the release of archives in Britain and now Batswana have heard Sir Seretse Khama’s voice and seen video footage of him. These are archives that a Motswana of my age had not seen before. In that sense, I appreciate how this play has been more than a play. It contributed to the pride of my nation.”
Her Excellency the Ambassador of Botswana to Germany Mrs. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba spoke at the event and said, “Donald’s work shows us the power of art to transform society. It shows us that art may be the answer to some of the challenges that come with 21st century.”
Molosi further explained, “It was because of this play that I now celebrate a decade on Broadway. It was because of this play that I was inspired to create a documentary about Botswana’s golden jubilee anniversary. And that play is also why the Hollywood biopic about Sir Seretse exists. But let us not forget why I felt the need to write it in the first place, it was because our colonial curriculum had failed me and I was trying to educate myself and other Batswana our foundations.”
A surprise guest at the gathering was Minister Eric Molale who was in Berlin for high level talks. The minister engaged with students and shared his experience as a government employee. Molosi said of the experience, “I cherish any chance to be in dialogue with my elders. The revolution I desire for Botswana to teach African history in schools necessitates that I work closely with policy makers so I am grateful to see more of my elders coming into this conversation around the need to teach African history.”
For his part, Minister said “When I was coming up as an Economist we believed that economists were more important than artists. But I think today someone like Donald Molosi shows us how art can be a way to show leadership and to create change. I think we can congratulate Donald on that.”
Molosi made history by being the first Motswana on Broadway in 2008 in Today It’s Me. In 2009, Molosi premiered Blue, Black and White, a play about Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s founding President’s marriage to a white British woman Ruth. He acted in A United Kingdom opposite David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.