If making it big in the country of your origin isn’t easy, then success in a foreign land must be 10 times harder. There are a number of Motswana celebrities that have found their fire in foreign lands.
In any industry there are few attributes that can match resilience and determination and the entertainment industry is no exception. The celebrities of Botswana have taken on the world and we are proud that despite of their success they remain rooted to their place of birth.
These are the Botswana celebs that made it big in foreign lands:
At only 19 years of age, Kaone Kario made history as the winner of the 2005 M-net NOKIA Face of Africa. On account of her win she received a contract from Storm Management Models worth US $125 000 and is the first person from Botswana to be conferred with the Face Of Africa crown.
She then went on to become the face of Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week and completed 2 swimwear editorial fashion shoots for Elle magazine and Glamour magazine. Kaone was selected as cover girl and featured in Cosmopolitan magazine.
Since winning the 2005 M-net NOKIA Face of Africa and her subsequent successes, Botswana’s modeling export who was previously based in Cape Town has now relocated to New York. She has been sharing her passion for New York and her experiences roaming ‘The Big Apple’ in her blogs and tweets.
Shona Ferguson, with all his successes abroad, was born and raised right here in our very own country of Botswana. His official name is Aaron Ferguson. He first began in the entertainment industry in 1992 by working as a DJ in a club in Lesotho at the Palace Hotel Night Club.
He has a love for the arts and music and this is what led him to the registration of ‘Dragon Heart Promotions cc’ in 2003. He co-owns this company and Ferguson Films with his Motswana actress wife and business partner, Connie Ferguson. He is best known for his role as Lebu in the soapie Muvhango. The couple found their fame in South Africa where they are both now based.
Famous for acting as Karabo Moroka, Connie Ferguson starred on the South African soapie, Generations, for roughly 16 years. She then played Mavis Mabaso in Rockville which she created with her husband, Shona Ferguson. She was born in Lobatse, Botswana on the 10th June 1970.
Connie has 2 daughters, Lesedi Matsunyane Ferguson from her first husband, Neo Matsunyane and Alicia Ferguson from her husband Shona Ferguson.
The Motswana actress is also a film-maker, producer, investor and business woman. In 2008, she launched her very own fragrance called True Self. The Queen, which is one of the films produced by her company Ferguson Films, was nominated at the South African Film and Television Awards in 2018. She has also been cover girl on Forbes Woman Africa magazine in 2018.
Mpule Kwelagobe is an investor, keen businesswoman, model and beauty queen. She was also crowned Miss Universe in Trinidad & Tobago in May 1999. She was born in Gaborone, Botswana on 14th November 1979 and is 40 years old.
Mpule was the first black African woman to win one of the big four international beauty pageant titles and the first woman from Botswana to win. She was crowned Miss Botswana in 1997.
Mpule began her studies at Columbia University in New York City in 2002, two years after her reign as Miss Universe and graduated with a degree in International Political Economy. She is now based in the USA.
At only 13 years old, Lerato Ragontse made a name for herself as an extraordinary ballet dancer. She is based in Baltimore, USA, with her family. She won a scholarship for ballet and dances comptetively in America. She competed in the New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) and placed well in many other competitions for her solos and group performances.
She is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Centre for Performing Arts, MD was recently mentioned on ivvivas instagram (a nationally known girls athletic wear retail store in Baltimore). Lerato has risen against the odds and is an inspiration for other young dancers in our country.
Thato Sikwane, better known as DJ Fresh/The Big Dawg, was born here in Botswana on the 15th October 1972 and is 47 years old. He is not only a DJ, but also musician, producer and an entrepreneur. He is also a brand ambassodor for local and international brands.
His breakfast slot on the radio station YFM is what initiated his widespread popularity. He hosted the show for 8 years and later hosted ‘Drive Time’ (16h00 – 19h00) on 5FM. DJ Fresh also owns his own production company called Big Dawg Productions.
Earlier this year, the usually lighthearted and jovial radio personality opened up revealing some intimate information to his fans regarding some difficulties he had been facing in his life. He admitted to seeking help to overcome his challenges and his brave and inspiring admission was met with widespread support from all his fans and peers.
Mogobane Mogakolodi Ngele
Mogobane Mogakolodi Ngele, was born in Gaborone, Botswana on the 6th October 1990. This football sensation continues to make a name for himself in South Africa. He is a Zebras national team player, and played at Platinum Stars before joining Mamelodi Sundowns. He now plays for South Africa’s Black Leopards Football club and Botswana as a midfielder.
In 2012 Ngele was a participant in the Africa Cup of Nations and in 2014 he signed a 5 year contract with Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. Bidvest Wits also then signed him on loan until 2016/2017 season. Mogakolodi Ngele then won the ABSA Premiership title for Bidvest Wits, and beat the likes of Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs. Both local and South African media has labeled him as one of their best players.
These celebs surely have set their paths to great success and they are putting in the work.