Breaking into the South African film industry seems exciting, glamorous and sadly, almost impossible. It is the business which feels like one of those ‘members-only’ clubs ÔÇô you can’t get into it unless you know someone inside. However, a young Motswana woman, Kgomotso Ratsie, born and bred in the dusty village of Mmathubudukwane has defied the odds and managed to impress in the city of gold.
Ratsie, a 28-year-old lady says she started her acting career when she was in Standard 4. Since then, she has resolutely put so much effort to learn and acquire as much knowledge through interactions with other actors over the internet and exchange workshops. One day when Singed International held auditions, she grabbed the opportunity without hesitation: “She was one of the four lucky winners from Signed International Season 1 who then got handpicked by one of the leading artist management agencies, Talent etc in South Africa,” said Excecutive Producer at Signed International Johnson Otlaadisa. He added that he had been familiar with Ratsie through her appearance on various theatre stages around the country. “It was refreshing to see her audition, I had a lot of confidence in her, and now look how far she took it. Scandal is one of the biggest soapies on Etv and I can’t think of anybody that deserves this better,” he said.
“I thank God first for this blessing. I’m so excited because before relocating to Johannesburg, i dreamt a lot about working there and to see my dreams manifest before my eyes!” said an elated Ratsie. She says to a small time girl from Mmathubudukwane like herself, being on Scandal can only mean growth through the exposure it is giving her. “It’s awesome working with the cast and crew, all of them are lovely and I am thoroughly enjoying my role as Jemina in the show!” she exclaimed. Although she says she is settling well, being in this competitive industry coupled with being a mum comes with its challenges. “I had to leave my daughter at home with my mother until I am fully settled in. I miss her so much but I do not let that stop me from being the best I can be at my job,” she said.
Brand Manager at Signed International Ishmael Otlaadisa said we should keep watching Scandal to see whether or not Ratsie’s role in the show is a long term one. “Watch this space!” he exclaimed. He said the great news come at a time when the local television industry is believed to be taking shape, with news of the introduction of more TV channels in Botswana. “Although seeing Batswana spreading their wings is exciting, it is also valid for one to think of those who are not going to make it into international markets. One can therefore ask the question, do we as Botswana have enough talent to expect seeing our own world class soapies soon?” he asked. He says if Signed International actors are able to make it into productions such as Generations, Z’bondiwe, Saints and Sinners and Scandal, this should be enough to help anyone who doesn’t believe that Batswana have world class talent and capability.
Ratsie’s story is living proof that no matter your background, you can make it on the global stage if you have purpose and resolve.