Khwezi Mphatlalatsane is arguably the originator of modern graffiti in Gaborone. Graffiti is a form of self expression used by artists to communicate their inner thoughts and emotions. It is a way of life for many passionate artists, an avenue through which they express feelings and communicate to the outside world.
Khwezi is a very talented and passionate graffiti artist. He said that his passion for graffiti started almost a decade ago while he was still schooling in Johannesburg. It was there that he chanced upon a group of graffiti artists spray painting a train. He then joined them, and he was hooked for life.
“I grew up as an only child, and I have always been an attention seeker. At times I would get very lonely, and pass time by drawing cartoons from comic books. I was a big fan of Garfield and Donald Duck. They were very popular in the early nineties,” he said. When he came back to Botswana, he converted the shack in his backyard into an art studio, and he has been working from there ever since.
Khwezi expanded his art from his shack to different areas around the city, and he slowly started drawing attention and earning himself a number of fans in the process. To date, he has grown very popular, and his signature graffiti is recognized all over the city.
Khwezi is an ardent hip hop fan, and he recognizes graffiti as one of the four elements that define hip hop, along with rapping, DJing and break dancing. Many hip hoppers have sought Khwezi’s services. His art has been showcased at the national museum and during many music shows and other corporate events. He has also used his graffiti during HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and done work for Youth Health Organization, the United States embassy and stepping stones.
Khwezi works with his partner, Saone. After meeting at a park, the two managed to solicit a deal to design the background for a television show on GBC namely, “The Foundation,” which is a hip hop show hosted by local hip-hop sensation Apollo Diablo.
Khwezi is also a well known rapper who has chart topping singles which are receiving widespread airplay on Yarona FM and worldwide on the internet.
He is also a well-known poet who partakes in the Exodus Live Poetry Sessions. Khwezi is also a member of a local hip hop group called P.O.R.N, People of Religious Nature.
He is currently working on his long overdue album, Star Dust, which is inspirited by his name Mphatalatsane which is a Setswana name for a morning star. His album is being recorded at different studios and he’s worked with producers such as the likes of B-note, Goof and Prez Beats.
“My album features well known artists such as Konkrete, Bundu Lama, Samba ÔÇôT, Nomadic, Kebu and some of our released tracks are included with a lot of unheard talent on a global map,” he said. They can be heard on line through pod cast, www.pod-tape.mypodcast .com.