To soap opera enthusiasts she is just Dineo’s cheeky sister in popular South African soapie ‘Generations. There is however more to Lorato Motshwarakgole than her on screen persona. By design, she is variously an actor, a businesswoman and educationist, and ultimately a dreamer.
From an award winning actress to an entrepreneur, Lorato has never has never allowed limitations to stand in the way of her ambition.
This is classic ┬¡Lorato. You don’t rise from a country that has absolutely not acting background and make it big through the hustle and bustle of the South African acting industry without having a steely core.
Her eyes are now set on conquering the next frontier: heading to Harvard University to pursue her Masters in Education en route to giving the world a ground breaking model of instruction that may change the way classrooms operate.
Having been exposed to the unbending educational curriculum that is ‘science and maths oriented’ while growing up, Lerato desired for a more interactive, open ended education system. She dreamt of fusing her two passions; arts and education ÔÇö she thinks she is about to realise the dream.
“Many people may not know this about me, but I graduated top of my class at the University of Cape Town, partly due to my dissertation that focused on bridging the gap between public and private education through educative programs centered on applied arts. I am passionate about the arts but I also value the role education plays in changing lives,” explains Motshwarakgole.
To many, it may come across as a mere simple task to apply into a university, but Lerato states that with the prestigious stature that is pinned to an institution such as Harvard, the process is more intricate than that: “My friends really encouraged me to apply, but I can’t say going to Harvard was a ‘dream’ of mine. When I got the news of my acceptance last week, I realized how encouraging it felt. It also made me reflect on how daring the whole journey was; having spent three months on the application process and dissecting the past ten years of my career. For that to be validated as worthy of a position at Harvard is definitely empowering.”
Currently in Johannesburg, Motshwarakgole is preparing for three educational programmes; Lora, Lorato and Oramela, which she plans to implement in primary schools through her company Ora Communications. “Using creativity, we plan to make learning fun and the curriculum interactive while pupils learn subjects such as algebra and science,” she states.
The journey, however, has not been all smooth sailing. “It has not been easy, and at times it feels impossible. Since I am more renowned for my acting, sometimes people dismiss me thinking that playing scripted roles is all I have to offer. This has helped me grow a thick skin and I have learned to assert myself more in reaching my goals.”
She has a solution for the dearth of creative arts in Botswana: “We truly have to start from the bottom, and by that I mean through education at its low level. Our current structures and policies do not make art sustainable. If we start educating our parents and our communities from seeing the benefit of creativity by incorporating it to our curriculums, a lot would change,” notes Motshwarakgole.
The passionate actress spent the last three years travelling the continent to countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania through her involvement with the Tony Elumelu Foundation as one of the chosen African entrepreneurs. She says she has since developed a deep appreciation of the opportunities in Africa and how a fresh approach to education can have a significant impact in many communities.
She also mentions that she will be joining two other Batswana women who are pursuing their studies at Harvard. “There are many Batswana that are really doing amazing work out there and I’m excited to be joining this league,” she delights.