The 22-year-old Thato Mojadife is attempting to hold back the years of her life and she does it along the idea of elevating lives of children.
By creating time to play with young ones, she makes reference to her childish days when her favourite game of dancing was not fully utilised because of her surroundings. To make up for lost time, she turns to children.
But first she tells a story. She starts by joking about being a mother to a five-year-old kid, which suggests she gave birth when she was only 17 years old.
It would be teenage pregnancy exposing lack of knowledge for correct steps she’d have taken to avoid being victim.
By default, that would mean someone, somewhere didn’t do their assignment. But she clarifies that she is not yet a mother, and she holds down her emphasis on her wish to see kids being free from pregnancy. That’s the other point of her joke; she doesn’t like teenage pregnancy.
She also explains that her joke bounces off from her fair share of frustrations defined by circumstances. If anything, she would reverse time and capture her moment of play.
From her classic point of view, children grow from playing. She was not left out and dancing would have been her extra-curricular activity.
Sadly, it was made impossible by duties beyond her control. She was busy trying to divide herself between her parents who were living in separate ends.
As far as she is concerned, living with her mother in Mochudi was not enough to accumulate wealth for any growing girl. That defines her reason for craving her father, who lived alone in Gaborone.
Her wish was to pull her parents together, a thinking duty that also added weight to her young life. That developed an obsession for pulling people together. She became ‘The Pulling girl’, of which Talent Break Through [TBT] emerged.
TBT is a small organization that pulls kids together. It was crafted under a mandate of acknowledging growing people’s play time. It helps kids get together, feel free, and discover who they are so they can decide their careers wisely and early.
Separating the words ‘breakthrough’ into two is done on purpose, and it represents the TBT mandate.
“Break is like cracking out of nutshell and through is flowing…continuing,” Thato explains.
At TBT, kids get to know what they do best in the arts which might also improve their focus on their school books. “It helps build their confidence and helps them take their talents as professional. It is also important hence it helps children to know the importance of their studies,” she says.
Here, kids literally come out to play their favourite games ÔÇô from modelling to dancing. “The idea also keeps them from bad activities,” she adds.
The idea gives kids lessons of sticking together. “TBT is best defined as diverse. It networks, multiplies talents, it searches and keeps…it is not like any other show. It does not do auditions nor select who is better than others. It takes all as one and helps in upgrading their talents,” she explains.
The show takes all youngsters in her Gaborone west whose parents grant permission. The idea is to expand it to other hoods. “It will be there to stay with the youngsters till they are good to fit in the world of entertainment,” she notes.
Identifying her past little life as one of the defining factors of her mandate, she says the TBT also helps children avoid missing a chance of growing their talents when they can no longer carry on with other duties.
“It provides them with a game to play when they no longer have any chores to do in their homes and to prevent chances of ever meeting with drug dealers,” she suggests.
At TBT play day, as kids do their duties, a supporting system is set up to identify what each one of them does best and provides the necessary guidance.
The people that are already dominant in their respective fields of arts share their experiences and give technical ideas.
To Thato’s way of seeing things, it helps avoid situations. “You don’t get up when things are already out of control…act in advance,” she suggests.
The idea also helps kill frustrations. “Kids like to dance. They only know what they go through in their houses…this is where they take out their frustrations,” she advises.
Thus far, the program has a few supporters. It begins with a thumbs up. “They tell me that what I’m doing is good,” she confirms.
But a huge support comes from parents who allow their children to come out and play. “Their parents call me Mma-bana,” she says, holding a file with all names of children whose parents allowed her to play with and contact phone numbers of their parents.
Some people provide their sound system, playground, snacks, prizes and mentors who give motivational talk.
Thato’s interest in making a TBT first started in 2007 when she entered the My African Dream.
But the idea took a more sensitive path after her mother passed on. The proceedings with her father had provided the platform and she says it comes in as emotional therapy.
“I’m a choreographer myself,” she reveals. That is one sensitive part she got denied but won’t tell the details. Instead, she’d say she has been hanging on to it for too long to stop.
For an unusual idea like TBT, things would never run smoothly as she explains; it’s hard sometimes.
If it was done ordinarily by someone else, they would have long quit and concentrated on their own personal lives. But Thato is not ready to abandon the many children she sees in her street daily.
Her own past has strengthened and cemented her faith in who she is, and what she wants to achieve. “In any case, all is based on love for good life and humanitarian spirit,” she says.
A firm believer in hard work and sacrifice, she feels this is a drive for her dreams. And that comes from knowledge that there are patriots out there willing to do add value to the society. “Some successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others,” she says.
And unlike how it’s expected, the prize for playing is more sensible than a toy. “Someone might choose to donate school bags every season…maybe rulers or every school opening give school books,” she suggests.
This is amplified by her heart-warming experience since she started playing with children. “Sometimes they come and ask me ‘when are we dancing again?’”
Given the current status of Ministry of Education where students download some material the idea might be worth a consideration. To Thato, it’s quite possible and nothing will stop her. “I’d rather struggle,” she vows.
Other factors to start TBT are influenced by daily living in her residential area. People there are always working hard, but instead of getting paid there comes other struggles brought by a of breach of promises by business partners or would-be employers.
That brings serious and immediate danger of drug addiction and Thato feels obliged to help avoid all that. “You don’t forget where you come from. I’ve learned to be resilient to never allow failure to govern my future,” she says.
From her own understanding of the pains brought by what she is trying to help avoid, she recalls being anti-social, depressed and discouraged as a child.
Now she wants to help children avoid it. “I want to do my best to help children who are caught in the situation I was in,” she enthuses.
The organisation has already started in her residential area and is already gaining reputation. As for now, she would want to see TBT grow to help small children escape the madness of the world starting from home to international environments. “I need partners in this,” she says.