During the recent years, tattoos have become a fashion trend that is already taking toll of the streets around the world. Although they have existed for years, in Botswana the enthusiasm only mushroomed about a decade ago with probably the influence from the media such as in movies and magazines.
William Ineeleng, a Francistown lad, is slowly gaining momentum in all corners of Francistown after he opened a tattoo parlor for individuals who want to see their bodies tattooed.
We visited his miniature laboratory located at the deeper corner of the ever busy Barclays Plaza in the center of the city. The entrance of his laboratory was choked with young women and men in a queue to get their skins painted with pictures of their choice.
“I began drawing tattoos for a living in 2006, and this is an industry that I dearly embrace with the whole of my heart,” he said, as he fiddled with paints on his fingers.
The 28-year-old Nshakazhogwe-born artist, who prefers to call himself Willy, told us that he traces his love for art to the early years of childhood when he used to draw cartoons.
He said that he then developed a passion for tattoos, which he carved into a business to make a living. He further added that his love for tattoos increased when he was still a student at Mater-Spei College and then embarked on an art course in tattoo making at a College in the United Kingdom (UK) and returned home to execute his refined skills.
“I consider myself a master of tattoo drawing and I get most of my customers from all around the country and even some foreigners, such as Chinese nationals and some Europeans from abroad,” he said, pointing at a picture on his wall of a Chinese he tattooed.
Willy mentioned that unlike most of the tattoo artists in the country, he is a professional who uses the state of the art equipment that is not hazardous to the health of his customers. He added that he considers most of the tattoo artists in the country as armatures and feels that some of them pose hazards of skin cancer to their customers.
“I consider myself the Ghetto tattoo master, because most of the tattoo makers I know around Botswana cannot match my skill,” he says, beaming.
Willy said that the tattoos he draws range from scorpions, people’s images, animals and even custom made tattoos if his clients prefer so.
He stated that he does the tattoos in different parts of the body depending on the customer’s needs, adding that he also does body piercing.
Willy said that, contrary to the popular belief of tattoos being associated with gangsters, prostitutes and rascals, the art is just as beautiful as every fashion if done accordingly and responsibly.
A customer in the queue for a tattoo, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us that she considers Willy a world class tattoo artist as he never disappoints his customers with his extraordinaire skills.
However, Willy said that the challenge that he normally encounters is of young children who come to his place for tattoos without the authorization of parents. He said that his tattoos are priced from P50 to P2 000, depending on the size of the picture.